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, December 26, 2008

Serendipity, Allow Me a Dream

Wrote this poem at some one's request on the theme of "weaving dreams"... As the year closes on, probably dream weaving is something I will indeed try do in earnest! This one is a rather melancholy poem although the given topic is supposed to generate hope, also a little lost and deeply coiled within, like a lot of my obscure thoughts. Nevertheless, for my friends:

I do this often, immerse my face in
The drifting melody of speed,
Throbbing, expecting
Pushing towards a pool of unknownness that sails slowly
Like a lost boat come home after tidal winds are dead.

Leaf falls and yesteryears do
Make up some of its urgency,
Nagging, irritating fly
That snaps its sticky wings and revisits doorsteps of a house
Called memory, its driveway almost always messy.

My dream hovers above meandering
Pessimism, a mountain,
Like an elephant gone to die
In peace and relative grandeur where motions kneel down
Aware that the wind takes scraps away to its bare-wall den

I wonder if then you hear songs
With birds sitting on thorns,
Bloodied to their core,
And while caravans lose paths in the swirling sea-sands
Nights pass taking stones with names inscribed and hewn

Tell me then why we need to belt
And buckle to our seats
For a fur-flung destiny
And hold our hands when verses wither off like ink or seeds
No raccoon would eat, only this planet would dream in bits

I sieve those dreams when everything’s
Gone to a dusk of rest
Beyond a highway run
Where your guns and sheep come bleating for a final kill.
I’m someone with a question still slung on her breast

Perhaps there’s a new sea rising
Over your brazen hand
I see its dazzle at night
Serendipity, let me weave a dream that creates boats and homes –
A web of hopefulness we wake up to in blossom-smelling lands.
Photo from Internet


anu said...

"Like an elephant gone to die
In peace and relative grandeur where motions kneel down"


Mys Lyke Meeh said...

wow--deep, meaningful and just wonderful piece. I wonder what inspired u for writing this...

Leaf falls and yesteryears do
Make up some of its urgency,
Nagging, irritating fly
That snaps its sticky wings and revisits doorsteps of a house
Called memory, its driveway almost always messy.


fleuve-souterrain said...

Dear Anu, the elephant seems always to me to be a mysterious animal, capable of somany imageries!! Will write an email to you later, hope all is well?

Hi Mys: thanks for liking it. Think i wrote it at a moment of sadness... although the topic was dream weaving! Again, the imagery of an apparently intangible memory as objects such as driveway, house, road, flowing rivers is something i probably use over an dover again. Have a great year end a New Year, girl!

Joy Leftow said...

interesting. Was watching elephants on national geo the other day who'd taken to attacking the villagers. They're being run out of their homes.

Very evocative and thoughtful use of imagery.

nabina das said...

i'm happy you like it Joy... I was a bit critical about how dense how i could get at times!!