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

Sunday, October 11, 2009

POETRY IN OUR TIMES -- four Sketch Poems

My Sketch Poems are still experimental unless someone thinks otherwise. These are NOT visual poems and so read them as complementary pairs.



Poetry in Our Times

1. Utterance from an Urn

Only when we looked around we saw

A subliminal longing, in an unaccustomed mouth

Birth of lettered rhymes.


2. "A Face Like Ours"

Poetry is a face inviting a peek

A thought that carves the Ajanta grace – a smile, a pause

Poetry’s guest. Liberated words.
3. "Doors vs. Darkness"

Silent waters upon those door frames

The choice is of clarity of shards, not darkness

The face splatters like meters. A welcome chant.


4. "Airborne, We Sing"

Our times is a kite for our hands

To say nothing of the birds. Alphabetic. Soaring

The face, this poetry, defy disbelief of metaphors.


Images: sketches in poster color by me, on paper and then scanned

2 comments:

Rhett said...

The drawings are fantabulous!
The poems are all sublime -- in fact they read like first principles.

In the last one birds automatically reads as words - which is a magical touch to say the least.

The first one I especially liked.

Any one else would have written it without the first line, and to use Anne Shirley's fave expression, only a "kindred spirit" would add: [i]only[/i] when we looked around...

fleuve-souterrain said...

thanks Rhett! 4 commandments, shall we call them? However there's little of commanding there! I like the birds (kite) a lot and the "urn" is my favorite... thanks for reading friend!