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

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Day 5: "Eyeless In A New Town"

This was the Day 5 prompt of the April Poem A Day Challenge from Poetic Asides : "For today's prompt, I want you to write a poem about a landmark. It can be a famous landmark (like Mount Rushmore or the Sphinx) or a little more subdued (like the town water tower or an interesting sign)." http://blog.writersdigest.com/poeticasides/CommentView,guid,19d56087-4047-4589-b39b-995e90466679.aspx

"Eyeless In A New Town"

This is not about the lost gray waterfalls, the
Green trails long and like teething cucumber slices
The deep sleepy gorges doused with pine incense

Twenty-four hours

It’s not about gurgling creeks, the bystander sky that
Helplessly melt into the sprawling lake, nor even
The Canada Geese flying in V-shaped flocks that get

Caught by surprise

At the freshness of the languid emerald-colored spot
Beneath their wings when they exclaim in goose tongue:
How come this story’s not mentioned in travel catalogues?

Stupefied, they fly off

Eyeing a distant plane buzzing like a lost lone tourist
Like the way I hover, feel in this place, seek and see what
Was whispered once: Lost stories. Paths that existed once

But were taken off

The city maps because quite a few had forgotten them
In their hurry to reach drive-ins and sloppy express lanes
No travel guide said this mound resembled a four-humped
Camel, green three to four months, then fading to become
Various shades of red orange purple dark brown to an eerie
White. Some flowers lie strewn in her memory, live there,
Where I swerve, the way she had, before I read the one-word

Sign in rust: Amen.


priti aisola said...

Simply beautiful!

fleuve-souterrain said...

thanks Priti! a sign people saw but not celebrated as much becuase it was getting forgotten...