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

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Day 9: "Viewing Kanchenjunga"

This was the prompt for Day 9:

"For today's prompt, I want you write a poem about a memory. The memory can be good or bad. The memory can be a blend of several memories. I suppose it could even be a memory that you're not sure you remember correctly. Take your time finding a good one (or good ones)." Read more at: April PAD Challenge: Day 9

"Viewing Kanchenjunga"

He and I, uneven, would go up the winding path
Streaming from the front of that sleepy house
He tall, me very short and running to catch up
With long strides of my uncle’s morning walk.
“It’s the third highest mountain peak you’ll see
In a while,” he lectured, and I half heard, busy,
Too busy tweaking dew drops off crisp arum leaves
And a taut red hibiscus straining to see the sun.
He would climb the little hillock easily, quick,
I scampering off like a poodle on a tight leash.
More scholarship booming at the blinky sky would
Have clouds yawning faraway. “Know what are the
Gold, silver, gems, grain and holy books? Ah-ha,
Treasures! Five Treasures of Snows!” I would
Count birds waking, then fleeing the din at dawn
And the wave of his walking stick, jaunty laugh
To see the peak wake up and then he would leave.
I stayed a bit longer on the shiny hillock’s crest
Before tumbling down. The treasured peak had to
Rise as high as my teeny scrawny dark head with
The sun, so I would finally see that thigh of gold bark.

Image from the Internet: Kanchenjunga Rising


priti aisola said...

How do you manage to create something so fresh and memorable out of nothing? I am fast becoming your committed fan. I pray that we continue to enjoy all this and more.

Anonymous said...

poodle on the leash .. :) I can visualize this one clearly among other things. You know Nabs whenever I see the sunset behind the mountains I envy the clouds and the eagle that can sour up to the tip and kiss it. Every sunrise and every sunset is a gem, a memory to treasure. I came to read this again and to comment. still in euphoria :)

fleuve-souterrain said...

Priti, you are so kind and it is my good fortune to have you as my "fan"!! My pleasure entirely.

Ha ha Tiku... my uncle (tauji) was a committed walker and had to run behind him hard, he was a tall man. Thanks so much for liking this one...

Rhett said...

You create poetry out of the mundane and that is your forte. Strange wonders and delights spring in the soul when I read you. I cannot quite put them down on paper.