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

Monday, October 20, 2008

Fiction forthcoming in Mirage Books short story collection

This was a nice surprise:
My short story selected to appear in a collection by Mirage Books (http://www.miragebooks.com/), India. The story is "Tara Goes Home" that I originally wrote last year, as an entry for Orange Prize (ambitious, ambitious!), UK. It didn't make the cut there and I felt the story had too many loose ends and quite a bit of fluff. So I edited it over and over again. Finally, this year Mirage Books picked it up and I thought, OMG, they like this story? No way! I had contributed three stories (all within 1,500 words and only one to be selected), and my preference rested on either of those other two. Those were really nice tales! But this probably has more gravitas in the theme. Who knows?

Anecdote: When Nadine Gordimer wanted to stick to the title of her novel "A Sport of Nature", her publisher kept arguing against it citing some silly reason like this title might have the book mixed up with sports books! What I mean is, publishers and writers allegedly have totally different world views... (Now I'm not Nadine Gordimer, so let's move on...)

The selected story is about a young woman named Tara who lives in Delhi. She is chided and goaded by her family to bear a son while she keeps getting pregnant with girl babies (revealed by illegally done ultrasounds) that are aborted one after the other. So, finally one day, she steps out of her conservative home and gets on to a bus. The bus meets with an accident and Tara lands up in a hospital. There, half-conscious, she takes a strange decision about her life. This is all about Tara Goes Home.

Here's part of the e-mail that came this morning from Mirage Books editor:

"Hi Friends,
Announcing the winners of the contest -
[From the list below, you can check if your story has been selected, but do come back to read the following message.]
First of all, I'd like to thank all of you for participating in our contest. The response for it has been much better than what we had expected, initially. For us this has been quite an enriching experience and I hope you enjoyed participating as well.
These short-stories which we have selected will be published in our next book and each story will be followed by a short bio and a photograph of its author: That is the Prize.
The very reason why we announced this contest was to promote writers and story-writing. There are so many good writers who don't get the opportunity to get published: Well, today we feel that fifty talented writers will be added to the select group of – 'Published Authors'. Congratulations Winners!
For the ones whose stories don't feature in the list, I'd like to say: Most of the stories we received were good and it has been quite a tough task selecting the ones which we did.
Here is the list of the stories which have been selected:

Nandita Mundle
Ink And Lead
Anu Chopra
Arranged Marriage
Asma Siddiqui
Beyond Love
Ankita Aranke
Desert Faith
Ketan Joshi
Padmaja Menon
From The Mouth Of Babes
Saurabh Turakhia
Call Of Nature
Vijaya Prakash
A Good Bargain
Susan Smith
Sunil Sharma
Butterflies Grandma And Me
Pooja Nair
Recipe For Disaster
Vandana Jena
Second Sight
Shantanu Dhankar
And I Burn
I D Atkinson
First Contact
Lilia Westmore
Escape To Hopeland
Gerardine Baugh
M Annamalai
Million Steps
Anusarat Kothalanka
Nishgandha-A Dreamscape
Pratik Shah
Wavering Bounds
Rachana Shah
Gulabjamuns In Syrup
Cyril Sam
They Say I Am Crazy
B S Keshav
Fast Forward
Nabina Das
Tara Goes Home
Kenneth Cross
A Healthy Dose Of Insanity
Farahdeen Khan
Divya Mohan
The Silent Brook
Anita Baruwa
Just Rs 499
Sunil Tarini
Ribal Haj
Chased By The Wolves
Leo Mukherjee
The Fly Who Knew Too Much
Anubha Yadav
The Gift
Kamal Sharma
Bharadwaj Vijaysarathy
Tom Dick And Harry
Chandru Bhojwani
The Love Letter
McKenzie Hightower
The Lost And The Forgotten
Sweta Vikram
Challenges Of Breaking Rules
Eva Bell
Perfect Execution
Kirin Gupta
Ramprasad Adpaikar
The Baby
Sindhu Ramachandran
Happy Teacher's Day To Life
John Wolf
Earth Dogs
Vivek Shivram
A Conversation With The Damned
Salil Chaturvedi
Ta Rat Thing
Malavika Shridharan
The Shooting Star
G S Vasukumar
The Last Drop Of Tear
Joe Pfeffer
Supreme Reflections
Tia Rohit
Darkness Behind The Bush
Carmalin Sophia
Love Me Dear
Swapneel Khare
I Am Sorry

[This list is subject to the authors' furnishing the details and complying with the rules.]
The authors of these selected stories need to furnish some details, for which we will email them, individually, very shortly.

Warm Regards,
Huned Contractor
[Editor: Mirage Books]


tanuj solanki said...

way to go!

hopes it comes out sooner than sooner

fleuve-souterrain said...

thank you Tanuj! ghee-shakkar in your mouth! I hope we can all do more...

Anonymous said...

abhi ek book mein ek kahani, kal puri book hi aapki hogi (inshallah) aur phir dekhte dekhte booker!

way to go woman!

(and do remember me when you are rich and famous; specially when you are rich)

fleuve-souterrain said...

yes, inshallah! by the way, nice to see you finally in my blog space, der aye par durast aye...

Hey, if I'm rich and famous, I'm sure to squander everything traveling and eating (and of course buying books...). But the tragedy is that abhi bhi 'miles to go before I sleep'! Anyway, cliches apart, I still need to wrestle on my novel manuscript that's lying I'm sure, in the publisher's slush pile... kuchh karo baba, use your clout and tell them I'm the next aravind adiga!

Why no recent blog updates? do you write only scholarly stuff?

Anonymous said...

rather than using my clout and telling them you are the next aravind adiga, i would rather give you detailed comments on where and why (and how?) your words need to improve. mera to maan-na hai ke sahi dost wahi jo kadwa sach meethi goli mein pila de! that is not to say that your writing deserves kadva sach, but just that I am still chewing on your verse and will surely send you comments when I think its time for me to spout my wisdom.

and that reminds me, i am a frequent visitor to your blog-space, just that i have remained silent till now...

as for me, leftwrite remains a 'serious-writing' wala blog but i have been thinking of starting a less sombre blog for sometime.

final point ji! I see Charulata is now 70mm and colour... wonder what Satyajit Ray would have to say to that. as for me, i wonly say, "Badhiya hai".

Sophie said...

hi nabina

this is sophia
my entry "love me dear" is also selected for publication
so you are Bluefins - sulekha??


Old Man River said...

nice to see ur story would be published.very proud too .both of us.

Rhett said...

That's great news. Where can I read that story, BTW?
I try write stories but they are so frivolous!
Read your poem 'Lost Landscape' at Joy Leftow's blog. Very beautiful. Has a Tagore feel to it. Reads very Indian -- the first part reminded me of Kamala Das' A hot noon in Malabar. Perhaps you are sisters. lol.

What dies when new words are born?
Not the wounds, not the burning shame.
I wonder if I still should paint
Those paddy fields, peacocks and skies
With my brush of golden taint.



fleuve-souterrain said...

Dear old Man,
your wishes are most valuable to me!

Dear Kush
you are a very sensitive reader and I really like that. Being compared to Tagore or Kamala Das will make me fold up my work and go to sleep! So, do give any critique that may improve my work... A Hot Noon in Malabar is a fantastically longing-filled poem. No wonder it's been set to music.
I read your poems and there's a lot of good stuff in them... keep it up!
About the Mirage Books publication,it's not out yet. I'll let you know. Sadly I cannot post the story online because that goes against copyright.

Anonymous said...

Did you ever find out when your writing was getting published?