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

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

SIX-MILE-CREEK: A Postcard-Poem

Former Tompkins County Poet Laureate Katharyn Howd Machan, also a poetry instructor at Ithaca College, had organized an "arts for all marathon" at the Community School of Music and Arts in 2009. The idea was to engage area poets on a common project and to raise funds for CSMA programs that would mainly benefit children and youth.

The Arts for All Marathon was a 26.2-day postcard-poetry project. Great fun and immense education.

"Six-Mile-Creek" was chosen by Katharyn and has been printed on a postcard along with poems from other writers. This one was a favorite of mine as soon as I wrote it down! While I write letters to friends on the poetry-postcards (I have two sets so I can keep one bunch all for myself), read the poem below:


Sleep is a sharp river bend
Geology too, on a face-smooth rock
One that climbs up the banks

From the creek that flows
Behind my hill on a cascading street
Called water, silent at night

They say the trout should
Flock after this neon winter passes
And now only sprigs float

Below the dam after six miles
Where half-nude youngsters jump into
The liquidy sheet ignoring signs

That say “don’t”. They still do
With their sudden laughter waking up
Us who sleep on the rocky shore.


Image from the Internet: Six-Mile-Creek, Ithaca, a painting by John Clum


A Literary Treat said...

Hey! You have a great blog here!!! I hope you'll come and have a look at mine sometime...? http://www.a-literary-treat.co.nr/ :D xx


fleuve-souterrain said...

Thank you Aash! I'm glad you visited and found things of interest. Sure, will come over some time soon :)

Rhett said...

It's one of those poems that come around - like light trapped in diamond - and these can only be written in a cascading three-line stanza as this -
I so know the frame coz I have written severrral in this 3 line format - sort'a discovered it myself as a very very suitable medium when you wanna say something exactly but also wanna curl it on itself - so to speak.

so i think it will come around to me in some time, I really think so... btw, just love the opening lines.

Btw, hello again :)