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).

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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.

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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.

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"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


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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.
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'"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.
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"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, March 6, 2009

IN PERSPECTIVE -- poem re-print in Shalla Magazine

Shalla Magazine has re-printed my poem "In Perspective" in their Spring 2009 issue (http://www.shallamagazine.com/issues/winter_blooms_issue/Spring_Issue_poetry.php#inPerspective). The poem was first published in The Cartier Street Review. I am pasting the poem below again for all to read.


in Perspective


by Nabina Das


Earlier it was mile-long street-corner speeches

Popcorn peppered with stinging remarks

Holding hands standing close behind the bustle

Listening to arguments acrid as boiling oil

Partying after elders went home to sleep

Smoking, rehearsing lines for street plays

Riding a rickety bike through the outskirts of

Towns seen on TV - now cindered, broken

Lovemaking endlessly, sleeping in, sharing

News and rumors about paramilitary in town

How they called after lonely girls, after school

Clicked their guns, exhibited silly manliness

Before the cameras and boom mikes it was nice

Every one called every one a friend, at least once

Nagaon, Baramullah, Imphal had weekend markets

Veggies, flowers, knick-knacks people loved

Before insurgency, every one got happy and drunk

Now they have closed tea-shops fearing bombs

Clothes dried in the sun before threats were heard,

No one walks or plays in those courtyards now

Newspapers quote: ‘Things seemed calmer before’

And we wonder if they’re still stunned like the dead.


This was a bit of nice surprise. I heard about Shalla from poet Nikesh Murali whose poem was nominated for the Pushcart prize a couple of years ago. Although I submitted this poem -- Shalla publishes only previously published work -- to them, I wasn't sure what was going to happen to it.


Shalla Magazine's e-mail read thus (you don't really have to read this):


"Congratulations, your submission is now featured on SHALLA Magazine!
See it at SHALLA Magazine: http://www.shallamagazine.com/
Congratulations again—oh, and did I tell you? You are in now in the running for being nominated for the prestigious Pushcart Prize. There will be 6 winning writers chosen in 2009—please check SHALLA Magazine sometime in December when we start posting those results.
Will you be nominated for the Pushcart Prize? Good luck!
Shalla DeGuzman
Editor & Publisher"


Apparently, work submitted to Shalla Magazine is first scanned by an acquiring editors, if it passes that phase, it goes to the guest assistant editors, if it passes that phase, it goes to one of the guest editors, if it passes that it goes to one of the editors, then to Shalla DeGuzman. Whew! Reason to feel good I guess!

4 comments:

Misiula said...

Congratulations! I'm very happy for you and for the poetry--I am deeply convinced that poems are happy when read.

fleuve-souterrain said...

dear Misiula
thank you! yes, poems do feel happy being read... and make me happy too!

Rhett said...

Hey I liked this one. Well written. Still life in art (sketching) and free verse in poetry, isnt it?

fleuve-souterrain said...

thanks!