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 27, 2009


I live in a lost house with four-winged rooms and a ghost cat I hate
Also, my she-shadow lives here. Unsung

Don’t chide my cell phone’s ring after all, it’s my full-time Raga, a wake-up call
Or my sleep meditation: Om Shantih Om

I turn on my flat-chested TV – my mailman, my unsmiling shrink, my alter ego’s voice
Friendship is not my neighbour anymore

The only humanness rises from an old bandhani rug that held your warmth one night. Memories match your eyes, they’re distant –

Remote as my cold dinner plate, like the puja thaali I’d forgotten. Thrown out petals of
Staid beliefs. Sandal paste of my sweat and all

Walking the dark corridors I fly like accidental leaves blown in by nightly dust storms. My void and I, slipping into a stupor


Runechris said...

Very nice fresh image here.. all wonderful . I'd love a thalli of fresh cooked India food as a TV dinner.. with warm naan.. some lime pickle to go with it... I haven't cooked any homemade India n food in a while.. This made me want some..I love that you draw so beautifully from your own culture.. I t is a nice change to read your poetry.


Silver Solo said...

I love this. Every emotion in your lost house has been found.

fleuve-souterrain said...

Christina, so great to have you here finally!

Love lime pickle too... :-)

Hi Silver, thanks so much friend. That is so well said.

Rhett said...

Hey I liked it very much. It was vague.
But I just have one minor complaint. I think that you attempt to qualify the vagueness by that cliched thought in the last lines. This sort of qualifying business I identify with, you know, artists who have a production house before them. Like movie makers, book writers. I'd rather that vagueness is not qualified so simply. I'd have liked it if you had chosen a darker image, and certainly vaguer. That said, this is your poem and it is good as it is.