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

Monday, April 6, 2009

Day 6: "Missing Us"

This was the Day 6 prompt for April PAD: "For today's poem, I want you to write a poem about something missing. It can be about an actual physical object or something you just can't put your finger on (like "love" or "the spirit of Christmas" or something)." See at: April PAD Challenge: Day 6

"Missing Us"
One by one
Unpacking the cartons
Polishing this Ming vase (it is!)
Reinstating that wrought-iron candle stand
A few Matrioshkas and lacquer stuff
(You know how I care for old Russian art)
A hand-painted tea coaster – my caper –
Unwrapping them sparks a smile, at last

Moth balls rolling off a coat
I barely used last winter
Magazines he’d throw, I’d save
For garden instructions on better tomatoes

Undoing gossamer cobweb from the corners
Before life is installed back in
That unlived living room, on the yet-to-be cluttered
Dresser. This indeed was like courting
Emptiness, he said, before I came back home.

Image from the Internet


tanuj solanki said...

My God Nabina... this is a masterpiece.

It is only in the last lines that the reader discoveres that it is not 'you' talking...

And the feeling describes is pure! wah... dil khush ho gaya...

gulnaz said...


Anonymous said...

Christina Brooks likes this a lot...
Like the last line too. Touching to be from a mans perspective.

Mys Lyke Meeh said...

There's always something in your thoughts..

fleuve-souterrain said...

TS, thanks for that fine reading! Makes my day!

Gul, you are sweet!

Chris, glad you like it!

Mys, long time no see. Happy you find my work useful...! Please keep visiting. I'll visit you too.

Anonymous said...

wah ustad wah ... this sure is awesome. I love the fact that it was not "you" talking this time. super duper. Muaaah

fleuve-souterrain said...

Tiku! I bow to thee...:)