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

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

My Years With Rabindranath Tagore


Activist and poet Dustin Brookshire's Project Verse gave us this assignment in the initial round -- "your first poet". This was my contribution, tell me about yours:

My Years With Rabindranath Tagore

Little Boy Courage. The Old Banyan tree.

You came to me Rabindranath
(tough name for a kid)
as playmate Rabi

On a horseback through our
childish woods of romance
mixing the monsoon rains with tunes
of leaf floats making off to the Seven Seas
between homework of grammar and spelling.

Here, Rabi, hold my hand
write that stanza
I’d read even years later
for every year the drummers are out
(still underpaid, they now sell
fake branded accessories)
teasing absent-minded autumn clouds.

Tall palm with winged-desire. Camelia my Girl.

So who said he wore a solemn beard?
Not on my book cover!
Duping the elders we must remain green –
exactly the way he called out:
My little greens, my little young shoots
and those lines are still the first to ring
the way it once did
candle-blowing sleepiness on
a power-outed summer night.

Reading Tagore in bed, living inside
the crumpled book leaves
I frolicked with my playmate Rabi
soared above static and din
(father loved Tchaikovsky
on old Radio Moscow)
also cried when
the Pilgrims drowned at sea.

Here, Rabi, take this line
let my first eyes remember that time

A drop of water. The leaf shivers.

Image from the Internet: Tagore and Einstein

6 comments:

Runechris said...

Sorry I haven't been by in a while. But I like this very much. Such a wonderful influence.

fleuve-souterrain said...

Thanks Chris! Tagore has been there to teach and even defy!

Megan said...

Wow, a whole new world has opened up to me. I love this!

Abhinav said...

Sometimes his figure in the world of literature seems diminutive. But I have seen that nothing can draw two Indian literati in conversation as deeply as him. His influence is like the shade of a big Banyan tree that brings us peace in nostalgia, a rare combination...

Rhett said...

Great poem. Loved it!
"ing...
Tuesday, September 22, 2009
My Years With Rabindranath Tagore

Activist and poet Dustin Brookshire's Project Verse gave us this assignment in the initial round -- "your first poet". This was my contribution, tell me about yours:

My Years With Rabindranath Tagore

Little Boy Courage. The Old Banyan tree.

You came to me Rabindranath
(tough name for a kid)
as playmate Rabi

On a horseback through our
childish woods of romance
mixing the monsoon rains with tunes
of leaf floats making off to the Seven Seas
between homework of grammar and spelling.

Here, Rabi, hold my hand
write that stanza
I’d read even years later
for every year the drummers are out
(still underpaid, they now sell
fake branded accessories)
teasing absent-minded autumn clouds.

Tall palm with winged-desire. Camelia my Girl.

So who said he wore a solemn beard?
Not on my book cover!
Duping the elders we must remain green –
exactly the way he called out:
My little greens, my little young shoots
and those lines are still the first to ring
the way it once did
candle-blowing sleepiness on
a power-outed summer night."


Sooo dream-like. Your lines turn just as does a dream.

"Here, Rabi, hold my hand
write that stanza
I’d read even years later"

Exactly!!!!

Rhett said...

Oops!!! I will comment again:

Your lines are very dream like -- they turn just as does a dream.
"So who said he wore a solemn beard?
Not on my book cover!
Duping the elders we must remain green –
exactly the way he called out:
My little greens, my little young shoots
and those lines are still the first to ring
the way it once did
candle-blowing sleepiness on
a power-outed summer night."


"Here, Rabi, hold my hand
write that stanza
I’d read even years later"

That's my line!