Tag Archives: Indian writer

Book Excerpt: Mohini by Anuja Chandramouli


A glimpse from Anuja Chandramouli’s Mohini – The Enchantress (Published by Rupa Publications India, 2020)

Prelude: A Hint of Hope Borne on a Dream 

The storytellers tended to go into raptures describing her sublime, flawless beauty, waxing eloquent about the perfection of her form and features, not to mention the heaviness of her bosom, supported as it was by an impossibly narrow waist. Captivating eyes with so much depth that most wanted nothing better than to plunge into those twin orbs, exploring the secrets within for the rest of time; lustrous tresses that cascaded in waves of silk, nearly caressing the earth over which she glided with effortless grace; luscious lips that mischievously promised endless delights and so on and so forth. 

Though they were mostly males who could not or did not want to look beyond the sumptuous perfection of her physical attributes, none of it was an exaggeration. For she was bewitching and her beauty had a power of its own, which could simply not be discounted. And yet, when it came right down to it, her beauty was almost beside the point. 

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Short Story: The Australian outback beckons by Angana Bharali Das

The tall handsome man got down from the Jaguar convertible. His sunburnt face and bleached blond hair was as sleek and shining as the surface of the car he was driving. He bent his head to open the door on the passenger side of his car. His companion, a tall brunette with a mass of curly black hair, did not appear to think that a figure-hugging Dior dress teamed with blood-red stilettos was an incongruous selection of attire for the Australian outback.

The Jaguar, a flashy yellow, infused some color into the bleak vistas of land, which stretched to the horizon in all directions. Andrea, who had been busy feeding the horses, wiped her dirty hands on her jeans, smoothed her hair and started to contemplate how to get inside the farm without being seen.

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New Releases from Asia – June 2020

Gone Away: An Indian Journal by Dom Moraes (with an introduction by Jerry Pinto)

Publisher: Speaking Tiger

Year of publication: 2020

Pages: 229

Price: INR 294 (E-book)

Book Blurb

One of the most unconventional travelogues ever written, Gone Away covers three months of Dom Moraes’ life spent in the subcontinent at the time of the Chinese incursions on the Tibetan border in 1959.  In that short time, a remarkable number of memorable things happened to him, some of them the sort of fantastic situations that could only enmesh a poet, perhaps only a young poet—a visit to a speak-easy in Bombay;  an interview with Nehru and an hour spent closeted with the Dalai Lama in Delhi; and a meeting with the great Nepalese poet, Devkota, whom he found already laid out to die by the side of the holy river Basumati. After a short stay in Calcutta, where he tried, with limited success, to investigate the lives of prostitutes, he went up to Sikkim, the north-eastern border state into which no visiting writer had been allowed for almost a year.

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Book Review: Rediscovering a master storyteller

By Karishma Attari

sudhinThe Indian English novel may have a vibrant presence in the international literary scene today, yet it’s worthwhile remembering that it had a late start; it developed to become a major literary form only by the 1930s. So Sudhin N. Ghose’s tetralogy of novels published within a six-year span commencing from 1949 places him among the earliest Indian writers of the genre — and one of the few writing in English.

However, while he was hailed as one of the greatest Indian English writers of his time, his fame has diminished over the decades, and his celebrated tetralogy is often dismissed as a set of “autobiographical sketches” rather a contribution to Indian fiction. Editors of collections of early Indian English writing, and literary essayists on the era, have overlooked him routinely. So, the reissue of Ghose’s classic tetralogy, after over half a century, is an attempt to reverse the neglect of an early pioneer of the Indian English novel. Read more

Source: Asian Age

Excerpts: The Sacred Sorrow of Sparrows by Siddharth Dasgupta

The Sacred Sorrow of Sparrows_05.12(1)IN SYMPHONIES WE FLOW

Life, in all its red-blooded bliss of ache, skin, soul, and sky is brief; wouldn’t you know…

And tonight, the night refuses to be anything but brutally young. Photographs keep washing on to the shore, and dreams keep playing truant with the light within your eyes.

As pupils blossom and in seeps the ocean’s silent sonata, you see an ancient wooden home by the waves, keeping time to the rebellious tides. You sense three stilled notes of pure, amazing grace. You uncover atonement in knowing that someone, somewhere is thinking of you at a café by the sea; wanting to be held in your arms, wanting your shoulder to rest her head on, wanting your lyrics to make up her song. That’s all there is. And you try and figure out the dots and the lines that lead to something resembling a picture; an image filtered through the rapidness of time, tide, man, and myth.

Were you destined to play the rebel to karma’s near-perfect script? Was it decreed that for this act, you be the joker of the pack; a Capricorn dissident wreaking disorder with the beautifully aged tarot cards? You cast such aspersions aside as you drink some wine and you smoke some moonlight and you try and keep innocence alive. It’s nothing. It’s everything. The ocean saves its best for last.

Beyond me, like an ancient sacred snake, winds the mighty Bosphorus. It is early morning now, and a soft layer of mist rises above the water. No life here in Istanbul is left untouched by the maiden’s majestic sweep. These are two different halves of the world, being unified by a cadence that sometimes flows in shades of pure blue, as it is doing now, or in billowing clouds of ink black, or, as when dusk is at its doorstep, in striking palettes of golden red, or, most thrillingly, as when the night is thick and filled with the moon’s romantic essence, in streaks of giddy silver.

I step on to Galata Bridge, taking the lower passage, and walk, keeping step with the shores as they flank different customs, different communities, different relationships, and even, as it feels at times, different eras. Beneath the onslaught, there are boats coming in with the day’s first catch and small ferries waiting to transport an anxious working-class horde to any of the city’s distant villages and tourist hotspots.

As the fishermen dock their precariously tiny vessels, one of them offers me a smoke. I accept gladly, and inhale the dark essence of dawn, nicotine, and rancidness. My senses are alive to every heartbeat. My ears are privy to every secret. Small makeshift cafés have already begun grilling the fish and handing them out in hastily wrapped paper.

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I have aged but not my perspective or writing: Padma Shri Keki N Daruwalla

He is one of India’s foremost poets and short story writers, a Padma Shri recipient and was awarded the Sahitya Akademi Award in 1984, which he returned in 2015. Even at the age of 80, the writer is all about smiles, saying that age has had no impact on his perspective or writing.

“I do not think growing old has had any lasting impact. I like to write about contemporary things and things that matter. I have aged but not my perspective or my writing. I am now 80 years old and I am just grateful that I can still come up with things, which are not only well liked and read but also equally relevant,” Keki N. Daruwalla told IANS in an interview.

And why not, if you look at his just-released book “Daniel Comes to Judgement” (Niyogi Books/Rs 395/214 pp). Vignettes from the vast repository of a wordsmith who can straddle myth and reality with ease, the 20 short stories breathe life into metaphors, coalesce fact with fancy and still sound fascinatingly credible. Read more

Source: The Indian Express

Book Review: For the Love of Pork by Goirick Brahmachari

By Neeti Singh

love-of-pork

For the Love of Pork, 2016, by Goirick Brahmachari comes through as a collection of brilliant and ambitious verse that is intensely contemporary, thickly layered and imagistic, and reads like beat poetry as it interrogates on one hand the presence and forms of borders in daily life; and celebrates on the other hand the excesses of modern living with its new-found freedoms that thrill in the flouting of social taboos. Brahmachari, who belongs to a younger line of Indian poets writing in English, draws profusely from his readings and understanding of literature, history, cultural theory, culture and politics. His writing explores the matrix of socio-political and existential issues, as it negotiates at the same time, the paradox of acceptance and irreverence in the lives of the middle class. In terms of poetic style and content, Brahmachari’s is a strong and impressive voice, equipped with both the conviction and the courage that a poet needs to explore new pathways in poetic craft, experience, and creative expression.

Goirick Brahmachari, who is an economics research consultant settled in Delhi, hails from Silchar, Assam. This fact is amply reflected in For the Love of Pork, his first book of poems, which is a collection of forty-five poems that map the poet’s years at home, the pain of borders in the hilly terrain of Assam, and that strange sense of being away from home – free, footloose and available to cosmopolitan lifestyle issues far away in dynamic Delhi. As happens with most cities, the Silchar of his growing up years has decayed and is reduced now, to –

Stinking gutters

of hypocrisy and mediocrity.

Broken roads, of hope once,

of disgust now, ignored

through years of slumber

and laziness, and an age

of rage-less youth.

Your universities

do not speak. (18)

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A writer on re-entering the captivating world of books

siddhartha-gigoo

Siddhartha Gigoo

 

Some years ago, I travelled from Paris to Rennes on a train. I was overcome with the tedium of having spent several idle hours at the Gare Montparnasse station, waiting for the train to arrive. The journey from New Delhi to Paris had made me weary. Later, as the train raced past the French countryside, I looked outside to kill time. Out of sheer anxiety, I started toying with my cigarette pack and yearned for the nourishment of cigarette smoke. To kill boredom, I took out a document I had prepared for my business meetings and tried to leaf through it. Its prosaicness made me sleepy. Mundane thoughts crisscrossed my mind.

Not knowing what to do, I gazed at the ceiling for some time and then surveyed the coach. Sitting close by was an obese man, barely comfortable in his seat. On his tray table lay a dozen books. The titles caught my interest and I looked wistfully at a book the man held in his hands. Among others, I spotted an Umberto Eco and a Jean-Paul Sartre. One book was on cinema and one on theology. Read more

Noted Indian writer and journalist Khushwant Singh dies at 99

khushwantsinghjiKitaab mourns the passing away of noted Indian writer and journalist Khushwant Singh.

He has died at 99, Indian media reported.

One of India’s best known raconteurs, Mr Singh was famous for his acid wit and liberal political views. His son Rahul Singh said he passed away peacefully at his home in Sujan Singh Park in Delhi. He will be cremated this afternoon. Read more

New India Fellowships

The New India Foundation invites applications for the fifth round of the New India Fellowships. Open only to Indian nationals, these Fellowships will be awarded for a period of one year, and will carry a stipend of Rs 70,000 a month. Fellowship holders shall be expected to write original books. Proposals should be oriented towards final publication, and outline a road map towards that destination. The Foundation is ecumenical as regards genre, theme, and ideology: the only requirement is that the proposed work contribute to the fuller understanding of independent India. Thus Fellowship holders may choose to write a memoir, or a work of reportage, or a thickly footnoted academic study. Their books could be oriented towards economics, or politics, or culture. They could be highly specific—an account of a single decade or a single region—or wide-ranging, such as a countrywide overview.

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