On the morning of my eighth birthday, my uncle took me to a new book store in one of the brighter parts of the city. Those were the days when retail bookstore chains were just opening up in the big cities of India, and housed two things – books and magazines. Today, they have expanded (read contracted) to include DVDs, exotic chocolates, fancy notebooks, playstation games, stuffed Winnie the Poohs, coffee mugs, and pencils that have been carved out of Serbian wood. Amazon, slyly, in recent days has been nudging the ‘Books’ tab downwards. I dread the day it falls down from the website all together.
“Five have plenty of fun,” said my uncle and handed over the first book, the first Blyton. I had doubts; the cover was bereft of any kind of action; it looked too sunny for my liking. Two rows down was a hardbound illustrated copy of ‘The Red Badge of Courage,’ with its American flag, hero in uniform, rifles and horses. Now here was a book that I believed was meant to satiate a nine year old who lived on a diet of action movies. Ten years have passed since, and I have stopped fixating over the ideal breakfast: bacon, hard-boiled eggs, ginger beer, cold ham, jars of potted meat, salad, plums and some homemade lemonade. (We are vegetarian)
As The Bombay Review enters the New Year, the literary world is abuzz with news of upcoming novels, upcoming magazines, upcoming debuts, and upcoming upcomings. Try as the commercial world may, literature is here to stay. “The real world is much smaller than the imaginary” said Nietzsche. From the epistolary to the Famous Fives, from the gothic to the Jeeves; I, and TBR find the richness of storytelling, not fractured by age-maturity distinctions. We hope to receive submissions that challenge the conventional, and forward the pre-existing.
In this issue, fiction pieces have been allowed the space they require to speak. We understand that each piece has a voice, and the voice alone knows how long it needs to speak to round itself off to a beautiful story.
Sagnik Datta’s piece “Meeting Pietr Demosthenes, his murder, and my subsequent investigation” takes the bloody harshness of death to a red worth blushing for, as he plays comically against the mundane notes of life while Ushnav Shroff’s “The Lone Branch” takes the reader through a young boy’s traumatized head space which looks for superheroes in humans and longs to belong. Vidyabhushan’s “Umpiring for the underdog”, stands for the old-school ease of settling a moral debate; a simplistic approach to religious discrimination.
Trusha’s “Babydoll” is an intricately worded piece that bares the protagonist’s need to come to terms with her own long suppressed femininity. Prosaic, and poetic at the same time, this is one woman’s quest for sanity while plummeting through narcissism, self-loathing and the need to confirm.
The beauty of a married life expressed in simple and short verse; the tango that has been practiced over and over again is what Abhimanyu’s “Scenes from a marriage” is all about. “An hour before sunrise”, brings the sublime air of the early morning, imagining the drama play out around while one is nestled comfortably in bed.
The Bombay Review welcomes Garima Pura as our new poetry editor. She is now excavating Harper Lee’s third novel from the trenches of all things imagined, or so she says. We thank all our readers for their support. Our first literary event in Pune, India was much enjoyed, and we loved the response we got! There are many more planned in the next few months. Stay tuned.