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).

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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.

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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.

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"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


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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.
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'"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.
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"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

Monday, April 20, 2009

"THE FARRIER": Short fiction in The Cartier Street Review

My short fiction THE FARRIER has come out in The Cartier Street Review, April 2009 edition. Read at:


http://thecartierstreetreview.blogspot.com/2009/04/april-2009-edition.html




Cover Image by Chris Labrenz, The CSR, Apr 09


Bernard Alain, Ottawa, Canada, is Principal Editor (blog site). Joy Leftow, New York, NY, is Production Editor (blog site). The Cartier Street Review is a not-for-profit magazine. 50% of all net revenues go to a children's charity.

Please support this month's charity by downloading a high resolution print quality PDF file at: CSR April 2009 Edition


Excerpt from my story below:

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"The Farrier "


Was Russet to live her life between the legs of horses? She could get kicked sometime, although I’m sure Russet never expected that. It’s a job she had for a long time. Russet had big hands. Her hair cut like a duckling’s tail caught in a twister. She was a farrier. With an uncommon but musical name – Russet.


That’s what she told me.

We spoke while rummaging through old books on sale downtown where they’d let us take a bagful for a dollar. Shivering in the line outside on the cold concrete, for it was late November in this little Upstate New York town, I rubbed my bristly palms inside fleece gloves to a frigid drop falling from above, listening to the drone of a man explaining to someone the intricacies of a Russian fireplace. Once inside, we rummaged and I saw she held this Alberto Moravia I wanted, Two Women. Like a predatory animal I eyed her. Silently pointed towards the Moravia. She eye-browed towards the flat thin book I was holding.

“Horses.” She said. “You like horses?”


“I don’t mind them.” I said. Why talk of horses? This isn’t a farm fest. It’s a book sale.



“You’ve a horse here,” she said, leaning over and touching the book I was holding. Tock tock. She knocked on the cover twice.


The flat thin cover indeed had a horse snorting in a yellow-green cornfield. I had no idea if horses liked corn. Suddenly it hit me why horses were the topic.



“Okay,” I said, sheepishly. She handed my book to me. “This is about women,” I explained.


“You like women?” She asked the same way she had asked if I liked horses.Yes. No. What do I say? I’m a man! I nodded. I liked women only because they are there, all around. Not in the same way I’d adore a race car. It was tough to explain.



Read more at Current Issue (April 2009)

2 comments:

Misiula said...

Yay! Hurray for Nabina!

fleuve-souterrain said...

Thank you Misi! Appreciate... :)