Poetry Excerpt: The Bloomsbury Book of Great Indian Love Poems Edited by Abhay K.

An exclusive excerpt from The Bloomsbury Book of Great Indian Love Poems edited by Abhay K. (Published by Bloomsbury in October, 2020)

From the ancient land of India which has given the world, Kamasutra-a treatise on love, Great Indian Love Poems, selected and edited diligently by Abhay K., brings you the fragrant wine of Indian love poetry spread across three millennia, written in multiple languages by gifted poets like -Kalidasa, Mirabai, Bhratrihari, Jayadeva, Silhana, Surdas, Bihari, Muddupalani, Bhavabhuti, Venmaniputti, Vidyapati, Bilhana to just name a few.

This intoxicating book shows many facets of love-affectionate, playful, sensuous, erotic, unconditional, pining, aching, among others-leaving you with unforgettable experiences and lasting impressions.

A new ratnakosha of Indian love poems-a cornucopia of delights. A must read for one and all.

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Bookmarked Musings: On reading Khaled Hosseini’s books By Riddhi Mistry

After about two months of non-fiction, self-help reads, I decided to go for fiction, a novel, a story that I can drown myself in. I decided to do a little readathon a few days ago and let the book completely hypnotize me and let it have my complete attention. After all, it deserves every bit of it because it had been a long time since I’d lost myself in a fictional world. 

And yet, only a few books and few writers have this power, something that seems to come almost naturally to them, this inexplicable talent to drown the reader in the book. You are lucky enough to have found a book that does that to you. I consider myself to be extremely fortunate to have got to read a few books that give me the same feeling. One of those and the most prominent of those have to be Khaled Hosseini’s books. 

“But it’s better to be hurt by the truth than to be comforted with a lie.” 

– Khaled Hosseini, The Kite Runner 
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NEW RELEASES FROM ASIA- October 2020

The Curse: Stories by Salma ( Translated by N. Kalyan Raman)

  • Publisher: Speaking Tiger
  • Year of publication: 2020 / October
  • Pages: 192
  • Price: INR 350

Book Blurb:

In The Curse, acclaimed author and poet Salma blasts through the artifice of genre an language to reveal the messy, violent, vulnerable and sometimes beautiful realities of being a woman in deeply patriarchal societies. Loosely rooted in the rural Muslim communities of Tamil Nadu, these stories shine a light on the complex dramas governing the daily lives of most women moving through the world.

In the title story, a young spinster is caught between her desire for marriage and a dark family history that haunts her like a curse. In ‘Toilets’, a woman recounts in stunning, visceral detail how access to the most basic human space has been regulated by trauma, shame and the male gaze. In ‘The Orbit of Confusion’, a daughter writes a heartbreaking letter, struggling to come to terms with her anger and love for the woman who raised her. In these and five other emotionally charged stories that are at times humorous, even spooky, Salma crafts exquisite and contradictory inner worlds like Alice Munro with the playfulness and spirit of Ismat Chughtai—in a voice that is entirely her own. Available together for the first time in English—in a lively, nimble translation by Kalyan Raman—these stories will grab you by the throat and leave you fundamentally changed.

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Book Excerpt: Bride of the Forest- The Untold Story of Yayati’s Daughter by Madhavi S. Mahadevan

An exclusive excerpt from Bride of the Forest: The Untold Story of Yayati’s Daughter by Madhavi S. Mahadevan. Published by Speaking Tiger Books, 2020.  

Yayati 

The forest was already a lush, tangled dream. In the runny light of dawn what appeared surreal to the  girl’s eyes was the city of Pratisthan—the yellow of its  brick walls, the disarray of its streets. The citizens were still abed. The network of narrow, paved alleyways was  silent but for the sighs from the night just spent. However,  the smells lingered and gossiped of the frenzied drinking  and dancing, of clandestine desires and sated hungers,  of enticement, seduction and indulgence. In the street of  the courtesans, bruised garlands of marigold and jasmine  drifted in sluggish drains. A tambourine lay in a pool of  vomit. At the city’s intersections stood enormous clay  lamps that had burned bright all night, but now held  curls of blackened wicks, like stillborn worms. The only  signs of life were the lean, brown stray dogs scavenging  through animal innards and fishbones. 

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Short Story: In and Out of Love By Swati Moheet Agrawal

“Nothing lasts long

And you want to say to each moment

Stay, stay, stay!” 

On lonely nights, even the hum of a refrigerator is company, the whirring of a fan is comforting, the tick-tock of a clock is reassuring. And, of course, the night sky is a loyal companion – I talk with the moon about you, and she tells me about the sun. 

I try to remember the last time we hugged, let alone made love. I can’t recollect. 

Something very toxic seems to have festered between us. How, when, why I have stopped scrambling for answers. Our descent into apathy is so deep-seated that I neither have the time nor inclination to make things right. The pulp has gone out of our relationship, and I know we’re both responsible for feeding it. 

Yet, our relationship is not without tender moments. I find consolation in that thought and wrap those moments around me like a warm blanket. Some of us are hoarders of such moments, even if those moments are ephemeral and transient, few and far between: Like just last night you lovingly stroked my head while I was grinding my teeth in sleep, and then, I stopped grinding my teeth. 

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Essay: Dante And Beatrice By Selina Sheth

Inspired by the NYT’s Modern Love series, Selina Sheth explores love through Dante & Beatrice in this personal essay.

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‘L’ámor che move il sole e l’ áltre stelle.’ 

Love which moves the sun and other stars. 

The appearance of Dante Alighieri’s famous verse on my Facebook private messenger is unusual, but what stuns me are the lines that follow.

‘Are you the same Selina I met on the beach in Milano Marittima? The summer of ‘86?  I hope so. If you are, then it’s me. Daniele.’ 

And just like that, it all comes rushing back.


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Making Marriage Work: A History of Marriage and Divorce in the Twentieth-Century United States

Simpi Srivastava reviews Kristin Celello’s Making Marriage Work (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2009) observing how it investigates the transformation of marriage as a social, urban, or religious obligation.

Author- Kristin Celello

Publisher and Date of Publication- Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2009

Dr. Kristin Celello in her book Making Marriage Work examines the mainstream culture with the help of sociological research on marriage from each decade of the twentieth century. Historian Kristin Celello has composed a convincing history of how the metaphor ‘marriage-as-work’ rose through the span of the twentieth century.

Dr. Celello is Associate Professor of History at Queens College, City University of New York. She earned her doctorate in History from the University of Virginia in 2004 and was a 2006 post-doctoral fellow at Emory University Center for Myth and Ritual in American Life. Other than being an author of Making Marriage Work, she also has co-edited a volume titled Domestic Tensions, National Anxieties: Global Perspectives on Marriage, Crisis, and Nation, Oxford University Press, 2016. Her current book project is After Divorce: Parents, Children, and the Making of the Modern American Family

In the book, Kristin Celello tracks how academics, popular media and marriage advisers helped develop a national discourse about marriage, putting the weight for ‘making marriage work’ extensively on the shoulders of women.

Scrutinize any magazine stand and one will undoubtedly notice a large number of articles prompting readers on the best way to solidify a marital relationship. Reality TV and talk shows additionally fortify the heteronormative models of a healthy marriage. In Making Marriage Work, historian Kristin Celello whose expertise includes history of marriage, divorce and counseling, offers a profound record of marriage and divorce in the United States in the twentieth century, concentrating on the idea of marriage as ‘work’, and uncovers how the notion that ‘work ethic should be applied to marriage’ turned out to be a major component of American’s collective consciousness.

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Book Excerpt: PIECE OF WAR BY MEHA DIXIT

An excerpt from Piece of War: Narratives of Resilience and Hope by Meha Dixit, published by SAGE Publications India. (2020, 292 pages, Paperback: Rs. 450 (ISBN: 978-93-5388-506-9), SAGE Select.)

Chapter 7: Resilience, Coping and Hope

Lebanon-Syria Border: 2019

It was a freezing day in the border town of Lebanon in the Bekka Valley, which was located just a few kilometers from the Syrian border. Imran, the taxi driver stopped the car near a settlement of Syrian refugees. Few men were standing in the dusty field outside the shelters covered with tarpaulin. Little children, mostly girls, possibly in the age group of 5 to 13 years, who were ambling across the ochre field speckled with stones, came running towards the vehicle. While some raised their hands to wave at me, radiating exuberant smiles, others chuckled playfully covering their faces with their palms. Some children began to speak in Arabic and chuckled again. “This is Anjar settlement of the Syrian refugees,” Imran pointed out. While I attempted to interact with the children in broken Arabic, Imran spoke to the men outside the shelters, who then asked me to come in.

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Short Story: Raindrops And Romance by Rati Pednekar

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The rain had been beating on the glass window for hours now, but that was normal for an evening in July. The white lights inside the office shone brightly against the gloom outside. The thunder that rumbled into the room did not disrupt the four people working there. Aniket’s fingers darted across the keyboard, his eyes narrowed in concentration. Vishal’s foot tapped against the floor as he navigated the numerous tabs on his screen. Javed’s movements were slow and precise, his hand resting under his chin as he considered the program in front of him. Indu kept flicking her hair out of her face as she read email after email. Research was done, articles submitted and light chatter exchanged across the small room in a seamless fashion. Then, at ten past six, the ten story building was plunged into darkness. 

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Essay: The Cowshed from the Archives By Sudha Subramanian

In this personal essay, Sudha Subramanian takes a walk down the memory lane, triggered by the death of a loved one.

Photo by Dominika Roseclay on Pexels.com

I never knew I had so many memories tucked in the deep recesses of my brain, because I didn’t know some of them existed.  The news that glowed on my screen probably triggered the whole volcano.  My over the top life that galloped in breakneck speed took a short pause – a moment that should have lasted a few seconds.  But that moment stretched out with unbelievable elasticity and forced many snippets of my life to the forefront.  They appeared in hazy frames at first.  I narrowed my brows in an attempt to focus.  When the fog around those frames cleared,  I felt like an old record player churning out scratchy music dusted with static.  Who knew, there were so many hidden under those layers! 

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