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, February 13, 2009

Kama Sutra Kitsch

My experiment on Indian Love Story series of poems still goes on. Here's the latest, (a kitschy ride through Vatsyayana's classic):

INDIAN LOVE STORY 7: Kama Sutra Kitsch
1. Introductory (5 chapters)

There comes a time
When the rose is not as fair as
The beloved, whose arms
Beckon, fragrance entices,
Steps create tremors in the head
And my dear one’s smile
Proves headier than that ruddy cup
Because we learned to love, at last!
The lover roams in enterprises for
That wayside fare called knowledge
The knowledge of love and loving
Even though well-bred, we lovers cry:
Don’t pillory my desires for
You have loved and I have loved
And that love is Devi’s love
My Shankara’s love, dear friends!
2. On the union (10 chapters)
Your desires my embraces
Your soft touch and my kisses
Chandrakala from your nails
The blooming lotus of my teeth marks
Your face steaming with tears of joy
My nervous moves and your pranks
Our daily courting, nightly chants
Of that rush in the blood and
Butterflies gone wild in our stomachs
The game of love won so hard
So sweet and blessed, my heart!
3. Acquisition of a wife (5 chapters)
Hold her hands
Hold them true
See her moonbeam face
And find the light of your life
Sing the word and coo your song
She is your mantra, your strength, your own.
4. About a wife (2 chapters)
Hold him close
Hold him good and strong
In your nimble arms and cherish
That moment when you were his
He was yours, candid and bold
His heart your heart, his moan
Your own, in joy and pain, never alone.
5. About men and women (6 chapters)

We dance and we sigh
Quarrel and cry, day or night
Our chests throb, the hair stands up
On our backs and legs and tickle our thighs
Sentiments that remain old
As the forever green ancient tree
Standing in the courtyard
Even hundred years later, for
No one has changed how to say
I do, I do, I love thee!
6. About the way of the world (6 chapters)
To be or not to be
Is that what she says or says he
She was mine and now no more
He was a lover like never before
My heart will break and I will die
Before love flies away from my life
Gold or silver what is better
Than a battered fate like mine
It is the cause, it is the cause
My soul, jealousy and anger can spoil
But hark, someone calls at my window
What tears? Here, new love, I rise and shine!
7. How to… (2 chapters)
How do I change my walk
My talk my sprightly quirks
My body odor, my earnest fervor
My weak tear glands, and stale garlands
And how do I… should I…
Ever do a double whammy
When I want him and her and her and him
And manage to stay slim
Absolutely agile and trim, my whims
Suiting my beloved like a dream
How to, how to, tell me dear friends
If love will become my only luck?

(The Kama Sutra, said to be the oldest instructive text on the subject of love, is attributed to Maharishi Vatsyayana, and has 1,250 verses and divided into 7 major sections. It has been translated widely around the world. Photo from Internet)


anu said...

Happy valentines day!

6 and 7, totally ks..! :-)

fleuve-souterrain said...

Hey Anu, great! Same to you too! Yes 6 is cool and this one, 7, is is a little humorous I think... all maybe because I was too conscious summing up the KS!

Rohit Gore said...

Hi Nabina

Got diverted to your blog from Ritu Lalit's and Tikuli's blogs. Your poetry is lovely. Look forward to reading your blog at leisure.

I am a writer too. Well, if you can call someone who writes 20 words per day a writer i.e. :-)


Afaque said...

wow.. that was a beautiful gift on valentine's day.. :)
it was very touching and sweet...

Violetwrites said...

Touching with a purity uncommon in today's world. Sell spirituality instead, wholesale here @ nabina's blog. Just joking. This series has a nostalgic longing for the past when truths were different.
We love you...

fleuve-souterrain said...

Hey Rohit, great to make your acquaintance. Ritu and Tiku and great bloggers... love their work. Just visited your blog. Comments placed!

Afaque, I am touched by your happiness my friend!

Violet, you are so supportive. You have said something absolutely impotant... this series does have that element of "nostalgic longing". Perhaps because I am trying to write these poems based only on KS, Bollywood and cliched love imageries that's present in the south asian psyche. So, as I read your comment, I am thinking: love's changed notion must also be incorporated in this Indian Love Story series. Very good point. Happy you point it out! :-)

Jee Leong Koh said...

Hi Nabina,
Thanks for the invite to your blog. I teach "Midnight's Children" to my students, and am interested in Indian epics and myths. I look forward to following your blog.


fleuve-souterrain said...

what a lovely blog you have... here's to more!

DubbleX said...

quite lovely

DubbleX said...

definitely lovely

priti aisola said...

Unfolding, exploratory, leisurely love, with a touch of humour. Fine job!

fleuve-souterrain said...

Thanks Dx and Priti!

Anonymous said...

wow ..Simply superb Nabs ..what a treat ..I am coming here after a long time and my apologies for that ... the loss was all mine ..love the flow of feelings and words. 2 and 7 .. ;)

fleuve-souterrain said...

Tiku dahling, great to have you. your comments mean a lot to me!