Shorty short: Dinner at 6 

Eric looked at the grey sky. Then his watch. Then back at the sky. It was a miserable day whichever way you looked at it, and the worst part was, there was well over 12 hours of it he had to endure. For God’s sake, how was he going to avoid the commotion?

As he stood there on top on his narrow steps down leading to the footpath, he wondered. Couldn’t he just slip back inside the house, change back into his comfy trousers and hoodie, call his work and feign contagious flu, then brew a cup of milk tea, slump on the couch, watch old episodes of Friends and pretend the world outside his door didn’t exist?

Instead, he was dragging his feet on the ground, eyes barely looking up for fear of seeing the flood of pink, or huddles of couples giddy as teens hooking up for the first time. Ugh! He thought. Stupid, silly people. Didn’t they know what was waiting for them at the end of it all? And yes, there was going to be an end. Either the relationship would die, or one of the two will go first. Either way, doomed! Just to be left with an ache in your chest no amount of binge drinking foul tasting beer, or hitting the scene will fix.

The whole 15 minutes to his work, Eric kept his head down, the music loud and angry in his ears, and a chant in his head, ‘She is dead to me. She is dead to me.’ He forgot the number of people he bumped into thus. But it must have been the effects of the day, but no one seemed to mind that he walked into them, sliced past them, or plain out spun them around. They just smiled, wished him a wonderful day and continued, bewitched.

By the time Eric got to work, the place was maxed with customers, laughing, giggling, whispering, making goo goo eyes or making out. Ugh! ‘She is dead to me,’ he muttered, causing a lady waiting in line to order coffee frown at him.

‘Hey Eric, got any plans for tonight?’ Mickie asked, rattling around the coffee bar as he spotted Eric. Eric shrugged, got behind the counter, chucked on an apron and said, ‘I think I’ll go out the back today.’

Mickie grabbed him by the shoulder. ‘Not gonna work man. I want that handsome face out here where customers can see you, today of all days. Now get on the register.’

Eric forced a smile and approached the register. ‘What can I get for you?’

‘Where can I get me I one of you?’ The old lady winked her wrinkled eye, giggling like a school girl when Eric gave her half a smile. ‘I’m only kidding. How about a cup of flat white and you for dinner tonight?’

Mickie laughed, pouring a shot into a cup. ‘Don’t do it lady, not unless you want to be a rebound.’

The lady giggled and oohed. ‘I don’t mind,’ winking once more at Eric.

‘One flat white coming up,’ Eric gave her a hard stare and her change back. Then he turned to Mickie. ‘What the hell you doing man, embarrassing me like that?’

‘Oh come on. I’m just trying to fix you up. No one should be alone tonight man.’ Mickie’s cheerfulness dropped several degrees. He handed a couple of takeaways over the counter and dropped his voice to a whisper. ‘Mrs Mackerel,’ nodding towards the old lady sitting in the corner table still smiling at them. Mickie smiled back. ‘She lost her husband of 50 years this year. This is the first time she’ll be spending today alone. Where’s the harm in trying to make her smile?’

Eric felt low. So low. Here he was wallowing in self pity over a one year old relationship. He grabbed Mrs Mackerel’s coffee and walked off.

‘Here you are, your coffee,’ he placed the cup in front of her and returned her smile, ‘and your date for tonight. What time shall I pick you up and where?’

The smile that lit her face, it was all he could see for the rest of the day. It was what made the day fly by, and before he knew it, he was knocking on the door of her granny flat. He held out the bouquet as she opened the door, wearing her Sunday best.

‘How do I look?’ She asked. ‘Wonderful.’ He replied, taking her hand in his. ‘You look wonderful tonight.’

[Today’s prompt : it’s Valentine’s Day. Don’t mention love, Cupid, roses, February, Valentine or heaven.]

Shorty short: Shovel 

(The following story is prompted by ‘it was a misty night’ line.)

I never thought I’d end up here. A shovel in hand, a dark raincoat supposedly keeping me safe from the downpour. In the middle of a forest with barely any light to see the ground where I stand. How did I end up here? I turned to stare at the body just a stretch way from me. A shiver coursed through my body. Never ever had I thought I’d be the one digging the shallow grave, slipping and sliding on the muddying ground. 

I could occasionally hear the vehicle on the highway meters away. Every time one whizzed by, I’d be in a state of panic, afraid they’d hear the sound of the shovel hitting the wet, squelching ground. I was a law abiding citizen for heaven’s sake, not the cold blooded murderer I suddenly felt I was.

I worked through the straining muscle aches curtesy of a hard gym work out with Clive this night before. When the hole was big enough, I found myself in it, pulling the corpse till it pinned me to the bottom of the pit with its weight, forcing me to struggle to free myself.

I stood, covered head to toe in mud. Where had I ended up? This morning, I had been just another newshound chasing my headlines, and now… I resumed the dirt moving, unable to allow myself that thought. The sound of the rain hitting the coat provided some sort of solace, something I could focus my mind on, and I kept shoveling and shoveling the dirt till a small hint of a mound formed. 

I stared at it. What had I done?

I sat in the car for ages. Couldn’t possibly bring myself to get out. Before I knew it, I was sprawled across the back seat, twisted like a pretzel, half falling into the gap between the seats. A hard knock had rapt on my window, startling me awake. Somehow, it was morning. I hit my head on the window handle hard as I went to get up. I looked out the window and there was Clive, staring at me through the glass.

 ‘You’d rather sleep in the car?’

 I straightened and struggled to get out of the car, scrambling to free my feet of the raincoat I had used as a blanket. We had had a fight last night before I left work. ‘I must have dozed off.’

 Clive’s eyebrows rose high. ‘In the backseat?’

 ‘I was really tired,’ I offered by way of explaining.

 ‘Why do you look like you went mud wrestling last night?’ He eyed me from toe to the top of my hair. I went rigid. How did I look? Was I looking suspicious? I mean, yes, I had muddy clothes and all, but no one would pin a murder on me, right? Right?

 ‘I went to interview for a story outback, and the tyre got bogged in the downpour,’ I lied. Big deal. I wasn’t about to tell him the truth, whether he was my soul mate or not. 

 ‘Why didn’t you call road side assist?’ 

 Shit! My phone! The last I remember of my phone was when Clive had called me in the middle of my digging session. What did I do after that? I patted myself down, every pocket I had.

 ‘You lost your phone?’

 I looked up, utterly panicked. ‘Yes.’

 ‘Where did you last use it?’

 An image of being pinned down by the very thing I was trying to bury sprung to mind. Shit. 

Poem: Gaggle of Bloggers

Cubby, cubby, she’s gone all a hiding suddenly
and there sits on the window Buffalo Tom Peabody
with a pal Kitten in a Kaboodle
trying to ‘stinkometer’ the joint,
all the while Conrad be pouring his wine
with Stevie running amuck in his Elvis pants
and there be in the corner,
staring at the amusement
Kaufman with his Kavalkade
of crews and besties,
beware, there even be someone from MI6
her name be Vic, for Victory?
And what have we here,
it’s a paper trail of wonderful souls
whose presence are felt as soon as the mouse goes ‘click’
you know who you are,
but let me do the introductory.
He be Ashi, who never falters to support my poetry
be they petty or big,
and from her labyrinth peeks out Cupitonian
and Oloriel, she favor fairies and mythology
and gave ‘Lil Sil’ a chance to be.
Amongst you, there are many more faces I see,
Paul, you do some dandy poetry,
while Kaligrafi quietly observes
and reminds me of calligraphy,
it’s a fine art too,
and in Public transit is lost a chronicle or two,
and I don’t know how to say this
dual nationality of NepaliAustralian
has also been featuring.
If I were to go on
including the bloggers who are there
everyday and every post
if I were to count this community,
I’ll definitely run out of all my digits.
(Beware, I might have to borrow thees’)
So I bid you adieu
for now
let you seize the day
with a flitting thought
that someone out there
in this round, blue world
has thought of you with gratitude.
in this animated
digital corner.

Urgent Poetry feat. ‘I See You’

I don’t really feel like writing anything crafty today, or for that matter even think about writing crafty. I tried. I really did, on the flight from Sydney to Melbourne today. I probably wrote about a page and a bit on the short story I’m writing, inspired by a famous actress’s life. However, such was my mood, or perhaps the fact that I was a bit on the tired side, that not much creative juices flew through me. Yep. Not even a tinny tiny micro-poetry. I know you’ve noticed that too. That I’m unusually ‘quiet’ today.

Well… Let me rectify that right now. Right now! Ok, here comes another poetry (this time forced!). This is ‘I See You’… (and don’t sing the song! You know what song I mean :p).

I see you
lingering there
beyond the dark corner
the crevice.
I see the glint in your eyes
hungry and leering
like a bogieman in the dark
waiting for the opportune moment.
I know you’ll launch
fangs bared
just when I let my guard down
and you coil, then pounce.

I see you lingering
eyeing me
as I take another bite
into flesh.

I see you,
just beware!

Lol. Well look at that! Geez. I don’t mean to sound like I have such a huge head that I’m constantly kissing the ceiling cause I can’t seem to land back down. It’s nothing like that. I was just thinking of making a confession – all the poetry (well, almost all, except the initial 4/5 I posted) were literally written on the spot and posted! I don’t really know how I seem to spew these out, I’m glad I can, ’cause it’s allowed me to keep presenting you with some reading material.

I just had to laugh at myself, because I usually don’t know what I’m about to write or how it will turn out. I just wanted to say, to you all who have kept reading my pieces, quirky or not, and by that merit, have encouraged me to keep enjoying what I do and keep presenting uncensored, unselected, and completely random works.

Thank you!!! And goodnight all. Hope you had a wonderful day, and enjoyed today’s little offering regardless. 🙂

Trouble writing? Here’s what you need to know.

I don’t know about most of you, but I know I’m struggling to write at the current moment. If you have been following me over the last few months, you’ll have noticed that I’ve been doing more Poetry recently rather than the short stories and articles. I was never really a fan of poetry, simply because I never really understood the differences from one to the next. However, the last couple of months has seen me write somewhere along the line of hundred or more poems across all sorts of genres/topics. Yet you wonder why I’m claiming I’ve been having trouble writing?!

Well, this is why.

… I’m trying to do so many things all at once, because, let’s face it, whether by default or not, we writers and other artists are pretty much made to feel like we haven’t achieved anything in our respective realms of art until we hit the big stage.

It’s draining!

… Knowing that there is this added pressure to prove ourselves to not only others, but ourselves. We have got to let go of this grand self-criticism. It’s doing us more harm that good, occupying our brain space with junk, and hence we find time slips by without much notice, and before we know it, we are anxious, and this anxiety renders us helpless.

Hence the trouble writing!

…Too much junk taking valuable space in the head. But I can offer some hope, ointment to use at times of overwhelming sense of pressure; a little ray of sunshine in knowing this:

100_Joseph_Heller[1]

(“Every writer I know has trouble writing.” – Joseph Heller)

I’d totally go and give late Mr Heller a big fat hug and a rigorous hand-shake for saying something like this out to the public, if I could, but writing about this is the next best thing I can do.

Funnily enough, this satirical writer is greatly known for his book, Catch-22, which is undeniably a situation most people in the creative field find themselves. Joseph Heller is the father of the phrase now in constant use: catch-22.

So, if you haven’t already, then take a moment, and let the quote sink in. Rather, let the meaning of it sink in. You are not alone, I and every other person out there who tries to write meaningfully has the same issue.

But here is what you should ultimately keep in mind: it’s only trouble, it’s not permanent! You will write, I will write, hell, we all will write!

In fact, after two months of not being able to write stories, here is a little peek into one that I began two days ago…

20131119-132322.jpg

Fingers crossed that the next time you come across, ‘Love Letter’, it won’t be in a photo, but actually be reading it here on the blog. 🙂 yes, I still write by hand!

…Fingers crossed!

An ‘Article’ on Myself? – Such a tricky task. HELP!

Nowadays, ‘writing’ or the world of a ‘writer’ isn’t exactly spent behind the pages, in the gloom of a dark room and scribbling away like a mad person trying to pour your brain out before it fries from all the self-inflicted pressure! NOPE. Not any more.

NOW, it’s more about how a writer can ‘market’ themselves. Sounds easy enough, doesn’t it? All you do is talk a little about you, why you write, and what you write, and do it in such a way that people are mesmerised and want to follow you, admire you, or simply go out there and get their hands on something you have written so they can judge you for themselves, rather than letting you tell them how ‘great’ you are and your offerings as unique and fresh. How hard can it be, to talk about something that you have lived with for years? Actually, it is very hard – for me anyway.

All that sounds quite complicated to me, but then again I don’t really like telling people a lot about me because I think, ‘They wouldn’t be interested…’. But, apparently I am wrong. I got told so! Yep, I got TOLD (a few times)…to inflate my head even if it is for a brief moment so that I can seduce people into my writing world and get them to read.

I have recently made friends with a wonderful Nepalese/Australian radio jockey here in…Aus…anyway, he seems to be very effective in how to advertise oneself. He should I guess, since his job requires that panache. The point is, he knows some people, who know some other wonderful people, who could help me get myself out there and known, by a few more people than my current circle. So, in light of these avenues, I have been asked to write a brief article on myself, my work and etc. as if I am a journalist, and this will be passed onto the various prints he has contacts in. I am thrilled. To have someone who can help me with this whole marketing thing, but the thing is, I feel a little silly writing about myself. I have attempted, and unfortunately am still attempting to sound like a journalist who knows what I’m doing, and writing the paper in a detached mode. I do not think I have succeeded in this venture at all thus far. So, I’m enlisting your help. Please, please, please, help a girl out, will you? 🙂

Below is what I have managed to pen so far. I would love any suggestions/corrections and more suggestions, or general direction before I submit it to the friend for review. I desperately need help and feel I’m in a bit of a corner at the moment with my travels looming just days away: Your help will be greatly appreciated. (Greatly!)

Here it goes:

‘From Dreamer to Storyteller: A Nepal-born young woman’s journey to becoming a published Author in Australia’ (?)

My name is Eva. What should I tell you about me and who I am? I was born in Kathmandu and am the youngest of three girls to my parents. As a child, I dreamt of being a doctor, an architect, a flight attendant, and an actress through my early childhood, the usual arsenal of career dreams kids share, I guess. Writing had never featured in that list till I happened upon it accidentally as another mode of expressing stories in my early teens.

Just like any well-meaning Nepali parents, mine are pretty much the same, always concerned for the future and success, a great worry to most parents. However, despite having nervous apprehension against my choice, my parents have encouraged me greatly to achieve the dreams I dared to dream. I can’t recall much of my childhood, but I remember I used to ‘make up’ stories, to entertain myself or other kids in the family. Basically, I was never a bored kid. Though the days of making up epic stories on the toiled wheat fields of outskirts Kathmandu, Kapan, those many years ago are now gone, I nevertheless have indulged in the guilty pleasure of continuing to write stories.

Writing is an act of pure creation and it allows so much space for a story to develop and mature. Although, I knew not much of maturing back then, it was with this newfound love of writing while still a teenager that I first attempted my long, arduous journey as an author-in-the-making. In Strange Company, is my first published novel, available on Amazon, was one that I started as a 14-year old bleary-eyed teenager. It is about a young woman’s journey into self-discovery, emotional growth and formation of profound friendships/relationships she had previously been incapable of. Pretty heavy topic for a teen to write, and I have been asked previously: how do you come up with the stories? My answer: the world and the people around me. There is a lot of fuel out there to ignite the imagination. I do however tend to pick at only the flames I know I can manage and portray as honest as I can.

Today, being a young Nepali female within an Australian society and trying to establish myself as an Author has been a journey filled with challenges and revelations. I have achieved the dream I set out to, of being published, but I dare say I continue to dream. The next point I dream of achieving in life is to produce-write-direct a Australian-Nepali film focusing on the cross-cultural message of self-preservation, and woman’s voice, and am currently seeking writing partners to develop the idea further. For the moment however, I am focusing on adding the final polishing touches to my second novel, which I may choose to self-publish, or pursue publication with a company.

It would be a moment of absolute pride if one day I am known not simply for what I do, but the very humble beginnings of my journey, from bustling, vibrant city of Kathmandu, to the quite school days of New Zealand, and now, a life I am trying to carve in Australia. Perhaps, those who read this, whether you are from big cities of the world, or a quite hamlet, whether you are a male or female, I can only say, dream big, dream achievable and do what you can, one small step at a time.

I am still taking small steps with the hope that one day, I’ll reach the top and smile at the journey that’s left me enriched. This is simply a start to my journey, from the foothills of the Himalayas, to the wide plains of Australia.

*

(Waiting with abated breath… Yikes… haven’t even been this nervous giving a live interview.)

Poetic posse – Bloggers and Friends

This one’s for you, Lilly
for enjoying the offerings
with unabashed glee of children young
showing a weary traveller on their arduous journey
that there be little peeks of sunshine
little breadcrumbs through the trees
to urge on one who questions the path they be wandering.
This one’s for you too, my friend from the Krew,
for nudging one on with satire and fun, and some guidance
showing the fun side to the hard task of marketing,
singing tunes to entertain, and sometimes provide remedy
to harsh rating days.
And for merry souls who stay a while
enjoying the fruits of labour and love
for walking a few steps further with me in the jungle
of social blogging,
Cubby, who laughed at my Ostrich
or Mike whose Eye-dances to the rhythm of poems
penned like cotton in the wind, aimlessly landing.
And for many more friends who visit often
this poem maybe short,
and I may be running out of time
for the moment,
but you are all cherished like cherry on a cake,
and morrow, or maybe the next
I will say hello
and pen your names more,

Shawn L Bird/Damyanti and many, many more!

 

Medusa, She.

I pray for miracle
such you won’t believe
those few magic moments
unhinged
and we see your gaze
widen amazed
that such be the sight
when a stone turns
to human
before primal eyes
locked in tandem
with a madam whose glimpse
are sworn to curse
freeze the very blood to stone
that today hisses itself
and you behold
the beauty unseen
beneath a layer of snake skin
the raw vulnerability
protected by venoms indeed
for can you imagine
what the world would heap
upon one such as she.

(Wow! Don’t ask me what happened here! I began with the first line and had no direction I wanted to take the piece. I have no idea how it came to be about Medusa, but there it is. An oddity if ever I saw one. Hope you enjoyed it regardless.)

Scared Glory

I walk a mile along the shore
sand sliding between my toes,
there are people about
jumping up and down
diving in cool waters
or baking beneath the summer Sun
I nod or smile and walk on by
clad in all my drab
I get some smiles or the odd looks back
won’t blame the strangers or their thinking I’m mad
to cover from neck down
I walk some more and find a secluded patch
and plant myself upon my back
I shall wait as long as it takes
to taste the salty seas and feel the waves
– but not while the beach is crowded even with one other soul
So patient I become till the gentle Moon comes
and one by one I’m left all alone,
and there in the twilight, though colder it may be
I shed my cover and reveal my scared body
and with much glee I run down to the surf
and indulge in a night-time glory
and for few minutes not worry
about the world seeing me the way I don’t want to be seen.
For a moment, I am alone – with the world at my feet despite all my scared glory.

Tips and Anecdotes on becoming an Author

At present, after couple of months since the release of my first novel and a total of 3 interviews with radio/newspaper, I feel I can say I am semi-successful. So with that in mind, I think it’s suffice to say I have learned a few things along the way. Thus, this is going to be one of those posts where I reveal to you a secret to success! You ready?! Are you sure you want to do this?! Or do I need to break out the famous Jack Nicholson dialogue about being able to handle the truth?

Here they are! (In no specific order because I am typing on an iPhone and writing whatever comes to mind first.)

1) Write what grabs your interest! – seriously, you don’t know how important this is. I tried writing a book in a genre I wasn’t very savvy with a while back. I got writing because I thought ‘who doesn’t like a murder mystery?’ But what I hadn’t accounted for were these: my age!, my experience in the language, my limited forensic knowledge, the fact that I hadn’t had much practice, and the fact that I myself was going to lose interest in the topic very soon. Why did I mention age? Well, I was 12 at the time, trying to write in English which I was still learning, and all those crime shows hadn’t aired yet for me to collate enough knowledge to make the plot believable, and I wasn’t a big crime reader. Pretty soon, actually 50 pages-in kind of soon, I lost interest in the topic. I literally threw the project in the bin and am to this day slightly embarrassed that I ever thought I could do it. In my later tries I found myself finishing a project, and getting faster and faster with each. That’s because I was writing what I liked, and I had a bit more age and practice under the belt. Don’t give up hope, but it is almost all about the timing.

2) Draft and Edit several times: this one doesn’t really need much explaining. What we write initially is only the blueprint of the story, and drafting is actually building the story into one strong, attractive building one edit/draft at a time. Please do edit as much as you can, but I do recommend you try to hire the services of an actual editor. I know this from experience because we as writers are too close to our own work that we accidentally miss few mistakes; they may not be grave mistakes, but even little ones such as ‘to’ instead of ‘too’ can feel like an eyesore to the alert reader.

3) Send to publishers/agents or self-publish: this is entirely up to you. I know while growing up, all I could ever dream about was to get it published the traditional way through a publishing house. Kind of felt like there was some prestige involved; something that made you feel like you had achieved. I did the publisher/agent circuit, but as a previously unpublished author, both these parties are slightly reluctant to take new clients on. If we can get our foot stuck in their doorway, then great! If not, keep going. With eBook publishing something that is available to you as an author to provide you with a fairly cost-efficient way of self-publishing, why wouldn’t you give it a go? You never know who might find it and the rest is history. HOWEVER, in saying that, do not let yourself slack off and publish sub-par material that could do with few more edits or drafts. It’s all about respecting our readership, I guess.

4) Cover page and blurb are a must: This is a no brainer, right? Yup! These two elements are probably what gets you across the line in terms of whether a reader will buy/read your book or not. Make sure these are the best they can be. I should know. I tend to judge a book on both these aspects! If one or the other doesn’t work, isn’t the best it could be, I will immediately judge the quality of the book inside, as do most of us. BAD! These two are your marketing sentries! Make them as fit for the job as you can. Personally, for In Strange Company, I spent a total of couple of weeks just to hone the blurb that I had taken few months to think about, then I got people’s opinion on a few different drafts. After all this, I took the best elements out of each and formed a new one. As for the cover of the book, I think it took a bit of researching the look I wanted for the art work, then actually painting it, and then taking that art work into a layout that worked for the book. All in all, there was a hell of a lot of time spent on these two elements. Why? Because, they are IMPORTANT. I’ve since had a whole lot of comment on the quality of the cover page. That’s what you want. So spend some time developing the ‘look’ of the story.

5) Get reviewed: I’m slowly working on this. This is a tricky field. You can’t obviously force people to do a review of your work after reading it. Some will be generous and would gladly oblige. But other times, we are literally just holding our breath. The first review I got saw me jumping up and down for a few minutes. It was exciting to know that not only had someone bought a copy of the book but finished it as well, and left me a review to tell me how they found it. I can’t give you much advise on this other than to ask people who have read it to review. Or there are also reviewing sites out there where you can submit your work for them to review. It is almost like sending your book out to publisher/agent and waiting to hear either an acceptance or a rejection. But all we can do is try, right?

6) Get yourself out there anyway you can (Ps: please avoid doing anything dangerous. When I said anyway, I mean within a safe limit.): Radio, newspaper, local notice boards, social networking sites like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, blogs and whatnot. Nowadays there isn’t a single person who isn’t hooked up to at least one of these ‘worlds’. Use them to your advantage. Keep sending messages out there that you have a wonderful book out there that people should be getting their hands on etc. Contact your local newspapers and radio stations. They are not that scary and usually welcome a chance to talk to a local about such things. They are always looking for a story, so why not give them something new they can write about? That’s how I got myself on two different radio stations, and newspapers. Self-advertising at this stage is your new best friend, especially if you are self-published (but don’t tell you current human best-friend that). Use this friend to get yourself recognised within your local community first. If you can’t market yourself to your locals, you will no doubt find marketing yourself to others a lot more harder. Once you break the local market, then it’s all a little easier to approach the bigger fish.

7) Don’t be shy, and if you are, learn how to act: I’m chucking this one in just for fun. Really, I mean what I say though. I’m a little shy, which is quite odd because within my own circles, I’m a very confident young woman. I don’t know where this shyness comes from – actually I do know. I am always worried how I am perceived etc. So I’ve begun to think ‘confident’ when I’m approaching media for a little help. I mean, why will they want to promote someone who can’t even speak a word without going red, right? So yeah, pretend you are confident. You’ll be surprised how much strength and confidence it really does lend you.

I think that’s all for now. If I think of anything more, I’ll post it. I may have written things you have read many a times, but like my previous post on advice, this is a good one, so take the ones that suit you and discard the rest.

A person is a writer when they have penned an ocean with their words – an ocean that is able to suspend a reader’s reality as salt to the sea. An author however, goes beyond the duty of writing itself, to tell the tale of the seas!

-Eva Acharya