Writing the Sixth Sense

My great-grandfather Motiram Narsey, who was the first in our family to travel from India to Fiji in 1909


Someone on a Facebook thread today asked about how to cultivate her psychic powers, as a way of connecting to her ethnic heritage.

I felt compelled to pipe in since, as readers of Leaving India know, my great-great-grandfather Motiram (at left) was reputed to be psychic.

At the risk of sounding woo-woo to some people, I’ll say that in writing intimately about my long-gone ancestors, I found it extremely helpful to develop my own spiritual relationships and connections.  So I said:

For me, writing really helps the most. Keeping a dream journal. Writing questions just before sleep, then being ready to write answers if they are present when I wake up. Nurturing my imaginative space with images, metaphors, beauty, experiences in nature, art. Developing a personal metaphorical language so that I know what stuff “means” to me. Like, if you know a certain color resonates — or images, or gems, or a tarot image — try carrying it around or wearing it or looking at it every day for a week/month — inviting it in and getting to know it. What happens if I wear red every day for a month, what energies shift around me? Or blue?  Taking notes/noticing that sixth-sense level of reality as much of the time as I can. Squinting, peeking, peering, opening my eyes (+ 3rd eye) to see what others don’t see/say.

Writing is a psychic power, after all. So is art-making. Care-taking. Loving.

Activism, too.  Later this week, I’m teaching a writing workshop as part of a five-day camp for young South Asian American activists.  We’ll work on cultivating the sixth sense: Seeing what others can’t or won’t see.  Developing the resilience to keep on looking, witnessing, speaking out.  Learning to articulate a new vision.  Scrying into the future, toward a better world that we believe can exist, with our own earnest vision.

I think that’s better than all of Bruce Wayne’s paramilitary-industrial-complex “superpowers.”

2 thoughts on “Writing the Sixth Sense

  1. Dear Minal:
    I read the mapping out of your journey in Leaving India a few years ago. In looking at your website, I am interested in two photographs: one of G. C. Kapitan leaving South Africa, and theother of Indians at the Durban airport with a segregation sign. Goolam Vahed and I are currently busy compiling short biographies on Natal’s Indian traders in the colonial period. Can you make available the two pictures to us?

    I have written widely on South Africa’s Indians; and my younger colleagues has also written widely. You can check this out by simply using our names on Amazon booksellers. I retired in 2006 as a history professor at the University of Kansas. I am a former South African who joined the university in 1988.

    Best wishes,


  2. Echo that, using our imagination, our pen, our peace signs, our protest is more hopeful than waiting for menacing supermen with capes to save our world!

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