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, March 27, 2009

Newsroom Novena -- Dada Poem in Maintenant 3

Furry friends, a flamingo forest and a frosty treat
Begging for dough, zapping depression and musical condoms
Chained to the radiator? For our own good, dear reader!
Coveted, French and now in the super malls in your town
Find a life filled to the brim with still more to add
Dice-K on the gyroball, Dow averaged and more and more…
Goofball ‘Office’ salesman living a city dream, not me!
But a date with destiny on the 7th of July (oh, it’s just a date)
Hitting the road for some hot-man-on-bike action, you bet.
Meanwhile, Wallace and Gromit spearhead citizens’ project
And felons are allowed to work at school for the deaf and blind.

The setting is a gay bathhouse in the mid-1970s, you knew.
Is that an actress wearing her uterus on the sleeve? Is that you?
It’s a novena spending time with sound bytes inside heads.

(Originally published in Maintenant 3 Dada poetry journal from Three Rooms Press. Image from the Internet)


Anonymous said...

Well this is a very different kind of poetry for me .. I guess I need to reread it some more times to get the meaning ... I loved the picture ...

fleuve-souterrain said...

thanks for reading... Dada poetry is interesting, often a toss at something! Here, it is our "news"-fed lives...

Anonymous said...

look at the Tea poem and this... how did this come about? r u real here?

darknight said...

Thought about dada poetry... is it when thoughts break down. back later.

VNTuongLai said...

__ You’re invited to view my latest video “684”__ a collection of some short poems. ( http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1QQVtsjdiDw )

Rhett said...

Ms. Nabina, I think novena is an inspired choice for a word, goes on to show that vocabulary certainly adds a dimension to the writing of a good poem. I do feel that there could be a better word, maybe the look-out for that better word is nigh possible for me...or anyone except you. I have a feeling that you also feel the same way that the word novena is a "best-fit".
I did not much understand the meaning of the first stanza but have interpreted it as a past that has translated to being a novena which have married into "the sound-bytes that exist inside heads".
Well, am I close?