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

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Tea With Reza--Poem in Mad Swirl

Little glasses warmed by steam
Posing ballerinas pirouetting in silver holders
Glassy eyes too from steaming tears in
Tea-colored eyes
The kettle whistled Reza said, like
The train whizzing past his little
Iranian township that sang
Khoshbakhtam, khoshbakhtam!
Where poplars grew tall, very tall
Reza’s arms ceramic and
Bent bow-like from his time in jail
In a dark cell where he wasn’t given
Books to read or
Newspapers but just lashes and blows
Now and then for reading Marx
At the university
His tealeaf eyelids brimming up
With that memory …
He handed us glasses on silver holders
Held them tender, candles during prayer
The Revolution was not for my
Heart and soul, Reza cried
O my dear comrades, O my friends…
I came to be with you for freedom
And manifestos and democracy
Talks showering morning’s calm
On poplars I loved, my friends loved
Friends who were lost and gone
For singing The Internationale
Their arms bent too, cracked ceramic
Backs scarred, resting in unknown graves
Sometimes letters from prison came
Once a year, till they stopped, mentioning
The smell of tea freshly brewed
Just like this, verses of aroma
Coiling over us during our tea
With Reza one nineties evening…
He still waits in exile.

Read two more poems -- "Ideals of A Fiery Past" and "When Kali Speaks for Us" on Mad Swirl http://www.madswirl.com/content/poetry/Nabina_Das.html. Image from the Internet, dallasnews.com)


tanuj solanki said...

hey ND liked this one... is it a new style or something...

fleuve-souterrain said...

don't think the Tea poem has any new style... didn;t employ one consciously! Thanks... TS, keep visiting :)