Sunday, February 04, 2018

The Act of Letting Go/ 2/ 16 years of my existence in Pune and I have these nine boxes to show for it — nearly 2,000 DVDs, some 50 books, reams of handwritten papers containing gibberish, 15 caps and some items of clothing. Enough to last a lifetime. As I carry them to Delhi, five years after shifting base, what saddens me is the fact that I have finally severed my connection to the City of Blessed. Now there is nothing for me return. I am forced a rebirth and it’s not pleasant.
The Act of Letting Go/ 1/ This Videocon Little Cooler. 13 years after receiving this used artefact as a gift, and five years after leaving Pune, I finally managed to give it away, to the great relief of my friend who was hording it for me all this while. Not that I was attached to it, or it had any intrinsic empirical value to me. For me, the cooler was the ideal of a future that could have been and which was now lost. This cooler was a memento mori of a time when I was in love, when I happy for one last time. I paid for it through tears and two broken teeth. One died and escaped and the other was condemned to reconstruct memories. 18 years is too long a time to mourn for someone, and after all these years, I have learnt that object cannot store memories. I am the memory of a future that could have been.

Friday, January 19, 2018

(Post 4 of 4)/ Folk wisdom dictates that publishers must promote their authors. But I have been exceptionally lucky to find authors who are not just friends but also arden supporters of this venture. We did this together, and now, Uttaran Das Gupta, writes about Red River in today's Business Standard. I am counting my blessings.
(Post 3 of 4)/ The third recognition came when a fellow poet insisted that he should do an interview with me and followed it through despite my misgivings, and it turned out to be really cool. More strength to Abhimanyu Kumar and Raiot.
(Post 2 of 4)/ The second recognition came from international publishing consultant Jaya Bhattacharji Rose, where, writing about ‘Poetry in India’ on 6 January 2018, she mentions i write imprint along with the bigwigs like Penguin, Aleph, Speaking Tiger, among others, mentioning Ramu Ramanathan, Uttaran Das Gupta, Sananta Tanty and Paresh Tiwari as the highlight. This is the best recommendation one could ever hope for.
(Post 1 of 4)/ 2018 begun well, if not personally, for this little venture called i write imprint (now renamed Red River) that I started in a whim. Now it has assumed a life of its own and I feel like a proud father teaching his firstborn how to take baby steps.

The first recognition came in 31 December 2017, when Sudeep Sen very generously included three of our books — Uttaran Das Gupta’s Visceral Metropolis, Paresh Tiwari’s Raindrops Chasing Raindrops and my translations of Sananta Tanty’s poems — in this massive and multifaceted list of 'Best Books of the Year' in The Asian Age. Sudeep-da has always been unduly kind to me, but to be a part of this list, among the best of the year, was something else, a privilege. It gives me the confidence; perhaps I am doing something right.
My haul of poetry books from 2017 (not much, arguably): Manohar Shetty’s ‘Full Disclosure’; CP Surendran’s ‘Available Light’; Jeet Thayil’s ‘Collected Poems’; Vayjayanti Subramanian’s ‘Silent Flute’; Kiriti Sengupta’s ‘Poem Continuous’ (trans); Anupama Raju’s ‘Nine’; Arundhati Subramaniam’s ‘When God is a Traveller’; Nabina Das & Semeen Ali’s ‘40 under 40’ (eds); Kala Ramesh’s ‘Naad-Anunaad’ (eds); Linda Ashok’s ‘Whorelight’; Goirick Brahmachari’s ‘Joining the Dots’; Athena Kashayap’s ‘Crossing Black Waters’; Jacinta Kerketta's ‘Angor’; Eunice De Souza’s ‘A Necklace of Skull’; Rohinton Mistry’s ‘The Sand Library of Timbaktu’; Rupi Kaur’s ‘The Sun and Her Flowers’; Kirit Sengupta’s ‘Dream of the Secret and the Ephemeral’; Charles Fishman and Smita Sahay’s ‘Veils, Haloes and Shackles’; Sudeep Sen’s ‘Fractals’; Medha Singh’s ‘Ecdysis’; Michael Creighton’s ‘New Delhi Love Songs’; Nitoo Das’s ‘Cyborg Proverb’; Hoshang Merchant’s ‘My Sunset Marriage’;

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Books to look forward to in 2018

Ask fanboys about their most anticipating read in the coming year, chances are they would say it’s George RR Martin’s long-promised next instalments to A Song of Fire and Ice saga, The Winds of Winter. With release dates perpetually being postponed, we have no idea if we will finally get to read the book this year (the same is the story with Vikram Seth’s A Suitable Girl, isn’t it? After the author returned his advances to Penguin Random House, Aleph had announced that it will publish the book. But no sign of it as yet!).

But we needn’t worry; we have enough books and some coming up in 2018 to keep us busy. Here are some highlights.


The world over, 2017 was the year of #metoo. So start 2018 with the memoirs of one of the heroes of the movement, Rose McGowan’s Brave, where the actress and activist chronicles her childhood in a cult and her complicated, painful experiences at the hands of the Hollywood machine.

Not That Bad

In this age of feminist resurgence, another not-to-be-missed book is Not That Bad: Dispatches from Rape Culture edited by Roxane Gay, where rising and established authors examining the realities of living in a society where men pose the greatest threat to a woman's safety and well-being.

The Flame
Leonard Cohen may be gone, but his flame of his memory lives on. Shortly before his passing in late 2016, Cohen sat down to assemble this collection of previously unpublished poems, called The Flame. Completed just days before his death, the book represents not just a portion of Cohen's voluminous life's work, but also a window into the mind of an exceptional artist.

Coming home, India is a country of young people. This generation lives between extremes: more connected and global than ever, but with narrow ideas of Indian identity; raised with the cultural values of their grandparents, but the life goals of American teenagers. Journalist Snigdha Poonam tracks these young fortune-seekers, aspiring Bollywood stars and clickbait gurus, the Cow Protection Army hoodlums and India's first female student union president, all united by the belief that they were born for bigger and better things, in Dreamers: How Young Indians are Changing the World

The Himalayan Arc
Edited by Namita Gokhale, The Himalayan Arc: East of South East focuses on a crucial, enthralling, politically turbulent, yet often underreported part of the Himalayan belt. With over thirty contributors such as Sanjoy Hazarika, Janice Pariat, Prajwal Parajuly, Thomas Bell, Ma Thida, Salil Tripathi, Catherine Anderson, and Indira Goswami, it attempts to describe the sense of shared lives and cultural connectivity between the denizens of this area. Poetry, fiction, and mysticism are juxtaposed with essays on strategy and diplomacy, espionage and the deep state, photographs, folk tales, and fables.

Zakir Hussain: A Life in Music
In conversation with Nasreen Munni Kabir, the book will take the reader through the life and times of Zakir Hussain, the early years of growing up in Mahim, his training from age four with his extraordinary father, and how his passion for music helped establish him as a world musician of our age, a huge music star, and for many young Indians today a revered role model.

Chapter One
Through her many avatars (the outspoken appearance on Bigg Boss; the caustic, intimate weekly columnist and, most famously, the founder of the hugely successful salon Mad-o-Wot), the irrepressible Sapna Bhavnani has assumed poster-child status as a powerful female figure. Chapter One is her story – the story of losing her father, surviving rape and domestic abuse, shattering stereotypes and emerging stronger than ever.

The McMahon Line

Sir Henry McMahon, a British colonial administrator, drew a line along the Himalayas at the Simla Convention of 1913-14, demarcating what would in later years become the effective boundary between China and India. The boundary, disputed by India’s northern neighbour, has had a profound effect on the relations between the two Asian giants. General JJ Singh – former Indian Army chief and the Governor of Arunachal Pradesh – brings his long years of experience to bear on Sino-Indian relations in The McMahon Line.