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

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Short Fiction "ABOUT ARIBAM" in Inertia Magazine 8

I have a short story published in Inertia Magazine -- ABOUT ARIBAM.

After clicking on the story title, see my name listed under 'fiction' on the left-hand bar and click for the text.

A bit of backgrounder: I used to work as the media coordinator for National Foundation for India, a grant-making body in India directly funded by Ford Foundation. We indeed had a media program that I took over from a wonderful senior, and ran my flagship media conference one time in Shillong, a beautiful city and capital of the northeastern state of Meghalaya in India.

I indeed met my protagonist at that conference. But this is largely fiction that showcases those moments of life that fail to provide any explanation about their rationality or exactitude of occurrence. And given that I am a neighbor of Manipur and it's beautiful people, something spurred me to write this piece.

Do enjoy the story and tell me what you think!

Image from Inertia Magazine cover, Issue 8, February 2010.


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Sajan said...

Interesting ending...I liked Aribam's character a lot.
Isn't very true, the Buddha and the Ravana are both inside us...:)

Btw...I am the same "Too Much to Lose" who used to comment on your blog earlier...:)

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How do I keep out the flower and cake people? I have to go back to comment moderation, that's the only way!

Sajan, so you were TTML. Good. Happy you liked the story :)

tanuj solanki said...

I read the story Nabina and, if one can call it divided into three parts, liked the second part the most. I felt the end was rushed! And the slight closeness between Nalini and Anirban sudden and unexplained. I wanted more, actually. I liked Anirban's manner in the first two parts, but found his flash a little too forced in the end

fleuve-souterrain said...

thanks TS. That's a very important feedback. Aribam's encounter with Nalini was a rather fast one... the pain remained.