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

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Day 24: “Song of the Road”

Here was the Day 24 prompt: "For today's prompt, I want you to write a travel-related poem. It can be human travel, the migration of swallows, the trafficking of drugs, etc. Some sort of movement from point A to point B." Read more at: April PAD Challenge: Day 24

“Song of the Road”

We were two or four
The abacus did not say
The road said our cooling
Points were few, so we sat
Crammed in that three-wheeled
Wonder they call a “Tempo”
Tempo it was, one of our disparate
Lives, cradling us, two or three from
Mangaldoi, Mungher and Mughalsarai
The song of the road was split
Into a hymn, an FM pop and
Something that sounded like
A mumble for getting home soon
We were two, who knows, four
Inside a jumpy vehicle with angry
Wheels that didn’t sing much, roared.

Now I have not taken that road
For a long time, indeed a long time
When songs used to be in notation
Instead, I fly over the route now
Don’t hear voices or hum lines
I just loosen my seatbelt, yawn
Walk out in my lazy loafers

The last time we were three of
Us, seated side by side
One tapping into her blackberry
The second mildly swaying to
His earphone euphony
And this one searching
Google Maps on the laptop
For the next stop home.

Image from the Internet: Tempo, (also known as Vidal & Sohn Tempo-Werke GmbH), was a German automobile manufacturer based in Hamburg. The company was founded by Oscar Vidal in 1924. The company was well known in Germany, producing well-selling cars and vans like the Matador and the Hanseat, But Tempo also produced small military vehicles during the 1930s, 1940s and 1950s. In India tempos used to be a common means for small-town and rural public transport and may be found even now...


priti aisola said...

Very very nice! Love the contrast, the gentle nostalgia.

Anonymous said...

this is so refreshing Nabina and I love the tempo too though here in Delhi they are banned. lovely .