Kitaab has published Tabish Khair’s anthology, Quarantined Sonnets: Sex, Money and Shakespeare, in support of Singapore’s Migrant Workers

In this ebook, in powerfully original rewritings that combine humour and satire with acute social and political commentary, Tabish Khair uses William Shakespeare’s sonnets to paint a memorable and moving picture of the world in corona quarantine. This is arguably the first major work of literature to come out of the corona crisis. With iconoclastic humour and intelligence, it runs the readers through a gamut of emotions. It is also a clarion call for change. These 21 sonnets range from initial humorous riffs on the foibles of our age but grow progressively darker and more acerbic, while always playing with Shakespeare’s original works. A must-read for our times!

Profits from this e-book are being donated by the publisher and author to Migrant Workers Centre, Singapore, helping migrant workers to cope with the current economic crisis complicated by the Novel Coronavirus pandemic.

by Amrita De

Anita Ahluwalia, along with her husband, diamond merchant Aditya Ahluwalia was the co-founder of Magic Moments. When I walked into their Colaba office in South Mumbai a month back— about a hundred feet from the iconic Taj Mahal Palace, which had been in the news two years earlier in 2008 for being the epicentre of a deadly terrorist attack — I had the distinct feeling of having arrived somewhere important.

When I was walking alongside the seaside promenade that day, looking away from the lovers and their interlocked fingers, away from the balloon sellers and the haggling street children, away from the midday office goers by the tea stalls, I felt invisible and completely at peace. I remembered my father in the afternoon sun back in Kolkata, weaving grand tales about how, when he was in Bombay, he had met superstar Amitabh Bachchan, who’d promised to hear his script. Of course, that never happened, and my father had never written a complete script in his life. Yet here I was, hoping to read my own script to art-house directors, who I had heard, believed in the edgy rawness that came from unpolished manuscripts written by amateurs. 

The Best Asian Short Stories- 2017 : A collection of stories by Asia’s best known contemporary writers is now available as an e-book. As an introductory offer, you can grab a copy of this book from Amazon at 40% discount!

Published by Kitaab, conceptualized by series editor Zafar Anjum and edited by Monideepa Sahu, the Best Asian Short Stories is an anthology which offers fresh insights into the experience of being Asian.

Written by 70-year old Mr. Prakash Arke and recited by his actor daughter Rachita Arke, this poem is about where we humans have brought the world to. We took nature for granted and today we are back to basics. Today humans are nothing and nature has taken its due space back. Mr. Arke’s hobby is to write poetry and he has written many but he never published them anywhere. He shared this poem especially for this platform and we are very thankful to him for giving us this soulful prayer of a poem.

Vibrant and Dusty- A Book Review of Bhaunri: A Novel and Daura: Excerpts from the Confidential Report on the Collector of a district in Rajasthan by Pallavi Narayan

The covers of Bhaunri and Daura, with the silhouette of a tribal girl on the former and a tree with roots and flowering branches on the latter, are inviting. The earthy colours of claret and mustard on both bring to mind the rolling deserts of Rajasthan, which is where the narratives are based. Indeed, the descriptions of rural living are minute and bring the reader right into the homes of the characters in Bhaunri, and into the tehsildar’s bungalow in Daura. While the novels are not intertwined, they speak to each other, taking the reader through the timeless vistas of Rajasthan and then plunging into a roiling mass of emotions.

     Flashes of iridescent colour, the swish of lehengas, the sweat of day-to-day living, the thirst that the desert induces in the subconscious take due precedence in the rendering of the characters. The portrayal of the landscapes is bound into quiet, controlled prose. Mystical experiences are brought alive by a lone flute amongst the dunes swaying with camels in its sway; a smattering of kohl that transforms beckoning eyes into that of a jadugarni, a female magician. Seemingly everyday occurrences are granted significance in the wee hours between day and night. The fineness of the prose is undercut by the intensity that the female protagonists bring to the novels.

Taran N. Khan takes us through the lanes of Kabul, creating an elegant cartography of poets, museums, archaeologists and local book markets.


Written on the City

The road to Kabul is made of stories. A fragment of a memory leads me to the afternoon when I first read about the city, in a book I found on Baba’s shelves. The adults were deep in sleep; the house filled with the kind of stillness in which fables begin. The short story I perused was written by the legendary Bengali writer Rabindranath Tagore in 1892.

Today is Saadat Hasan Manto‘s birthday. Considered to be one of South Asia’s finest fiction writers, he is known for his candid and honest style of writing which was often considered provocative. There has been a lot of debate on his style of writing since time immemorial. While one may continue to argue on that but the fact still remains, that he is one of the greatest short story writers till date. Which leads us to the question: Why does Manto arouse antagonism amongst the intelligentsia?. Let’s try to decipher that.

Jeetu muses on the power of silences and the magic of words

Photo by Sheep . on Pexels.com

Why is it that something scrawled on paper works? 

Squiggly marks bravely carrying on the weight of meaning in their curlicues and curves, straights and serifs, wondering and pondering in conventional lines. After all, these are just crafted thoughts–skilfully or otherwise. But nothing so grand as to have us drool over them, be adoring slaves and frowning guardians, swatting away those who do not like them–that is, the barbarians.