About FOOTPRINTS IN THE BAJRA (Cedar Books, New Delhi); By Nabina Das

"Fittingly for a poet, Nabina’s novel also has a strong lyrical core. 'Footprints in the Bajra' takes the homely image of the millet field as its central metaphor. ... But the novel is less a thriller about guerrilla action than a subtly colored character study of a fascinating group of individuals who intersect at various points in their lives ..." -- DEBRA CASTILLO, author, editor and distinguished professor (Cornell University, April 17, 2010).

Footprints in the Bajra is a serious book that moves at a smart uncontrived pace. It voices deep concerns about how and why the deprived and the marginalized in certain parts of our country join the Maoist ranks; how they adopt desperate and often terrible measures to wrench justice and to make their voices heard... a confident debut novel, a good read, which will leave you with plenty to mull over. -- PRITI AISOLA, author (See Paris for Me, Penguin-India, 2009) in DANSE MACABRE XXXIV.

In her debut novel, Nabina Das writes about an India where social divides stand taller than multistoried shopping malls. Footprints in the Bajra, inspired by what she saw while touring the interiors of Bihar as part of a travelling theatre group, inquires into why the Maoists have an influence over a large section of Indian society. Das talked to Uttara Choudhury in New York about her book, and its protagonist Muskaan -- DAILY NEWS AND ANALYSIS, Mumbai, March 28, 2010.


"The interspersion of references from both the West and India do not clash. Shakespeare and Lazarus as reference points are brought in with ease, as also Valmiki and Goddess Chhinnamasta, and nothing jars ... The language is poetic and creates visual images of beauty and ugliness side by side." -- ABHA IYENGAR, poet (Yearnings: Serene Woods, 2010) and fiction writer in MUSE INDIA, May-Jun 2010

Shwetank Dubey says Nabina Das ably recreates the milieu of Maoist-infested regions of India -- Nabina Das has chosen the first person account of narrating a story from the main characters of the novel, Nora the sheherwali (urban dweller), Muskaan the rebel, Suryakant Sahay the crafty clandestine planner and Avadhut the frontrunner of all the operations... the book deals with something that no urban resident is bound to know on his own — the life and times of people living in Maoist infested areas and why do they give in to the temptation provided by the Red Brigade. -- PIONEER newspaper, April 25, 2010.
'"If you misrepresent them, they'll abduct and kill you," says Muskaan, our hostess'... goes the first line with which Nabina Das settles everything about her novel -- style, subject and pace... Excellent plotline. Wonderful detail. A beautifully crafted book. -- Karunamay Sinha; THE STATESMAN, Sunday supplement "8th Day", May 16, 2010.

"This is bitter-sweet, if a rather longish tale of a modern-day Maoist revolution and the seeds of destruction and betrayal that lie embedded in it." -- Business World, May 17, 2010

Friday, October 31, 2008

All Souls Saved

My Halloween musings, in a poem:
The day splits open like a pumpkin
Orange and sunny

Seeds are birds
They peck on dark leftover clouds in the corners

Clouds or souls that pine to leave
With night, fog and disembodied leaves
Dropping one two three
From the great white oak on the lawn

It is still slender
Yet to grow in girth
Mimics the dreams and mysteries this day
May bring or night may savor –

Brief passion, eyes of amber, skin that sizzles
And masquerades to waltz with the wind

A crazy reveler who talks to the dead
In a tongue that lives, forever lives.


tanuj solanki said...

The day talks to the dead in their passing through the clouds...


just like a pumpkin on Halloween!

I didnt fall in love on the first read... but now after reading it four times I love it...

I have noticed this in your poems... one needs to stay with them longer!

fleuve-souterrain said...

thank you! you are a discerning reader... I appreciate that.

Joy Leftow said...

the day splits open like a pumpkin orange & sunny
with night fog and disembodied leaves
dropping... from the great white oak on the lawn.

Kind of in imitation of our lives that in retrospect could be only one day.
Life passes that fast reminding us to become one with the changes.

fleuve-souterrain said...

yeah so true Joy! I look at the poem withnew eyes after reading your comments... in retrospect, our lives are only one day, so true. Your last sentence prompts me to write something else, another poem, will do soon I think. Thanks so much!

Anonymous said...

the last line

in a tongue that lives, forever lives.

all our stories and songs live on!

Rhett said...

Too esoteric for me. Nonetheless, I liked the imagery. Could you explain in few words. I somehow think I appreciate it. (I speculate that it ends on a contradictory, edgy, dark note? -- You used the word, 'dead'.)

Rhett said...

*I will appreciate it

fleuve-souterrain said...

basically my idle musings on Halloween that used to be a day kept aside for ancestors. here the 'dead' for me probably are not just dead people, more ikely dead ideas, dead rituals, anything that dies to be renewed (I don;t like using reborn).
Personally, I like the line "in a tongue that lives, forever lives" because that is the central idea of the poem when we see so much just fading, dying, passing and mutating. I know, a bit esoteric...!