Editorial – March-April 2017

Hello Dear Readers!

Summer is upon us here in India, and it is flavoured with transformations in our young lives. Against a backdrop of detrimental immigration policies, an economy recovering from demonetization, political strife within and outside our national boundaries, we dream- of swallowing the world whole in our journeys, lapping up beautiful words, art, music and culture wherever we find it and tasting the outcome of desirable upheavals which strategically throw us out of our comfort zones.

It is the time for short clothes, long drinks and trips to beaches and hills, and for some of us, the last taste of restrictions or freedoms before our lives spin on their axles and bear us to places we never ventured into, physically and metaphysically. It’s an exciting time to be alive if you critically analyze the world you inhabit and its insurmountable eccentricities, if you are a creator, because every figment of our lives today is characterized by breakneck speed, enthralling, adventurous and rapid. We love the pace, we live for the adrenalin, for the fiery debates, for the significance of what is taking place, yet sometimes smack in the middle of a tense, humid afternoon, the seed of a thought weasels itself into our consciousness. Perhaps, we so often forget the essence of the spirit we once possessed and now miss- which reoriented our intrapersonal communication, which enabled us to spend some time in leisure, with paperbacks and coffee, without technology and without pandemonium.

Last night, I decided to look for it again, the unnamable emotion which feels like the closest to home, over cups of molten hot chocolate, soul-nurturing music and an age old friendship. This childhood companion was telling me about the love of her life and how he has two aspects of his personality he never quite manages to balance. The gentleman in question is a poet much appreciated in informal circles and writes with a style I can only label unlikely imagery. His talent lies in perceiving the world in a manner few others perhaps can capture the essence of, less likely write about. Yet this gentleman inches towards being practical, making money, and pursuing a career which he does not love enough, but puts up with just enough to get through the days. That led me to question- why must we end our passions on that note?

Growing up, we found budding musicians, dancers, writers and artists all around us. They existed in every space we inhabited, our schools, neighbourhoods, support systems and our larger communities, and they brought the space to life, as imaginations ran wild, pens flew over sheets of paper and canvas, and sheer beauty came into existence. The same millennials, older, perhaps wiser, increasingly run from the humanities to the sciences, not because this generation is less interested in these fields of thought, but instead because art today is far more accessible than it ever was, and it is taken for granted that most forms of art should be that way now.

One would expect that to be a blessing, for accessibility removes barriers of inequality, enables greater education and awareness about the arts, and makes it available to the masses to witness, perform and engage with these lines of perception, but more often than not, as we at The Bombay Review have discovered over the years, that is not the case. We bring to you a magazine for free, which means that you will soon read beautiful pieces of literature and appreciate excellent illustrations, created and selected by individuals who do this out of love. Love cannot fill stomachs, and one of Mumbai’s most talented educators in the field of peace-building, Chintan Girish Modi, recently put this across over a Facebook post, urging that artists including him needed to be paid for their hours of toil:

“I felt the need to say this because I see too many of my ilk, if it can be called one, in their fifties and sixties struggling to keep their work financially sustainable. I do not want to be burnt out similarly, and I do not want any of my peers, students or generally people younger to me being shortchanged by folks who are well-paid but want others to stay hungry, stay foolish.”

As an institution, we put the value of accessibility of global literature above all our other values and interests, and so while our issues will continue to be available free of cost, we urge you to help us out in any and every manner you can, so we are not compelled to shut this initiative down, for after all, we are in our early 20s with dreams large enough that they would spill out of any novel we wrote to describe their intensity. Please donate to us.

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On the events front, the first half of 2017 will see our largest and most innovative projects so far come to fruition- the South Asia Project through this summer, and Bookmark Literary Festival, in August 2017. (details) For the latter, we are currently on the lookout for several prominent members in our workforce, so do write to us if you are based in Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata or Bangalore, and wish to be part of this movement.

As I complete a delightfully enriching year with The Bombay Review and now my first Editorial, I am glad to share with you, our dear readers, that nothing gives me more joy than receiving your submissions in our inbox, meeting you at our events, or hearing from you over email or social media. It is humbling to have witnessed for over a year now, the sheer power which gets unleashed when a group of likeminded young people come together to create something worthwhile, and touch lives in small yet significant ways.

In this issue we have a beautiful set of pieces for you to devour. Here is what Rochelle, Poetry Editor had to say about them –

“In this issue, as we move in 12 parts from the bustling iconography of Bombay to the stark steganography of Aleppo, we take pit stops to reflect on love, girlhood, mania, darkness, and landscapes of memory. 
The poets in this issue, unbeknownst to themselves, have contributed to a mosaic of imagery and allusion larger than what they intended to – curiously extending our signifiers of imagination. 
I shall leave my expository impulse aside, letting the poets and poems speak.”
Samia Mehraj talks about the fiction in the issue – Abhishek Kumar’s evocative imagery takes us back to strong scents and flavours of west in The Magical Jar.

In Fiona Mukherjee’s Grey Walls of Waiting it rains love and redemption on forgetful, amorphous years of young  lives.
Jason McDowell’s Wishful Thinking weaves different colours of peace and war into a single cloth of human condition.

Keep reading and submitting dear readers. You make our days brighter, and hopefully, on some mornings or nights, we do the same.

Thank you.

Mansi Goda,
Managing Editor
The Bombay Review