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

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Indian Love Story: Romance Under An Umbrella

I've never celebrated Valentine's Day, never really figured out what's there in succumbing to the commercial pressures of buying and receiving flowers, dinners, gifts... unless of course we want to stimulate the flagging economy in these trying times. I don't even have money for that, dang! But the month of February, for very special reasons that are personal, makes me think about love and romance. Also, I start sniffing Spring already! So here's one of the love poems I've been writing lately as part of a series. They are clubbed under the header INDIAN LOVE STORY (and don't ask me why it is the fourth one!):

4. Romance Under An Umbrella

It’s the rain
And your face that streams
Like the pain of an inch-long separation
While we listen together

The road’s song churning under an umbrella
In full monsoon cadence

No, fingers don’t touch
And you take back the longing
Of our heavy-breathing nights
To the trill from a paan-shop radio

Reciting the very lines
I had memorized for you.

Photo from Internet: Raj Kapoor and Nargis in film "Shree 420"


Rhett said...

Oh... well written. That sweetness of the hindi song what yu mean to say... wah wah!

priti aisola said...

It's very sweet.Evokes the mood of gentle romance.
Just one question - what were you thinking when you used the word 'churning' to describe the song. To me it connotes some agitation, some turmoil. At variance with the general mood of muted longings.
I guess it is a poet's very personal vision.

fleuve-souterrain said...

Rhett-- gracias! yeah you know that number from Shree 420, pretty iconic.

Priti -- gentle romance was the idea. I already told you why I wrote "churning"... was it literally "tadapna", "chhatpatanaa" for me... don;t know. Shd run it by a native Hindi speaker. I like your point...

Rhett said...

Yea... Manna De and Lata... Pyar hua iqrar hua... whatta melody!

( A Techie) said...

nice one.. just cudn't resist writing few funny lines... :)

pyaar , iqraar aur baarish ki bauchaar..
haye re kya kare? .. jeene ke yeh din chaar ..
chaate main hain ched... pad na jaye hum beemar..
use par ae hassen .. tera emosional attyaachaar...

Too much to lose said...

great way of expressing !!!!

fleuve-souterrain said...

Dear A Techie
you are funny indeed, good try!

TMTL -- danke my friend! All experimental and evolving...:-)

Naresh said...

Sweet Awesomeeeeeeeee!!!

Am writin at hasty-rusty.blogspot.com

Anonymous said...

rimjhim gire sawan sulag sulag jaye mann ...awesome ...loved the love in your expression

fleuve-souterrain said...

LOL Tiku, we all love that rain song...!

Anonymous said...

Well written. I also managed to learn a lot about blogs here.