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CLRI CONTEMPORARY LITERARY REVIEW INDIA – journal that brings articulate writings for articulate readers. CLRI Print Edition ISSN 2250-3366

November 2012

Editor-in-Chief: Khurshid Alam

Rs. 20.00 / $1.00


November 2012

contents

1. KHURSHID ALAM ............................................................................................................................ 4 CLRI Annual 2013 Print Edition ....................................................................................................... 4 2. MAHIMA GIRI .................................................................................................................................. 7 Roots ................................................................................................................................................ 7 Time ................................................................................................................................................. 8 3. SCARLET MONAHAN ..................................................................................................................... 9 Spider 1 - Spiders can swim ............................................................................................................ 9 Spider 2 - Revenge .......................................................................................................................... 9 The while now hid .......................................................................................................................... 10 The soft search .............................................................................................................................. 11 4. SMITA ANAND SRIWASTAV ........................................................................................................ 12 Spring Lingers ................................................................................................................................ 12 5. YAMINI VIJENDRAN ..................................................................................................................... 14 Eternity ........................................................................................................................................... 14 6. REZA GHAHREMANZADEH ......................................................................................................... 16 Freeze a Moment ........................................................................................................................... 16 7. RAHUL CHATTERJEE .................................................................................................................. 17 The Death of a Star ........................................................................................................................ 17 8. VIHANG A. NAIK ............................................................................................................................ 19 Truth ............................................................................................................................................... 19 Desire ............................................................................................................................................. 19 9. PEARSE MURRAY ........................................................................................................................ 21 Gujarat Night Dancers.................................................................................................................... 21 Dis-assembled Desire .................................................................................................................... 22 10. ZINIA MITRA .................................................................................................................................. 24 Skies............................................................................................................................................... 24 11. BRINDHAMANI BBM ..................................................................................................................... 26 Humanism ...................................................................................................................................... 26 12. PSYCHE AS REPRESENTED BY DIFFERENT ARTISTS ........................................................... 27 13. TARA MENON ............................................................................................................................... 33 Pilaf ................................................................................................................................................ 33 Stalked ........................................................................................................................................... 33 14. MR. KERSIE KHAMBATTA ........................................................................................................... 35 Culture Shock ................................................................................................................................. 35 15. DASU KRISHNAMOORTY ............................................................................................................ 38 It’s Good to Watch TV .................................................................................................................... 38


November 2012

contents 16. TATJANA DEBELJACKI ................................................................................................................ 42 An Essay About Love ..................................................................................................................... 42 17. MAITREYEE B CHOWDHURY ...................................................................................................... 44 The Pursuit of Knowledge .............................................................................................................. 44 18. EL HABIB LOUAI ........................................................................................................................... 47 Love Relationships as Central Mechanisms for Narrating Colonial Contact and its Aftermath by El Habib Louai .................................................................................................................................... 47 19. REVIEW ON JOSEPH CONRAD’S HEART OF DARKNESS ....................................................... 60 Aakansha Singh Reviews Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness .................................................... 60 20. THE TRAGEDY OF FIDEL CASTRO BY JOÃO CERQUEIRA ..................................................... 62 Preview of the Novel The Tragedy of Fidel Castro ........................................................................ 62 21. HS CHANDALIA STROLLS WITH ANIL GEORGE ....................................................................... 71 Anil George treads the Red Carpet at Cannes and Says it is all ‘He’ who Did It........................... 71 22. BOOK RELEASES ......................................................................................................................... 74


November 2012

editorial

Digital medium is not simply a medium, it is a space to our life. All its shortcomings stand tiny before its advantages. It is the best alternative to saving paper, thus to saving plants and forests. It is the fastest means of communication, you can fly your documents and files across the globe in no time and at no costs. You can share your heart and mind to the world without coming under any hammer. – Khurshid Alam, Editor-in-Chief, Contemporary Literary Review India

www.quickheal.com

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November 2012

editorial

A Tribute to Sunil Gangopadhyay

(Sep 1934 – Oct 2012)

Sahaj (or Easy) by Sunil Gangopadhyay With ease I make a million flowers bloom, All at once I light up some suns, moons, stars, In a passing whim I blow out the moonlight (Remember that moonlight?) or the sunlight (remember that too?). Don't believe a thing my detractors say. They might say that I am a child or a fool, or a magician, — Ragged tents, broken drums, patches on his black coat, but look what a deadly dance he's dancing on the pupils of her eyes, onlookers aren't fooled, they laugh 2


November 2012

editorial but the girl will hear no reason oh how she ails from this dose of illusion; — Don't believe them. Hey you revilers, look, look with what ease I hold up the three worlds — on the little finger of my left hand. The darkness, the seas, hills all look on amazed, You, only you, have forgotten the language of surprise! Come on into my house, and see what a wondrous house I keep. The roof overhead — see, but no walls have I on the sides, (Bounded by walls all round, dreams and phlegm in your hearts, marking age on your fingers, drawing fancy pictures on walls, carefully you guys will live!) While look in my house breezes of all kinds like faithful retainers move around, brush away cobwebs, test colors on cornices, busy day and night. I sit in my wall-less room and paint on the girl's pupils, Much easier this than making pictures without. Go back, you revilers, you are foolish children, and you, Don't believe them when they call me magician. [Translated from Bengali poem 'Sahaj' by Nandini Gupta] Sunil Gangopadhyay] Source: http://www.poemhunter.com/

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November 2012

editorial 1.

KHURSHID ALAM

CLRI Annual 2013 Print Edition Contemporary Literary Review India (CLRI) is gearing up for its annual print issue (ISSN 22503366) by late January 2013 or early February 2013. Contemporary Literary Review India Annual 2013 Print Edition is special in many ways. CLRI will include the best original pieces from around the world and some of the best pieces published with online literary journals in India only.

Original Pieces in CLRI Annual 2013 CLRI invites submission for the annual issue in the categories such as poetry, stories, reviews, criticism and interviews with literary stalwarts. Please keep the following details in mind while submitting: CLRI Annual Issue (ISSN 2250-3366): Print Categories: Poetry, Stories, Reviews, Criticism, Interviews Submit to: writersdeskinfo@yahoo.co.in Subject Line: CLRI Annual Print Issue (without this subject line, your submission cannot qualify for the print version.) CLRI print issue has three deadlines to suite writers from all walks of life and professions. Early Bird Submission Deadline: 31 October, 2012. 10 November 2012 (deadline extended). Reading Fee: Rs. 250 for the entries from India, US$ 5.00 for all overseas entries. This deadline has passed. Late Submission Deadline: 30 November, 2012. Reading Fee: Rs. 500 for the entries from India, US$ 10.00 for all overseas entries Deadline Waiver: 31 December, 2012. Reading Fee: Rs. 750 for the entries from India, US$ 15.00 for all overseas entries Payment via Paypal: krd16_alam@yahoo.com HDFC Account Holder: Saba Parveen Payment via bank: HDFC Account: 0069-105-01-73106. Note: Our subscribers are exempted off the reading fee.

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November 2012

editorial To get waiver off the reading fee you can subscribe to our CLRI online edition for at least one year. Check the details at: Subscribe to CLRI.

Online Best Pieces CLRI is making efforts to include some of the best writings published with online literary journals in India only during January 1, 2012 through December 31, 2012. Writers, publishers, editors and representatives are requested to send their entries to the CLRI Annual 2013 print edition. CLRI Annual Issue (ISSN 2250-3366): Print Categories: Poetry, Stories, Criticism Submit to: writersdeskinfo@yahoo.co.in Subject Line: CLRI Annual Print Issue (without this subject line, your submission cannot qualify for the print version.) Deadline: December 31, 2012 (But please do not wait till the last deadline) Reading Fee: None

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November 2012

poems

At one time poetry was a large part of mainstream readership. The public seemed to lose interest with the advent of gaming and the Internet, and now the Internet can be the avenue of restoration of this important genre of entertainment and enlightenment. – Jack Huber, Poet & Author, http://www.jackhuber.com

Subscribe to Contemporary Literary Review India — journal that brings articulate writings for articulate readers.

CLRI is published online per month, in digital versions occasionally, and in print edition (planned to be quarterly), its print edition has ISSN 2250-3366. Subscribe to our CLRI online edition. Our subscribers receive CLRI digital copies directly into their Inbox, get print copies free of cost whenever they come out during the subscription period, and are waived off any reading fee towards our print editions. You can become our subscribers any time you prefer. To become a subscriber, visit: Subscriber to CLRI

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November 2012

poems 2.

MAHIMA GIRI

Roots Seeking and creeping through the cold dark depths of the soil, You breathe the air of long life And firmly embrace the earth. You befriend the earthworms As they wriggle around and Seldom unbolting the soil, For you to stretch and relax. You grow in several directions And stay together as a family, Offering a reliable support, For the tree to stand aloft. Your strength is unparalleled, For the nurture, the tree receives Reaching every branch every leaf Every flower and every fruit. A dedicated responsibility You share with the mother earth And the tree promising the fruits Of effort through the ages.

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poems Time TIME moment duration age spins into days and nights through heat and cold changing the world everyday “an irreversible marvel� Note: Accepted

Mahima Giri is an Electrical Engineer currently based in Oklahoma, USA. She has passion towards poetry particularly translating art into poetry. She is an active member at allpoetry.com and has contributed several poems in different forms.

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poems 3.

SCARLET MONAHAN

Spider 1 - Spiders can swim “For the love of God, don’t touch me I’ve just reached the top Christ!, You’ve broken a leg Don’t turn the tap on I cant swim, I’ll drown. You speciesist Sociopath” Spider 2 - Revenge Little Beth Muffet Sat at the table Dipping her bread in her yolk Down came the spider That sat down beside her Beth Muffet died of a stroke, Eventually. When they found her, three summer weeks later, she’d been dead a fortnight. The flies wept, for reasons of their own, but the seven legged spider… Just smiled.

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November 2012

poems The while now hid Silently the night will move From twilight through to day And costing nought but time of us At morning we must pay In darkness, things first seen in light Put forth a change of form Twisting in the shadows of The mind, from whence are torn And those may take advantage Of the blanket held above Who question not, the mood of wood More busy with their love The rain may come and give a sound Too lonely at the start Of hollow thought and memory Found hiding in the heart Quick closing eyes, protect us all Behind the falling lid Dark without, forgotten soon Till wake, the while now hid

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November 2012

poems The soft search Images move quickly through With distant rhyme or reason Surging passed the gates of mind In metaphoric legion Soon to reign and take upon The mantle of a friend The whisperings in solitude Baptismal thoughts to send Thoughts somehow caught up in time Made lonely, may come late And tell of innocence and hope That might communicate For all we know and all we show Religious to the page Hypnotic, like the childish dance Upon the wooden stage Soft search in light and thrice the night Canyon, edge and cliff To ask of self in puzzlement Of what and only if

Scarlet Monahan is an England based poet. These poems are from From One Moment to Another – A collection of more than fifty poems.

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November 2012

poems 4.

SMITA ANAND SRIWASTAV

Spring Lingers spring lingers in boudoir of cinnamon fall, in geometric contours of fall-denuded twigs, stealthily dappling leaves~ once a drab green, in rich shades from the palette of eventide, to pantomime as blossoms painted on the aisle of Vertumnus. it lurks in the scents of the potpourri breeze which tries to imitate zephyr, in the sturdy blooms of dahlia, chrysanthemums, hibiscuses, the syllables of the threnodies of colorful spring reverberate, it is just like the lingering yesterday in the vision of every today or morrow, the baby in every heart, the juvenile streak behind every wreathed wrinkle...

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poems Dr. Smita Anand Sriwastav is an MBBS doctor with the heart of a poetess. One of her poems, 'Unsaid Goodbyes' has been published in a book titled, 'Inspired by Tagore' published by British Council and Sampad. She has written poetry all her life and wishes to continue doing so forever.

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poems 5.

YAMINI VIJENDRAN

Eternity The news reader exclaims with glee, “The monsoons are here!� The cuckoo on my courtyard's Gulmohar, Echoes her joy with 'coo's. The clear patch of blue, Where the brilliant orb shone yesterday, Is a thing of past. Replaced today, By a muddy patchwork, Of Cumulonimbus's , Straight out of a cotton farm. While the sky sheds tears, Bemoaning the cloudy infestation, I muse. The clouds are same, The drops are same, And so is the breeze. Meeting up in the heavens every year, Before they come visiting, At my window sill. Only to be greeted by, A different story. A new movie each time. New characters, new plots, new settings, All new, save me. I am like the sands of Marina. Numerous footfalls, On my static grains. A light tread here, A heavy one there, Some fast and some slow, All, all over me, 14


November 2012

poems While I remain unchanged. No storm, no tide has ever Caused me to budge. The physical me totters, The mental me sways, But I, I remain unmoved. Absorbing the experience Of varying footfalls, As they come and go, While I remain. I was, I am, I will be, Here along with the clouds, The rain and the breeze. Living the ultimate truth, Watching the transients pass. The revelry of joy and pangs of despair, Are only for body and mind. As ice, liquid or vapour, Water still remains water, and so remain I.

Yamini Vijendran is a freelance writer who strongly believes in the idiom ‘home comes first'. Her values and beliefs get amply reflected in her writings, which mirror to the world the things she stands firmly by. Her writing is inspired by people and incidents around her and her impetus comes from her loving family.

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poems 6.

REZA GHAHREMANZADEH

Freeze a Moment If I could freeze a moment it would be when the swing reaches its highest point; that moment just before the descent. For it is in that moment that I feel I can pass the threshold and enter the world of birds and stars and glittering freedom.

Reza Ghahremanzadeh, twenty-two years old, currently lives in Northern Ireland, is an aspiring writer and poet.

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poems 7.

RAHUL CHATTERJEE

The Death of a Star The twinkling is often all that stars do. The river is never at peace with its flow. Street lamps flicker as the winds started to blow While drunk moths drank more out of the blue. The crumbling of wizened yellow leaves On the sere face of the one lying below... Waiting for life to make the suffering slow. A shy drop of lonely tear Hoping, under tremulous fear, To make the one lying near, Of anguish, his heart to clear. That heart, it knew not, had seen brighter days When the stars on laps of heavenly boughs Hung onto desires, that would not douse. The cheated heart: ‘Oh, anguished love, come not near’ The winds blew up more of the dry dust. The languid darkness seeped under the crust Of the star who lay under the dying tree trunk, With pale hopes to let go of And dreams which moth-ball smells haven’t sunk. The brightness which once dazzled creation Had eons go by with thoughts not thought. He dimmed now into a slumber that Did not remind him of the happiness he brought To everyone who looked up to him. But, tonight he was intent on being the sallow and dim. The one above had the one below. The tree could not shelter him from winds which blew 17


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poems As the moths, away from the remnant glow, flew, Which to mortality offered himself and suffered no more.

Rahul Chatterjee is a poet who has rhythmic inclinations and loves nature. He prefers a style which reminds his readers of a flow with the natural phenomena which he uses to reflect human sentiments.

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poems 8.

VIHANG A. NAIK

Truth Truth is a mirror he has lost in the dark beyond the edge. He has come at the age where he cannot afford to look at himself. Desire the octopus of desire stirs arteries and veins tears flesh apart feeding upon fire swallowing air

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November 2012

poems

Vihang A. Naik, born in Surat, Gujarat, is a widely published and anthologized poet and has won many awards. His poems have appeared in many literary journals including Indian Literature: A Sahitya Akademi, Kavya Bharati, POESIS: A Journal of Poetry Circle (Mumbai), The Journal of The Poetry Society (India), The Journal of Indian Writing In English, The Journal of Literature and Aesthetics, The Brown Critique, The Poetry Chain among other significant journals. His anthologies include Poetry Manifesto (New & Selected Poems) IndiaLog Publications Pvt Ltd ( New Delhi , 2010), Making A Poem (Allied Publishers’, Mumbai, 2004), City Times and Other Poems (1993), and his Gujarati collection of poems include Jeevangeet (Navbharat Sahitya Mandir, Ahmedabad, 2001) dedicated to the cause of victims of Gujarat Earthquake 26th January , 2001. He also translates poetry in Gujarati into English including his own and teaches English at Shree Ambaji Arts College, North Gujarat, India.

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November 2012

poems 9.

PEARSE MURRAY

Gujarat Night Dancers On that side of earth all four of them dance in their light, wing and petal: Day star, silver wheeler fretful shadow-maker binding-blinder Pale light, slivering etcher reflector, bouncer craggy surfaced spherer Flutterer, pollinator terpsichorean timer, spiraler, ephemeral helical wonder Moonlight seductress, as Phryne, Cestrum Nocturnum as the Queen moth lover, nose arouser We watch these blossomed dancers eye-smell in nightshade lustrations drawing out infinity’s brief perforations in all contrapuntal awe sun, moon, moth, flower And they do as earth does— enchant us

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poems Dis-assembled Desire …desire is born of defective knowledge... — Thomas Mann My right eye to watch Vermeer paint The Kitchen Maid To see that source of light, not the reflected one My ears to hear a child’s laughing voice To appreciate getting the joke-affirmation life My right palm to touch the face of Lady With an Ermine So to make me feel connected to the past My nose to a wet chamomile lawn at Sissnghurst So as to relive that soft history of smug peace, only in England My taste buds to Andechs beer and Bavarian bread To identify with a monastery’s paradoxical judgments My left palm to stroke the cheek of the real Mona Lisa So I can understand the source of her smile My fingers to play Beethoven’s Tempest To go further into the joys of his kind of madness My left eye to watch Giacometti sculpt To train me to do the same in my next life My lungs to sing Ode to Joy It is the only natural instrument I know My arse to sit on a stepped well in Gujarat These mysterious structures are best understood by sitting My arms to hold the Messiah Stradivari So as to sense the forest of strings My lips to kiss my first kiss again, and again So as to defeat the ephemeral moment 22


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poems My thighs to wrap around…, the list is long Desire on this has to remain private My knees to beseech for an earthly peace I have no other way to echo Gandhi’s yearning My legs to dance with Lubovitch to Brahms Piano Quintet So I can return into a more tumbling role! My feet to a warm wave splash on a Seychelles shore— I suppose to have some memory of the Amion Sea My hair to the wind on Rosses Point below Ben Bulben Because it is wild Yeats country and I know it My mind with the questions of Galileo, Darwin, Einstein All subsequent questions come by their breakthroughs My heart to the blood-pulse of love forever It is obvious… My soul to remain in this blest, blue-bliss globe, eternally For it is all I know…

Pearse Murray, a native of Dublin, Ireland, lives in upstate, New York. He has had several poems published in a variety of anthologies, Voices Israel, Child Of My Child, Tree Magic, Poems for Peace, and with many online and print magazines such as Poetica, Cyclamens & Swords, Blue Collar Review, Revival Literary Journal, The SnailMail Review and forthcoming in Poetry Salzburg Review. He was recently one of the award winners in the short story series The Lonely Voice sponsored by the Irish Writers Centre.

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November 2012

poems 10.

ZINIA MITRA

Skies The years have been terrible you said with all our faded curtains ruffled by the wind only boiled rice, potato salt and chilly. I thought you would write me a poem on the nameless flowers that bloomed and died on the roads I have never walked as you gazed at your piece of sky. You calculated debts they grew like beards you said chose cheaper brand of cigarettes and threw up smoke making hazy your piece of sky. I grew flowers in my garden they bloomed a lot of yellow and red fed the sparrows with grains. How little it takes to feed them. We must grow you said like our neighbours but when they walk have you noticed they look so small under the swaying trees. I planted a tree in my courtyard someday it will grow to tell you 24


November 2012

poems we are all so small, we can only have a small piece of the sky each. You had yours and I had mine pieces of skies that had no suns I floated mine in the lake the other day today I shall ask you to do the same.

Zinia Mitra is presently the Head of the Department of English at Nakshalbari College, Darjeeling. She has done her PhD on Jayanta Mahapatra and is a critic, reviewer and translator. Her poems, travelogues, articles, reviews have appeared in The Statesman, the Sahitya Akademi. Kavya Bharati, and Muse India among others. Her forthcoming books include Indian Poetry in English Critical Essays (Prentice Hall), and Poetry of Jayanta Mahapatra: Imagery and Experiential Identity (Authorspress). Her online articles include A Science Fiction in a Gothic Scaffold: a reading of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein (Rupkatha Journal), Through a Different Window: I Can But Why Should I Go, (Muse India), Master of Science and Non-Sense (Parabaas).

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November 2012

poems 11.

BRINDHAMANI BBM

Humanism Rustling leaves chanting symphony, Whistling mind’s unheard melancholy; Sharp scorching sun burning ablaze, Parching lips with unquenched Thirst: Decisive Feel of being in the desert, Determinant though among people adequate! Dutiful Dove plucked of all the feathers and crushed, Dexterous immaculate lamb unheeded and crucified! Father cruelly murdered by the son, Mother brutally killed like a hen, Brethren looting their own kiths and kins Relatives kidnapping the young ones! This perhaps isn’t the world The LORD wished to see; This definitely isn’t the place The ALMIGHTY desired to be! Killing people for money Has become the way of life honey, We can bring a change many, If at all we live with humanism and love leftover any!

M. Brindhamani is an Assistant Professor, Dhanalakshmi Srinivasan College of Education, Perambalur Tamilnadu, India.

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November 2012

arts 12.

PSYCHE AS REPRESENTED BY DIFFERENT ARTISTS

Sleeping Psyche, by Michelangelo Palloni, (c. 1688).

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November 2012

arts

Psyche Revived by Cupid's Kiss, by Antonio Canova,1793.

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November 2012

arts

L'Amour et Psyché, by François-Édouard Picot, 1819.

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November 2012

arts

Psyché aux enfers, by Eugène Ernest Hillemacher, 1865.

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November 2012

arts

Psyche, by William Adolphe Bouguereau, 1892.

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November 2012

stories

Flash fiction is fiction with its teeth bared and its claws extended, lithe and muscular with no extra fat. It pounces in the first paragraph, and if those claws aren’t embedded in the reader by the start of the second, the story began a paragraph too soon. There is no margin for error. Every word must be essential, and if it isn’t essential, it must be eliminated. – Kathy Kachelries, Founding Member, 365 tomorrows

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November 2012

stories 13.

TARA MENON

Pilaf Mary liked everything about her new house in Boston. She hadn’t cooked anything in her kitchen yet because she liked the pristine look of the room and didn’t want to spoil it. However, it was tempting to make something when her surroundings were so clean. She decided to cook pilaf. She’d seen Madhur Jaffrey, the cookbook author, make it on TV. Soon the kitchen was filled with a delicious aroma. Mary took a tablespoon of pilaf and closed her eyes, ready to be immersed in the sensual pleasure of spicy rice. Instead she swallowed the food as if it were castor oil! Mary was startled when the doorbell rang. She wiped her hands on the apron and raced to the front door. An Indian woman stood near the front door with a Wilson Farm bag. She beamed when she saw Mary and took out two square corning dishes from the bag. “Hi. I’m Neelima and I wanted to welcome you to our neighborhood. This is for you.” That night when Mary served her husband pilaf and raita, cucumber yogurt, he complimented her on her cooking. She savored the praise as long as she could. Then for prudence’s sake, in case he talked to Mary, she said it was from their neighbor. He didn’t believe her as he looked beyond her to the oven which had a few sticky grains of pilaf clinging to the surface. He even confessed to an affair, his fourth, and promised his wife that she deserved better. They got divorced seven years later. By then Mary had learned Indian cooking from her neighbor and she worked as a chef in an Indian restaurant. Her customers always came back for her pilaf. As Neelima, her current best friend said, “When God closes one door, He opens another.” Stalked Ellen didn’t know it, but she was being followed. The man who was behind her wore sunglasses and carried a briefcase. He wondered when she would notice him and how he would do it. At that very moment she glimpsed him in the window pane. He looks like a terrorist, she thought. Five blocks later, she noticed him again in a reflection off a bookstore. She tried to shake him off, but he bridged the distance. What can he do to me here in a big crowd? she thought. She tried to think about her upcoming trip to India. His shadow began merging with her shadow. Ellen whipped around. The man looked at his briefcase. Ellen was sure there was a gun inside. His hand went into his pocket. Ellen wanted to scream, but words wouldn’t come out. To think she was about to die before she saw the Taj Mahal! His manicured fingers handed her a business card. “Have you ever considered a job as a model?” he asked. 33


November 2012

stories

Tara Menon is a freelance writer based in Lexington, Massachusetts. Her poems have been published in Yellow as Turmeric, Fragrant as Cloves, Tales of the Supernatural, the view from here, and 10x3 plus poetry. She also has poems forthcoming in Azizah Magazine, aaduna, Cartys Poetry Journal, and Damazine. Her fiction has been published in the following journals and anthologies: Catamaran, The APA Journal, Elf: Eclectic Literary Forum, Many Mountains Moving, India Currents, The South Carolina Review, Living in America, A Thousand Worlds, and Mother of the Groom. She is also a book reviewer.

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November 2012

stories 14.

MR. KERSIE KHAMBATTA

Culture Shock “When I eight, …my ma, …she shake us up at sunrise…in Chechnia…out in sleeping suit……put snow over us…minus forty…change to uniform…walk to school fourteen kilometers…fourteen kilometers….” “But pa” complained Dora “This is not Chechnia, this is New Zealand. All we ask is that you don’t wake us at sunrise. School is just ten minutes away”. “How you be strong,…how you be healthy? You spoilt” muttered Pa. Dora, Augusta and I are sisters. We were born in New Zealand. Our parents escaped to France from a concentration camp in Chechnia decades ago. Pa wore the scars. Ma was quiet, withdrawn. Pa didn’t go out much. Neither did Ma. They were never comfortable in English. We sisters had a lot of friends. Dora was the eldest, next Augusta and then I. There was about two years gap between each of us. Dora started dating. Henry particularly liked her. Pa couldn’t accept the idea of her going out to dance parties, clubs, bars and coming home in the wee hours of the morning with strangers. He revolted. He blew up. You could all but see the steam whistling out of his ears. But he loved us. And we loved him. We loved Ma too, and she adored us. Ma went with what Pa said. That was the way it always was in the culture. There was tension in the house every weekend. Dora is stubborn. So was Pa. Yet there had to be a compromise. Dora could go with Henry, provided Augusta and I went along. Pa didn’t much like this arrangement, but he liked her going out only with Henry much less. So Augusta and I went too. I was at the acceptable age for the places we went to, provided I showed I.D. I always carried that in my purse. But I didn’t like the way the bouncers and barmen looked me up and down and then at the I.D. I even now clearly recollect the night we were at the Stranger Bar on Merry Road in town. A friend of Pa saw us and Henry. He shuffled rapidly up to us with a deep frown on his weatherbeaten face, and snorted like a war-horse:- “What you doing? Why you not home? Who this is” pointing solidly to Henry. “In my country …you be slit…” and ran his chubby fingers across his throat. We gulped down our drinks, paid the bill and slipped out. Henry’s face was chalk-white.

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stories He said later that he couldn’t forget that ghastly creature with smoke trickling out of his throat. (Pa explained to us that that man had cancer, and had had an operation on his gullet, and so when he smoked, the smoke came out of his throat). He looked like a dragon! Then came the fateful day Henry announced to Pa that Dora and he were getting married. Dora had been fretting, worrying, dreading the moment. When it came, Pa just chocked. He went into shock. His eldest daughter marrying outside the community! At night, after Henry had left, he shouted angrily: “He tell me! He not ask me! He tell me!…He…He…” Henry’s parents invited themselves to our house to discuss wedding plans. Pa walked and talked like a zombie. We are Catholics. They are not. The wedding day arrived. Augusta and I were brides- maids. The whole community attended, with solemn faces. While we went up the altar, two tough characters walked behind us…in reverse…facing the other way! Pa said that was the way it was in the place where he grew up, and it should be the same here. The toughies were there to protect the bride and bridegroom from the mafia! Months later the stork came flapping in with a crying bundle. Pa had a peek inside. His old eyes became moist. He nearly stumbled as he groped for a chair. “What it be?” he stammered “Boy? Girl?” We knew what his feelings would be if it had been a girl. But it wasn’t! It was a boy. Tears of joy rolled down Pa and Ma’s faces. Hendrik grew up fast. His parents and he lived miles away. Dora came with Hendrik to visit us once a month. Henry never did. He always felt rejected. Pa never went there, so they didn’t see each other at all. We tried desperately to bring them together, but to no avail. Neither relented. Ma suddenly collapsed in the kitchen and we rushed her to hospital. Pa was devastated! So were we. She didn’t live long. The earlier hard life took its toll. She passed away in Pa’s arms. Pa aged rapidly thereafter. Since Dora and Henry were working, they decided to leave Hendrik with us during the week. He went to a school near our house. Pa and Hendrik bonded like grandfather and only grandson can. But Hendrik was not quite happy. He sensed that his dad and grandpa were not on talking terms. We heard long whispered conversations between Hendrik and Pa but couldn’t catch the words. 36


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stories I remember the day. Not many moons before Pa went to the happy hunting grounds. It was a beautiful sunny day. Pa dressed like he was going to church. Dora waiting in the car with the back door open and inviting. Pa walked slowly up holding Hendrik’s hand. Hendrik winked at me. He was smiling broadly. “Grandpa’s coming to our house” he said. “Dad’s waiting!”

Kersie Khambatta, Auckland, New Zealand writes poetry and stories.

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stories 15.

DASU KRISHNAMOORTY

It’s Good to Watch TV We’d prevailed upon the builder, a short, stumpy man who sold us our first flat, to erect for us in the living room of the second flat we were buying from him a long glass shelf along its northern wall, rising three feet from the floor. Unable to stand our nagging he built it. We high-fived our little victory. You’ll agree, life after all, is a collection of small and big victories and defeats. We filled the glass and masonry shelf with books we’d brought from Delhi as part of our intellectual narcissism. Some of the books were borrowed. For ever. We argued one entire day hurting our vocal chords whether the books should be lined up in an alphabetical order of their titles or according to the size of their spine. We did neither. We just let the books fall into an order of their choice. The marble top of the shelf became for us a long and low mantelpiece on which we showed off some nonliterary cargo: two toy horses made of leather by Rajasthani craftsmen and gifted to us by a neighbor. We didn’t check with him about the breed of the stud remembering the old advice about not looking into the mouth of a gift horse. Both are saddled and ready to ride. They have uniform coffee complexion. If God were a human, as his devotees believe, he would invest these chargers with life and ride away. On the marble tarmac we parked a red Albion double-decker toy bus such as the ones we’d seen on the roads of Hyderabad on our first visit — the first elevated runway for any bus in the country. On top of a library. I look at it fondly remembering how as children we would run up the spiral stairway at the entrance of the bus, sit on the upper deck and look down on the tops of foreign cars and sun-scorched scalps of the pedestrians. Great fun it was to ride from Charminar to Ranigunj. Not anymore. Some urban arts dork took them off the roads. They later surfaced at the Central Park in New York. A replica of a derailed steam locomotive I’d played with as a child also claimed space on the top without its steam and steel mass. Tokens of middleclassness, you might say. We also kept a few porcelain figurines of European men and women my father had brought from Dresden for my sister long, long ago, beyond the reach of memory. My childless sister gave them to me because I’d a daughter. At the wall-end of the shelf my wife sat our new BPL color television in a diagonal position. When it is switched off you can see the kitchen counter appear on its screen. It would show the gas stove readily, and the Corelle crockery if you strain your eyes. The short stump walked in one day and said the placement of the TV violated the laws of the Hindu Vastu Sastra. We laughed behind his back. We watched TV very little in the morning when the rush of daily chores ruled out such indulgence. When we bought our first black and white Crown TV in Delhi, we could get only Doordarshan, the media-maligned state television outfit, for a couple of hours in the morning and four hours in the evening without advertisements. The transmission would close with Salma 38


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stories Sultan or Protima Puri reading out the Hindi news from a teleprompter and ending the bulletin with a smile that needed some effort to eject. Teleprompter was a novelty at that time. We acquired a color TV when we shifted to Hyderabad and continued to consume Doordarshan’s Spartan fare. Thank God, the Gulf War came for no fault of ours, a couple of years after our arrival in Hyderabad, after a long exile in Delhi. The TV showed images of the war and the skies lit up with color and Patriot missiles. It reminded us of July 4 pyrotechnics in New York across the Hudson where our daughter lived. Soon the number of channels multiplied and we’d to change for a BPL set with a magic wand that changed channels as if it had read our minds. That set, the gift of the Gulf war, is the protagonist of today’s story. For a few months after we bought the new TV, we marveled at the magic of the remote to shuffle channels at will. We could never enjoy the programs unless the remote was in our hands. We first saw a remote in Ek Baar Phir flick featuring Deepti Naval filmed in London. We were amazed at what technology could achieve. Taking over our minds. Though my wife and I were united in amazement we couldn’t stop the remote from becoming a menace to domestic peace like Siachen between Pakistan and India. Each would part with it to the other with an air of martyrdom and unconcealed disgust. At the time of this story there were at least fifty channels and I would go on hopping from one channel to another until my wife snatched the remote from me and delivered a lecture on mature adult behavior. If you wanted you could see at least a dozen movies in a day winding yourself around the sleek TV cabinet. Then there was this Fashion channel for lovers of wardrobe malfunction. Models reveled in textile minimalism. Remember Janet Jackson. This channel choice aplenty called for mechanics of mutual agreement and understanding that, like Indo-Pak détente, we didn’t have in plenty. So we were both happy and unhappy with the TV. Life is a mixed bag. We also agreed that however much we loved each other TV and love were two different things. The TV held us together for most part of the day in a state of conjugal tension, alternating between bickering and bonding. Short of writing it down we came to an understanding that my role was to simply stand and stare when serials of my wife’s choice are aired. This understanding marked our watching a film that evening when the defining event of the story began closing in on us stealthily like blood pressure. The movie was The Burning Train featuring a crowd of heroes and heroines. Dharmendra and Hema Malini were my wife’s favorites even after they had married and had children. My favorite Madhubala had died long ago. ‘What kind of dress is that Dharmendra wearing,’ I comment unwarily, forgetting our understanding, and raise my wife’s hackles. Prickly girl. ‘Why don’t you watch the film? Commenting on everything as if you are very perfect,’ she shouts at me without taking her eyes off the awkwardly gallivanting Punjabi guy thumping the screen. It is the ageing hero that made me open my mouth, my wife doesn’t realize. With my right hand I seal my mouth and turn towards her to show I’ve carried out her writ. She is amused 39


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stories and endows me with a wifely smile making sure the romping hero is not watching us. The smile was not meant for him. Poor girl, my wife, she never gets angry with me except when she is angry. The gangly Amitabh Bachchan appears on the screen with his ungainly steps and a body that appears to have emerged from a medieval rack. ‘I can’t stand this guy. He should stop acting,’ I mumble to myself. Much against my calculations, the mumble reaches, traveling on what vicious wind I don’t know, the ears of my wife. I brace for another show of anger. ‘My god, can’t you sit quiet till the movie is over? Leave me alone for a while,’ she raises her voice. I evaporate. Making sure there has been a change in conjugal weather I come back when the scenes of the burning and speeding train were lighting up the living room. We are now friends again and watch together the blaze with interest and anxiety. The train is speeding into a dark uncertainty with half of its cars ablaze. At that point I see in the right corner of the BPL set flames that looked like a chain of orange pyramidal mountains. They were distinct in a three-dimensional way from the indolent fires of the Burning Train. Then I find a part of the kitchen come alive over the TV screen. I sense imminent danger. Come, I frantically call my wife and dart into the kitchen. One of the two burners of the stove we had switched off before sitting before the TV is burning. In the fraction of a second I detect that the fire had spread without the assistance of wind or an accomplice to the stove’s tube connecting it to the gas cylinder. With a terror-stricken face my wife reaches for the water canister in the kitchen alcove and empties it on the blazing burner. Riding on the tube, the flames now reached kissing distance off the mouth of the cylinder. I really didn’t know how it occurred to me to turn off the valve of the cylinder. When I did that the fire died down at once as if responding to a command of the gods. Another second or two, my wife and I would have become smithereens and a memory. End of tomorrow for us. We stumble back from the kitchen into the living room, each able to hear the drumming of the other’s heart. The TV is still coping with the fires of the smoldering train. It has stopped at a station where fire tenders summoned to go into instant action. The burning cars are detached from the train. The platform is full of water. Relatives of the passengers, gathered after learning of the fire, rush towards the cars. There is a lot of hugging in relief among the parents, children and friends of the passengers and tears of joy. And a huge crowd of unconnected onlookers and TV crews pushing through the throng to interview the survivors. My mind is too clogged to imagine the sort of obit that would have appeared the next day if we hadn’t escaped certain death. We needed some one’s shoulder immediately. So we call our friend Surendra and his wife and ask them to come up at once. They come up three flights from their second floor flat suspecting from the tremor in our voice that something out of the ordinary had happened. 40


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stories ‘What happened,’ Surendra asks me. I’m still dazed and incoherent in my speech. My wife sits in the sofa not recognizing their arrival. She is crying. Sailaja posits herself next to my wife gently patting her on the back to take the fright out of her. Surendra asks Sailaja to go down, make and get some tea. They coax us to drink tea. After tea, we become who we were before the mishap. ‘What happened,’ Surendra repeats his unanswered question. ‘Don’t ask me,’ I tell him, meaning it too scary to be narrated. My wife tells them the whole story in unconnected bits and pieces. ‘You’ve done a foolish thing. You should have come down immediately and let the cylinder explode and do its damage. You’ve risked your lives. It’s a miracle that both of you are alive and telling us the story,’ Surendra nearly chides us. The four of us go into the kitchen. Surendra inspects the innocent-looking wet tube. It showed no wear and tear. The floor became wet with the water my wife had emptied. And some water fell on the food receptacles we’d kept ready on the kitchen counter for our dinner. ‘We will buy a new stove,’ my wife tells the couple. ‘Let’s go now and buy it,’ says Surendra. We got to one of Abid Road shops. Surendra examines several stoves before approving one. We come home and thank Surendra and Sailaja for reviving us. It’s now three hours after our brush with death. It would be 8.30 in the morning in the US where my daughter and family live. We call her and tell her the story. She yells at us both and repeats her advice for tens of times to come away and stay with them. ‘You would have made me an orphan,’ she cries. That night we couldn’t sleep well thinking about what would’ve happened to us if we had not been watching TV. We learnt a lesson: always watch TV. Hints: Doordarshan is India’s state TV company.

Dasu Krishnamoorty is a retired journalist and journalism professor from India. He now lives in the US as a US citizen. India mainly was the subject of his writing that appeared in print, radio and net media. At 86, he began writing short stories and this story is his first one.

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essays 16.

TATJANA DEBELJACKI

An Essay About Love As if I am invited to do something great that could last. As if with your love I am willing to cope with myself, my weaknesses, my fears and my immobility. Let me tell you that the shadows that haunted me this evening have your face, both those living and those dead, and those that have brought me the pain, and those that have brought me the joy. Shadows of some of my lives I recognize, but I’m craving for them the same I’m craving for your love, your touch, your being. I love you; it means to look for the meaning, to be prepared and open. I love you, it means to live truth and tremble at the thought of you. Thank you for everything no matter how long it lasted. My love, the poor are those who have never loved! I do not want to teach you but to love you; it is the higher level of knowledge. If you believe in yourself, as a consequence you will have the agility, defying any storm. So love and life will be the one. I love you, I really love you. Thus my life gets its meaning. My fate gets new forms designed by you. Because of your love, these forms are of priceless value. Could I expect more? Currently only my love has a purpose, it is the only thing adding the value to this writing, only that deep sense of belonging to you makes a sense, which, though coming out of me slowly, is leaving me helpless and squashed no matter how much I wanted to kiss you, and yet again to make love on the hot sand… Oh desire, you exist in vain! Why, for goodness sake, we could have gone to that secret trip together. What a pity, because my love for you is nothing. I do not know what I am saying, I am trying to explain, describe my present situation. How could I describe you this condition, this hangover of the soul, this instinct and that anxiety, that wandering, that humiliation. How I hate you sometimes, I can’t get rid of you, can’t separate, can’t wish for another man and yet your face only makes sense to me. Sometimes I dream, I survive through the dreams of those days when you presumably loved me. It is not hard to be a slave to the one you love. I’m not going to ask why this is so obvious. Only to increase my pain, I sometimes think that it is just one moment in time, the time between two strokes. As a 42


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essays moment in which consciousness pressures my being and squeezes it, pulling out the essence which is called love. Sometimes I am boring even to myself. Love and then again love. Sometimes I wonder where love comes from, where strength and weakness at the same time stem from. Where do shapes of your face that haunt me from hour to hour come from? Why are you so persistently in me, why can’t I detach you from the main core of my life? How, why, it is not enough just to say I love you. I’m scared of you, I want you and I fear from you, I hate you and kill you every day, as you are my fear and my fever and my non-having, my limitations and my bluntness and all of my stupidity. And all of my work and you are the truth, and that spiritual solitude through which the words pass as miraculous as journeys. When I say I love you I think about what that word does all that you have lived, all that you live and you will be living. Oh how much the pleasure of caressing and tenderness could be missed.... Loving you during periods of numerous lives means to beat the death, means hope and meaning of life, paths towards you…Maybe the current love in this life is the way to learn to suffer. This world is sometimes cruel, sometimes I am unable to understand, sometimes I accept it, and I do not like anything I know. I have a feeling that you’ll be gone, that you’ll be pulled away from me by the streams of life. What is the point of searching for oneself if we had got lost before we could find ourselves? There are no shortcuts on the roads of life. It is the clear light of knowledge. I can. I am leaving you. I am saving you from my presence, my complexity, my insomnia and excessive love that you get bored of…It’s always something different from what we currently think it is. I can always expect more from my love. Why do we want to get rid of it? Why sudden overcoming of sadness and joy, two different feelings at the same time? I know, I’m going away from you but not from my love. You understand its depth and my pain. This departure is not a death sentence for our love. Sometimes I want to suggest that you go with me to share the life that remained. But I feel that I would make a mistake and scare you away. I do not doubt your honesty, in all that you have given me during this time of love. Now I know where this love comes from and with that knowledge I can go on the journey, knowing that you will always be with me, in the frozen existence without pain and suffering. A time that does not redeem the gracious and does not punish the sinners. That’s all for now, for time of one life, for a bit ancient time in which all of my joys and all of my sorrows are renewed. Indeed you are my love for all times!

Tatjana Debeljacki writes poetry, short stories, stories and haiku. She is a Member of Association of Writers of Serbia -UKS since 2004. She is Haiku Society of Serbia - Deputy editor of Diogen. She also is the editor of the magazine Poeta. She has four books of poetry published.

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November 2012

essays 17.

MAITREYEE B CHOWDHURY

The Pursuit of Knowledge

Source: With due permission by Dipanjan Mitra

The pursuit of knowledge seems to be bizarre in its very wanting, in its madness, the thirst that it brings about and in a strange way it makes you let go of everything that you have learnt, accumulated over the years and hoarded thinking they were milestones that were the guiding lights of your life. Yet often this very urge makes islands out of you from those very people to whom you have been clinging all your life, in whom you have seen relations, love and normalcy. Then what is it you would say, about this thirst for learning that makes you do the wildest things that you didn’t think yourself capable of, that you had no idea existed within you. This total surrender to something so powerful that it’s like a macabre, a slow dance of death awaiting the light of dawn when one is to be killed having had one’s fill of knowledge, power and sustenance thus. 44


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essays I remember an instance when I watched the sea from very close quarters at night, something about its eeriness struck me as fascinating. While I did like the sea during the day, at night it was all pervasive, strong and overwhelming. Like the elusive siren, who carried within her the flavor of the earth in sanctums sacred since time immemorial. I decided to walk towards it, to feel its waves engulf me and talk to me, to hear what its depths had to say, perhaps to walk into it and taste that illusive knowledge that, drowns the deepest of souls. And yet I knew that if I entered I might not be able to swim back, indeed I could not. I did not enter the sea that night, neither did I walk towards it; instead I sat there looking at it. It brought to me shells, sick things from different shores. I wondered if it would bring forth corpses with no names, no home, no destinations, not even a caste, nor a Gotra that helps us distinguish one blood from another, in spite of the color red. I guess I sat all night dissecting the water, wondering if it would bring about that elusive knowledge that I knew was in store for me. And then I felt a foamy caress, of the mighty sea itself, it was dawn, time perhaps for the magic to end I thought, like the delusions and dreams that we carry all night long, in every mind that makes a night out of a day. I watched fascinated like a retro dream being played out in the 2000 s, as if within the sea was being played out life after life, death after death and yet there was room to fill for the exuberance and thirst to know more. The night was gone, but the sea seemed to whisper in some remote echo, ‘In me lies all that you need to find and more. All that needs to be unlearnt before you learn copulate on and make your own. But then don’t drown in me, I hate corpses. Don’t be merged in waters that drown as well as give life, don’t be the island that looks good from afar, where birds of prey sing and butterflies die. I shall give you back, such knowledge, even throw it back on land and puffed with your body full of knowledge filled from waters deep, useless and stale. Then you shall lie there and be eaten by the crabs running hither and thither and be sniffed at by dogs and men at night for experiments that I know not of. Look for in me, the wise-ness of the centuries and feel in me the impermanence of the now. Life is but thus, complete in all its impermanence. Complete even in the stark knowledge that nothing lasts, not even knowledge. I went home that night; I was not dead, maybe not alive too, but wet, tired and happy. I had become an island unto myself and yet not.

Maitreyee B Chowdhury, is a web columnist and poet. Besides poetry she writes on art and social issues.

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criticism

I criticize by creation - not by finding fault. – Marcus Tullius Cicero

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November 2012

criticism 18.

EL HABIB LOUAI

Love Relationships as Central Mechanisms for Narrating Colonial Contact and its Aftermath by El Habib Louai Both with a deep legacy of a colonial history and consciousness of difference, Jean Rhys and Tayed Salih composed their famous novels, Wide Sargasso Sea (1966) and Season of Migration to the North (1966), in totally different socioeconomic circumstances and geographical spheres and within slightly diverging historical realities. Nevertheless, despite these obvious disparities in terms of economic and social conditions, the inclusion of love relationships in their narratives as a fundamental mechanism to speculate on the colonial encounter and its subsequent foreseeable repercussions reflects a common awareness of the colonial domination and exploitation through such relationships of love. Undoubtedly, love relationships have already been investigated in different contexts because they constitute the fabric of both narratives. Nonetheless, little attention is paid to the ways in which love as a sublime human value can be used in total opposition to its innocent ordinary employments, mainly as a strategic technique to subvert or subjugate certain hidden intentions imposed by a Eurocentric colonial mindset. In this paper I intend to investigate love relationships as they are used in Wide Sargasso Sea and Season of Migration to the North in an attempt to prove that love relationships are cunningly subverted to satisfy certain concealed desires pertaining to either colonial or post-colonial purposeful plans of exploitation or retaliation. …that love relationships are cunningly subverted to satisfy certain concealed desires pertaining to either colonial or post-colonial purposeful plans of exploitation or retaliation. It is very important to point right from the very beginning to the fictional techniques of subversion, revision and re-inscription to which Jean Rhys resorts in her novel. This technique of subversion as a distinctive feature of post-colonial literature is indeed a significant strategy of undermining any presupposed theoretical stance or ideological position that a particular different individual may have formulated on the ‘Other’. This feeling of the need to rectify a racial inequity exercised by the colonizer is expressed when Jean Rhys inquires “why should [Charlotte Bronte] think Creole women are lunatics and all that. What a shame to make Rochester's wife, Bertha, the awful madwoman, and I immediately thought I'd write a story as it might really have been.” 1 By thwarting Charlotte Bronte’s famous story in her novel Jane Eyre, Jean Rhys 1

Teresa, O’Connor, Jean Rhys: the West Indian Novels, New York : New York University, 1986, p144. 47


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criticism assumes the position of a responsible and probably conscientious novelist who reacts in total awareness of a wrong that has been done in colonial history. Although some critics may easily disparage Rhys’s use of such a technique as subversion of an already-existing story, I find myself quite comfortably identifying with a premise postulated in one of Jacque Derrida’s essays when he argues that all repetition is also alteration 2. Undoubtedly, Rhys writes her novel with the intention of recontextualizing Charlotte Bronte’s story in a spaciotemporal post-colonial setting so as to reconsider certain colonial practices of injustice and inequality. These acts of oppression and injustice are to be intelligibly discerned when we consider relationships of love, marriage, bondage, hatred and tenderness in Rhys’s novel Wide Sargasso Sea. Undoubtedly, Rhys writes her novel with the intention of recontextualizing Charlotte Bronte’s story in a spaciotemporal post-colonial setting so as to reconsider certain colonial practices of injustice and inequality. In Wide Sargasso Sea the characters represent a diverse set of racial and social classes that consciously transfix each other through classifications of inferiority/superiority, domination/supremacy, power/subjugation. Despite the fact that they constitute the same social fabric, these different racial and social categories are oppositional in their nature because they are originally from different parts of the world: France, England and Africa. Consequently, the relationships that hold these categories together differ from one class to another and they are usually defined by the position of the individual as belonging either to the colonizer or colonized. If we consider love relationships between different characters in the novel, we can quite easily notice that these relationships are created and maintained within a set of stereotyped prejudices towards the individual as a racially and linguistically different other. Love relationships in Wide Sargasso Sea can be traced to investigate the idea propounded by Bill Ashcroft about the emergence of both a national and regional type of literature that seeks to counterpose the colonial/imperial center. It was quite obvious from the beginning that the conjugal relationship between the unnamed husband (Rochester) and his wife Antoinette is based on certain corrupt purposes. Marriage as a social institution is turned here into a materialistic and financial affair just as any other forms of trade in the West Indies Company. Marriage is thwarted in a sense to reflect certain hidden colonial intentions that aboriginal people could not understand. As we discover in the novel, Rochester was reluctantly driven into this affair by his friend Richard Mason who promised him a huge inheritance in case he managed to accept marrying Antoinette. It becomes therefore obvious that the love relationship between Rochester and Antoinette is built on a colonial negotiation of the legacy of the colonized. Antoinette and Rochester’s marriage is characterized by this absence of love and tenderness. Rochester has repeatedly stressed the fact that he does not ‘want’ his wife anymore. This kind of repugnance drives him to turn to another woman, the black servant, with whom he sleeps in the same family 2

Jacque Derrida, « Signature, événement Contexte », (Mirage, Paris : Minuit, 1972), p 375. 48


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criticism house shared with his wife. Antoinette's anxiety caused by her husband’s indifference mirrors the angst of the indigenous people as a colonized nation, while Rochester's coldness and infidelity reflects English cruelty towards the colonies. Robert experiences this anxiety when he first begins to think of the repercussions of his marriage to Antoinette and its influence on his private life as an English gentleman. His stereotypes and attitudes, cultural prejudices and racial classifications start to emerge as well shortly after his marriage. Although the external beauty of Antoinette fascinates him at the beginning, Rochester begins to notice that his wife’s eyes are “too large and can be disconcerting, long, sad, dark, alien eyes”. 3 This relationship of love is equally changed when Rochester first becomes aware of the racial and social inferiority that may be associated with the notion of creolity; a racial condition that defines Antoinette as being of “pure English decent...but [she] [is] not English or European either.” 4 Interestingly, Rochester discovers through his internal monologue that he did not really love Antoinette and that he is only forced into this relationship by a certain kind of lust and that she was “a stranger to him, a stranger who did not think or feel as I did”. 5 Love relationship is therefore employed here as a pretext or rather a strategic colonial tactic that the colonizer, represented by Rochester in this context, proceeds to different stages of colonial exploitation to secure his resources and reinforce his politics of dominance and subjugation. The crisis of identity and alterity, as two issues discussed in post-colonial literature in juxtaposition with love, emerges at that moment when Rochester names Antoinette ‘Bertha’ in reference to a prototype of madness widely known in English canonical literature. In addition to his transgression and oppressive act of looting Antoinette’s inheritance through marriage, Rochester proceeds to an act of self-effacement through a pejorative renaming. ‘Bertha’ as a female character in Charlotte Bronte’s novel Jane Eyre represents a figure of insanity that categorizes all women as being inferior in terms of sex and gender. By resorting to this act of oblique renaming, Rochester forces his wife to think of herself as being a different person from what she really is; he forcibly intends to drive her to “subsume her identity and all the cultural and personal associations that go along with it into one he has constructed for her.” 6 This act of subverting the native identity is quite reoccurring in all the colonial practices since the first imperial conquest of Native American lands. Nevertheless, Antoinette, no matter how hard Rochester tries to undermine her presence, manages to stand for her right to an authentic and genuine definition of the self when she exasperatedly answers “you are trying to make me into someone else, calling me by another's name." 7 This sudden braveness that Antoinette shows helps her in fact to thwart those oppressive power relationships of language that link her to her 3

Jean Rhys, Wide Sargasso Sea, 1966, London: Penguin, 2000, p37. Ibid, p37 5 Ibid, p56 6 Maude. Madeleine Adjarian, Looking for home: postcolonial women's writing and the displaced female self, College Literature , 22.1 (Feb. 1995) p202. 7 Jean Rhys, Wide Sargasso Sea, 1966, London: Penguin, 2000, p 95 4

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criticism husband and in a way allows her equally to move in that in-between space, in a Bhabhaian view, where she can easily fit herself into both black Caribbean and white Creole definitions of identity and cultural belonging. Ironically, this oppressive renaming of Antoinette/Bertha by her English colonial husband is a conspiracy that her half-brother Daniel Cosway contributes to when he sent Rochester a denigrating letter about Antoinette in an attempt to lay his hand on the same paternal, inherited legacy. Fortunately, Antoinette’s love relationship with the unnamed husband (Rochester) goes beyond the boundaries set for her by the same husband when she stops thinking of him as a necessarily complimentary part of her life. Her resort to Christophine to use obeah or ritual magic in an attempt to procure a magic love potion that will make Rochester love her again is regrettably shattered when Christophine protests that "if the man don't love you, I can't make him love you. 8" Eventually, the magic potion Christophine concocts for Antoinette only repels Rochester from loving her, a sentimental state which consequently results in her total loss of power in this unrequited love relationship. It becomes obvious that Rochester represents the English colonizer in all its characteristics when we read through those parts of the novel which describe direct encounter of Rochester and Antoinette, even before the marriage takes place. Rochester is depicted right from the beginning as that pompous English subject who symbolizes those “imperializing desires deeply embedded in the education of privileged Englishmen — the narcissism, the will to domination, and the inevitable tragedy that it breeds” 9 Right from the start, Rochester shows this insecurity and uneasiness towards the island which he considers to be “not only wild, but also menacing.” 10 As part of this inherited imperialistic feeling of sexual and racial supremacy, Rochester never stops to suspect and mistrust the indigenous people that serve him, a feeling of difference which drives him to see himself as being superior to his wife who enjoys the same white physical, yet not purely on the same scale as his English native people. This racial superiority that Rochester feels stand between a possible mutual love of his wife Antoinette whom he deliberately conceives of as being a degenerate object: ‘this Creole girl’ 11 His subversion of love as a mutual affection into a mere mechanical sexual activity evokes this greediness of the colonizer for domination and subjugation. Rochester admits in a subsequent passage that he “did not love her. [He] was thirsty for, but is not love….. She was a stranger to me.” 12 Despite his continuous attempts to hide a reciprocal love towards Antoinette, Rochester is betrayed by his internal emotions. He knows deep in his heart that he loves Antoinette not only for her physical attractiveness, but also for something unusual about her to the extent that he wants to “break her up” as Christophine repeatedly confirms. Even at those moments when Rochester realizes that his wife is insane he 8

Ibid, p70 Virginia Woolf, a Room of One’s Own and Three Guinas, (London : Hogarth Press, 1984) p106 10 Jean Rhys, Wide Sargasso Sea, 1966, London: Penguin, 2000, p39 11 Ibid, p45 12 Ibid, p 56 9

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criticism still strives to control her any other commodities and properties: “she’s mad but mine, mine.”13 This propensity of Rochester to possess his stems originally from a colonial tradition that heavily influences the constitution of Rochester’s cultural identity. Veronica Marie Gregg’s premise is perhaps much explicative of this tendency when she propounds that, The West Indian novel insists that the imperial tradition- out of which the husband emanates and into which he dissolves- depends for its existence on the reconstitution of others as creature of European will and a belief in Europe’s right of appropriation. Yet, at the same time, it anatomizes and displays the ravages of such a system on the person who appears to be privileged and dominant. 14 The unrequited love that Antoinette unconditionally shows to her unnamed husband (Rochester) is inevitably the reason behind her gradual decline into madness. Thus, the reader may legitimately notify that the unnamed husband plays a principal role in this madness because he permits Jamaican indigenous prejudices to influence his love of Antoinette as being an insane Creole. Yet, Jean Rhys draws our attention to a side of the story which is not narrated in Charlotte Bronte’s Jane Eyre, especially at that moment when Antoinette bursts “and you won’t believe in the other side.” 15 Though Charlotte Bronte emphasizes the fact that Antoinette is confined to a certain inferior position just “like her island, she is colonized, her independence and autonomy subsumed to British culture and to British law,” 16 Rhys reminds the reader that Rochester equally suffers from the misfortunes of the same colonial regime. Despite the fact that Rochester and Antoinette’s marriage is urged by reasons having to do basically with social status and finances, Rochester still believes that Antoinette has equally benefited from this relationship when he speculates that “I haven’t bought her, she has bought me, or so she thinks.” 17 We can understand from this statement that Rochester tries to attribute the failure of this relationship of love to other reasons beyond his personal responsibility. There is a possibility that Rochester and Antoinette could love each other without any intervention from the colonial system influences with all its ethnic, racial or cultural categorizations. Rochester should not have recourse to transplanting Antoinette from her native land where she can at least enjoy various cultural and historical remnants that constantly remind her of how beautiful and lovely was her past life in Jamaica. For Antoinette, there are no other places like the idyllic Granbois and Coulibri which can make her jubilant and enthusiastic because Rochester’s presence unfortunately taints them 13

Ibid, p108 Veronica Marie Gregg, Jean Rhys’s Historical Imagination, USA, University of North Carolina Press1995, p105- 106 15 Jean Rhys, Wide Sargasso Sea, 1966, London: Penguin, 2000, p 81. 16 Teresa O’cConnor,Jean Rhys : the West Indian Novel, New York : New York University Press, 1986, p193 17 Jean Rhys, Wide Sargasso Sea, 1966, London: Penguin, 2000. p39 14

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criticism forever. Though Rochester decides by the end to take Antoinette to Thornfield, his presence is reduced while crossing the wide Sargasso sea to a mere past memory. Antoinette ceases to believe anymore in any kind of love when she discovers that is transferred to Thornfield not in order to help her recover, but rather to imprison her just as Bertha in Charlotte Bronte’s Jane Eyre. Nevertheless, Antoinette’s end is totally different from Bertha in the sense that she does not die in her cold attic as all the other madwomen, she rather dreams to burning the house and retaliate for herself. At last, though it is only in dreams, Antoinette comes to realize why she is brought to Thornfield when she says “now at last I know why I was brought here and what I have to do.” 18 The act of setting the house on fire is emancipatory for Antoinette, a woman who is imprisoned and coldly unloved by an English husband. By voicing the silence of Antoinette as a subaltern in the last part of her novel, Jean Rhys in this way launches a counter discursive subversion of the colonial canonical text as it is represented by Charlotte Bronte’s version of the story. Although Antoinette’s language is included in a fantastic dream, it can still emphasize a possibility of change that may result in a fundamental transformation of English social and cultural structures. Interestingly, Judith Butler argues in the same vein that “if the subject who speaks is also constituted by the language that she or he speaks, then the language is the condition of possibility for the speaking subject, and not merely its instrument of expression.” 19 By voicing the silence of Antoinette as a subaltern in the last part of her novel, Jean Rhys in this way launches a counter discursive subversion of the colonial canonical text as it is represented by Charlotte Bronte’s version of the story. Comparatively, the Sudanese novelist Tayeb Salih on the other hand employs love relationships to ponder on and reconsider colonial oppression and its post-colonial subsequent repercussions on the post-independence generations. There are mainly two perspectives when it comes to the critical reception of Season of Migration to the North in its examination of gender and race subjugation as they relate to love. The first view tends to explicitly endorse the central character Mustafa Sa’eed’s illustrious achievements in England as an oriental conqueror while the second deem differently his exploits to be primitive and savage. Strikingly, both critical positions proceed from a fundamental premise that Mustafa Sa’eed’s presence in England can be regarded as “an attempt to reestablish the dominance of the emasculated, colonized male by attacking the women of the colonizers.” 20 In this sense, Mustafa Sa’eed’s diverse love relationships can be 18

Ibid, p123 Judith Butler, “Excitbale Speech : a Politics of the Performative” London : Routledge, 1997, p 28 20 John E. Davidson, « In Search of a Middle Point : in Search of the Origins of Oppression in Tayeb Salih’s Season of Migration to the North, » Research in African Literatures, Vol. 20, No. 3 (Autumn, 1989), pp. 385-400, Indiana University Press. 19

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criticism viewed as strategic tactics to narrate colonial contact and its aftermath. This account of the colonial encounter and its backwash is announced by the first lines of the novel when the central character, an eminent native intellectual, returns to his homeland; a coming back that divulges slowly the details of his life in England. In this part of my paper, I intend to trace Mustafa Sa’eed diverse love affairs as an example of anti-colonial subversion and resistance through love. …Mustafa Sa’eed’s diverse love relationships can be viewed as strategic tactics to narrate colonial contact and its aftermath. The first English woman Sa’eed meets is called Mrs. Robinson and she stands waiting for him together with her husband, the schoolmaster, while coming from Khartoum. Despite his very young age, Sa’eed already experiences this strange sexual desire towards Mrs. Robinson who is an old English married lady. Upon his arrival to Cairo, Mustafa Sa’eed, a twelve-year-old boy, is greeted by Mr. and Mrs. Robinson who take him for an entertaining visit to various museums, antiquities and mosques distinctive for their historical and cultural value. In a very unconscious manner, Mrs. Robinson titillates Mustafa Sa’eed’s sexual desire when she first kisses him. Sa’ee depicts this scene in a much more exciting manner when he narrates “with the woman’s arms round my neck, her mouth on my cheek, the smell of her body — a strange, European smell — tickling my nose, her breast touching my chest, I felt — I, a boy of twelve — a vague sexual yearning I had never previously experienced.” 21 However, this kind of motherly love Sa’eed feels towards Mrs. Robinson metamorphoses into a lascivious, but wary love as soon as she asks him tauntingly to show cheerfulness shouting “"Can’t you ever forget your intellect?"22 Wittingly, Mustafa Sa’eed realizes from this very moment that the English colonizer constantly urges him to forget about the potential of his mind in an attempt to perpetuate that Eurocentric prototypical conception of the Oriental subject as a symbol of savagery and primitiveness. This deep-rooted racial and ethnic categorization, one which is mainly produced by a colonial mindset, constitutes perhaps the primary reason behind Sa’eed’s choice to stay in England after finishing his studies so as to engage in civilizational war whose primary hope is to avenge his people and his country. It is ironical how Mustafa Sa’eed subverts the entire colonial enthusiasm associated with his early extraordinary academic aspiration as soon as he sets his feet on the colonizer’s territory. Sa’eed’s mind is entirely preoccupied with plans and schemes that can eventually assist him in retaliating for his native country from the English empire and its ulterior representatives. The immediate academic success and fame that Sa’eed easily earns through publications and teaching positions secure his social status within English society and equally help him to “win the attention and affection of several English women.”23 21

Tayeb Salih, Season of Migration to the North, 1969. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann, 1991, p25. Ibid, p28 23 Lance Rhoades, “Mimetic Desire and Rivalry in Season of Migration”. Washington District: University of Washington, 1998 22

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criticism London with all its cultural diversity, its tumultuous post-war atmosphere, and openness to various world artistic productions allows Sa’eed to experience different possibilities of cultural encounters and love affairs. He even becomes a bohemian who rambles from one pub to another reciting poetry and talking about oriental spirituality only for the purpose of seducing more western white women. He incessantly tempts white women belonging to different classes and social groups such as “the Salvation Army, Quaker societies and Fabian gatherings” 24by appealing to their phantasmagoric illusions of an exotic and erotic South. Mustafa Sa’eed’s first love affair is with Ann Hammond, a well-to-do daughter of an officer in the Royal Engineers and a mother from a wealthy family in Liverpool. Sa’eed perhaps finds it much easier to seduce her since she is already in total enthrallment with the oriental languages, a bait that he can easily use being himself interested in Islamic poetry and languages. Hammond, a seemingly pious girl who spent her childhood in a nunnery, turns out to be an easy prey for Mustafa Sa’eed who takes her to his Rashidian bed. She was fascinated by Sa’eed’s representations of a warm south where tropical sun sweeps over everything. Unfortunately, her sweet and young body is conquered by this very rough oriental new Haroun Rashid who seems to exemplify “a symbol of all her hankerings.” 25 Conclusively, Ann Hammond chooses to commit suicide when she discovers that Mustafa Sa’eed betrays her with another white English women leaving behind her areprobating piece of paper which closes her story “Mr. Sa’eed, may God damn you.” 26 Thus, Mustafa succeeds in vanquishing the first English woman, eventually a representative of the colonial male, while maintaining his position as a famous intellectual from the South. Mustafa Sa’eed’s second love affair is with Sheila Greenwood whom he probably meets during one of his frequent visits to Soho restaurant where she works as a waitress. Sheila is a charming and innocent daughter of a Scottish coal worker. She is an extremely attractive, playful, simple girl with “a sweet smile and a sweet way of speaking.” 27 Mustafa Sa’eed entices her by lavishly showering her with gifts brought all the way from the South/East and through what he calls his hackneyed, yet “honeyed words.” 28 Even the atmosphere that reigns in Sa’eed’s apartment is orientalized with all its exotic, fragrant smells of sandalwood and incense. Again, this awareness of a deliberate revenge which Sa’eed brings to the colonizer’s land as an Arab conqueror is obvious when he depicts his seduction of Sheila Greenwood; Sa’eed recounts “[she] entered my bedroom a chaste virgin and when she left it she was carrying the germs of self-destruction within her.” 29 This whole romanticized oriental world that Sa’eed reconstructs in the heart of the English colonizer’s civilization is what lures Sheila Greenwood in the first place. She had an idyllic love relationship with Mustafa Sa’eed until she commits suicide when she discovers that 24

Tayeb Salih, Season of Migration to the North, 1969. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann, 1991, p 30

25

Ibid, p 142 Ibid, p 31 27 Ibid, p 34 28 Ibid, p35 29 Ibid, 35 26

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criticism he has no intention to marry her. Sheila dies without leaving the slightest indication of the reasons behind her act of suicide. Her suicide introduces another English, white, attractive woman that is eventually going to be Mustafa Sa’eed’s last prey. Mustafa Sa’eed’s third mistress is a forty-year-old wife of a middle class surgeon and mother of three children. Her name is Isabella Seymour. He hunts her on a beautiful summer morning while going for an occasional walk in Hyde Park. His rapacious eyes behold Seymour’s wellshaped bronze legs while surveying the faces of people promenading. Sa’eed realizes from Seymour appearance that she is eventually his prey for today. He approaches her in such a meek manner surprising her with his different looks and complexion. Interestingly, Isabella Seymour’s first question is directed to Sa’eed’s race, a steady ground on which Sa’eed constructs an orientalized conception of the East/South that properly meets Seymour’s cultural stereotypes and satisfies her fantasies towards it. Mustafa Sa’eed assembles imaginatively exotic pictures from his hometown to back up his deception of Seymour, who credulously pictures Sa’eed as “a naked, primitive creature, a spear in one hand and arrows in the other, hunting elephants and lions in the jungles.” 30 It is interesting here to notice that the kind of attraction Seymour feels towards Sa’eed is inextricably associated with his representation of a primitive race. Little by little Seymour is entranced by Sa’eed’s honeyed talk about his homeland to the extent that she “gazed hard and long at [him] as though seeing [him] as a symbol rather than reality” 31 At that particular moment when Seymour whispers “I love you,” 32 Sa’eed succeeds in objectifying another Western female body as a strategic tactic to subvert an inherited colonial, Eurocentric oppression. Jean Morris is the last English mistress who would terminate Mustafa Sa’eed’s staunch and savagely phallic conquest of the colonizer’s land. He meets her first at a party somewhere in Chelsea while probably leaving to his room together with two other English women. His first impression of her is that of a boastful female, a shimmering mirage that dazzles his eyes. However, Jean Morris is the first white English female who dares to disrespect him when she contemptuously enunciates “I’ve never seen an uglier face than yours.” 33 This denigrating conduct on the part of a white female causes an extreme emotional wound with long-lasting effects on the psyche of Mustafa Sa’eed. Consequently, this emotional wound, especially for an oriental person who believes deeply in what Bordo calls “male superiority,”34 results in a sort of abhorrence that will eventually lead to Jean Morris’s demise. However, Jean Morris is not an

30

Ibid, p 38 Ibd, p43 32 Ibid, 43 33 Ibid, p30 34 Susan Bordo, "What is a phallus?" The Male Body. New York: Farrar, Straus, and Giroux, 1999. p87 31

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criticism easy prey as all the other women because she “knows his game and can play it as well as he.” 35 Ironically, the game now is played against Sa’eed who becomes prey to Jean Morris’s seduction. Mustafa Sa’eed follows Jean Morris for three years trying to entice her in the same way as he did with all the other women, but to no avail. The only possible way to conquer her after such a long period of chasing is by succumbing reluctantly to her urges of marriage. Jean Morris was surely plotting against Mustafa Sa’eed when she shouts in his face “I am tired of your pursuing me and of my running before you. Marry me.” 36 Mustafa Sa’eed becomes obsessed with Jean Morris to the extent that he could not delay his marriage to her. Unfortunately, this marriage is the weakening factor that will lead to Mustafa Sa’eed’s betrayal of his anti-colonial conquest of the west. As soon as Jean Morris manipulates Sa’eed’s sexual desire by pretending to be either tired or ill, his presence as a symbol of "the impalpable gate that opens into the realm of orgies, of bacchanals, of delirious sexual sensations" 37 collapses and he becomes metaphorically impotent because he cannot anymore appropriate "white breasts [in order to] grasp white civilization and dignity and make them [his]." 38 Sa’eed cannot stand it anymore; he is turned into a destitute southern driveling animal ready to relinquish even his academic treatises and researches, the symbol of his intellectual labor, and the most precious ancient manuscripts which dearly record a whole oriental civilization. This quick decline into the abyss, to which Sa’eed luckily heeded, is deterred by murdering Jean as soon as he enters her. Nevertheless, this last act raises deep critical debate in the sense that it signifies both Sa’eed’s last victory as well as his return to the original state of primitiveness into which he is historically classified by the Eurocentric colonial discourse. Conclusively, the judge’s decisive verdict is both interesting and quite disconcerting to investigate when he says, “Mr Sa’eed, despite your academic prowess you are a stupid man. In your spiritual make-up there is a dark spot, and thus it was that you squandered the noblest gift that God has bestowed upon people —the gift of love.” 39 Seemingly, Mustafa Sa’eed’s postcolonial sexual conquests announced in his famous phrase “I’ll liberate Africa with my penis”40 are under crucial re-questioning when we ponder on his last love affair. To sum up, both Jean Rhys and Tayeb Salih have tried in their seminal novels to narrate colonial contact and its aftermath in two different geographical settings and within diverse historical realities. They have both used love relationships as fundamental mechanisms that depict clearly the repercussions of this colonial encounter and its long-lasting subsequent effects on the postcolonial generations. Rhys in her own way traced closely the real motives behind a mixed 35

John E. Davidson, "In Search of a Middle Point: The Origins of Oppression in Tayeb Salih's Season of Migration to the North." Research in African Literatures 20.3 (1989)p 390. 36 Tayeb Salih, Season of Migration to the North, 1969. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann, 1991, p 33. 37 Frantz Fanon, Black Skin, White Masks. New York: Grove, 1967, p177 38 Ibid, p63 39 Tayeb Salih, Season of Migration to the North, 1969. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann, 1991, p54 40 Ibid, p120 56


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criticism marriage (Creole and native English) that took place on the colonized territories of Jamaica, before she turned to its inevitable outcomes on love as a sublime human value. Her heroine, Antoinette, ended up dreaming of burning her English prisoner’s house so that she can release herself from an eternal subjugation. On the other hand, Tayeb Salih in his own way traced the reverberations of a shattering colonial encounter and its consequences through the character of Mustafa Sa’eed as he set out to England with deep-rooted intentions to emancipate his homeland with his penis. Mustafa Sa’eed , by the end, chose to return to his people and settle down in his village after serving seven year in prison. Distinctive of Jean Rhys's Wide Sargasso Sea and Tayeb Salih's Season of Migration to the North is this interest in shuttering the master narrative of English imperialism. Both novels dismantle conventional tyrannical structures that favor perspectives of the colonizers and deny self-representation to the oppressed Other. Interestingly, both novels mirror and at the same time subvert this constant tendency of the colonizing subject to classify the other in two categories of ‘slave’ or ‘god’. This propensity to categorize the other derives from what Spivak sees as a sort of deflection in the whole imperialist project that seeks to produce a domesticated Other who can mirror the imperialist self. 41 Characteristic of both novels is the multiplicity of viewpoints in the narrative. In Wide Sargasso Sea, the load of storytelling is divided between Antoinette and her unnamed husband (Rochester), and the voices of other minor characters. Similarly, in Season of Migration to the North, Salih's unnamed narrator retells the story of other characters, mainly Mustafa Sa’eed, emphasizing by such a technique the impossibility of rendering one stable truth.

References: 1.

Adjarian, Maude. Madeleine. Looking for home: postcolonial women's writing and the displaced female self, College Literature, 22.1 (Feb. 1995): p202.

2.

Bordo, Susan. "What is a phallus?" The Male Body. New York: Farrar, Straus, and Giroux, 1999.

3.

Butler, Judith. “Excitbale Speech: a Politics of the Performative”, London: Routledge, 1997.

4.

Davidson, John E. "In Search of a Middle Point: The Origins of Oppression in Tayeb Salih's Season of Migration to the North."Research in African Literatures 20.3, 1989.

5.

Derrida, Jacques. “Signature, événement contexte” Mirage, Paris: Minuit, 1972.

6.

Fanon, Frantz. Black Skin, White Masks. New York: Grove, 1967.

41

Spivak, Gayatri Chakravorty, "Three Women's Texts and a Critique of Imperialism." Critical Inquiry 12.1 (1985) p253 57


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criticism 7.

Gayatri, Chakravorty Spivak. "Three Women's Texts and a Critique of Imperialism." Critical Inquiry 12, 1985.

8.

Gregg, Marie Veronica. Jean Rhys’s Historical Imagination, USA, University of North Rhys, Jean. Wide Sargasso Sea. New York: Norton, 1982.

9.

O’cConnor, Teresa. Jean Rhys: the West Indian Novel, New York: New York University Press, 1986.

10.

Rhoades, Lance. “Mimetic Desire and Rivalry in Season of Migration”. Washington District: University of Washington, 1998.

11.

Salih, Tayeb. Season of Migration to the North. 1969. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann, 1991.

12.

Woolf,Virginia. a Room of One’s Own and Three Guinas, London : Hogarth Press, 1984.

13.

Carolina Press,1995.

El Habib Louai is currently defending his MA dissertation in comparative studies at the University of Ibn Zohr in Agadir, Morocco. El Habib's fields of interest are as diverse as comparative literature and critical theory, world literature and cultural studies, African American literature and literary theory, colonial and postcolonial literature. El Habib has been working as a junior high school teacher of English at Azzaytoun for five years and is also involved in various projects and activities relating to poetry, spoken word, jazz and literary translation. El Habib's first edited and translated anthology of Moroccan contemporary poetry has been published by Big Bridge Magazine. His poems have been published in various international literary magazines, journals and reviews such as Danse Macabre du Jour, Contemporary Literary Review India, Palestine Chronicle, Troubadour 21, Sagarana, Istanbul Literary Review, Indigo Rising Magazine, and Contemporary Critical Horizons among others.

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book review

The artist doesn’t have time to listen to the critics. The ones who want to be writers read the reviews, the ones who want to write don’t have the time to read reviews. – William Faulkner

To enquire for placing ads, contact us at: contemporaryliteraryreview@yahoo.com

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book review 19.

REVIEW ON JOSEPH CONRAD’S HEART OF DARKNESS

Aakansha Singh Reviews Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness The nameless narrator of the novel recounts Marlow’s adventure in the Congo as a steamboat captain and how his experiences in the various colonial outposts over there and with Mistah Kurtz deepened his understanding of the world around him. Marlow narrates his own story on ‘a cruising yawl,’ Nellie on the river Thames. Critics have noted that ‘Heart Of Darkness’ is based on Conrad’s own travels in the Congo and that Marlow is Conrad himself. Marlow does come across as the vehicle through which Conrad gives voice to his own worldviews. The novella too has a touch of being a travelogue as it consists predominantly of a journey – Marlow’s journey up the snakelike river. Consequently it is replete with anecdotes – how Marlow made the journey, the steamers he hopped on, the stations he stopped at where he met a wide range of colonialists whose sole purpose seemed to be ivory and domination and who brought him closer to the idea of Kurtz and his ‘unsound’ methods. He eventually gets wrapped in a mission to get Kurtz out of the way as he, despite being a ‘universal genius’ and a ‘remarkable man,’ got carried away and was doing more harm than good in providing the ivory to the Company. Yet at the end, Marlow realises through his talks with Kurtz that there is no proper right and wrong in this place (Congo), that there is darkness in every soul, in every human being, in every civilization. This profound knowledge that he gains leaves him scarred and as they sail away into Thames that sense of the inherent nature of evil in man imbues all who listened to Marlow’s story. The novel is hailed for its revolutionary ideas and for its questioning of not just British Imperialism but also European Imperialism on the whole. Throughout the novel, the reader sees Marlow hesitatingly exploring the disadvantages of colonialism and how power and greed can blind men and women alike to unthinkable cruelty and oppression. Conrad very subtly presents such complex notions on this theme. There is a constant juxtaposition and even mocking of the greatness of the white people with the wildness and the mess around them. Kurtz himself went to absurd lengths to acquire the ivory and even commanded a bunch of tribes to do his bidding to get more ivory but he in the end realised the horror of his deeds while the authorities simply don’t. What they call Kurtz’s ‘unsound’ methods is 60


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book review also what they themselves are perpetuating throughout the world. Thus the novel takes a hard hitting look at the politics of power, greed as well as territorial, racial and ideological supremacy that is relevant in today’s global world where we are subject to a capitalistic or corporate colonialism. However, despite, ‘Heart Of Darkness’ being an attack on the imperial powers, it is thoroughly grounded in those very ideologies. Thus, Marlow may have gained enlightenment about the darkness of the human heart, he still is very much a product of that very imperial superpower. Many of his ideas and views adhere to imperialistic ideologies. He seems to journey in his own contradiction of being questioning as well as open minded. This makes the novella very ambiguous as to whether ‘The horror! The horror!’ that Kurtz talks about is in fact a meditation of his own deeds or of the way of the ‘savages,’ and whether Marlow is indeed talking of ‘the heart of darkness’ of humans in general or of an ‘uncivilized’ place that creates this kind of greed and horror in them. The novel is racist, sexist and reiterates colonial notions undoubtedly. There is a tinge of racial superiority in Marlow and the others who constantly believe about the rightness of their actions. This was possibly the dominant way of thinking at that time and Conrad seems to have been influenced by it despite the ‘reality’ of the human nature he encountered there. ‘Heart Of Darkness’ therefore provides a mix of two different attitudes. Conrad is trying to be liberal, transgress his colonial upbringing and throughout the novel, the reader does see the way he illuminates colonialism’s downside, yet that upbringing seems to be ingrained in him. A powerful and profound read. Don’t let the size fool you. The story will move you, hurt you and shock you and enlighten you as well.

Aakanksha Singh, is a student who just gave her final year graduation exams in English Literature. The results are yet to be declared. Her hobbies include reading, blogging, writing, listening to music, gardening etc.

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preview of a novel 20.

THE TRAGEDY OF FIDEL CASTRO BY JOÃO CERQUEIRA

Preview of the Novel The Tragedy of Fidel Castro An Introduction to the novel The Tragedy of Fidel Castro God receives a request for help from Fatima because a war between Fidel Castro and JFK is about to start. Worried, God asks his son Jesus to return to Earth and diffuse the conflict. Meanwhile, JFK and his counselor are about to interrogate a captured Fidel Castro’s spy (Varadero). Following a testy Communism versus Capitalism debate, JFK set him free and Varadero returns to Cuba. However, his faith in Fidel Castro is shaken and the spy begins to suspect that he is supporting the wrong side. In Cuba, Fidel Castro faces protests on the streets and realizes that he is about to be overthrown. Suspecting Varadero betrayed him, Fidel imprisons the spy as he previously did with the revolutionary hero Camilo Ochoa1. Desperate, he decides to invade JFK’s country as a way to divert people's attention from his own problems. Fidel’s's army invades part of JFK’s country but cannot conveniently convince the inhabitants of the advantages of Marxism. Whilst peasants refuse a land reform, whores prefer free enterprise. Castro is then forced to ask Varadero for advice. Varadero seizes the opportunity accusing him of having betrayed the revolution and responsible for Cuba’s misery. Disturbed and distressed, Fidel isolates himself in unknown territory and following a fall which leaves him amnesiac. He is found by monks who take him to a solitary convent where mad people are ministered by the Church. Once inside he sees the fools are enslaved, Castro starts a revolution against the friars. The course of events reignites his memory. By this time, Christ has arrived on Earth accompanied by Fatima, who is convinced she can create a miracle to avoid the ultimate battle between JFK and Fidel Castro. Back with his army, Fidel Castro receives a visit from the Devil and makes a pact: he sells his soul in exchange for being remembered as a hero who fought for a better world. In the future, nobody will call him dictator. Finally the two armies meet in battle, but JFK proposes to fight Fidel Castro in a duel to avoid wholesale carnage. 1. Combination of Camilo Cienfuegos and General Arnaldo Ochoa, sentenced to death in 1989. 62


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preview of a novel Fatima, Christ and Varadero watch the duel behind a bush. After a violent struggle, JFK overthrows Castro with a stone. Then he grabs a knife. But when everyone thought that he had killed him – much like David and Goliath – it transpires that JFK had only cut Castro’s beard. At that moment, miraculously, an eclipse occurs. The novel is divided into three parts: I JFK: This part introduces the differences between Capitalism and Socialism - Varadero speaks as if he were Marx. II Fidel Castro: Shows the problems that Cuba is facing and the inner conflict of Varadero (the symbol of those who served Fidel Castro but have lost their faith in the revolution) III Fátima: The second coming of Christ on earth leads to reflections on the existence of God and human nature. Fidel Castro's invasion shows the clash between Socialism and reality. At the end, miracles are satirized but Christ achieves a better result than he did last time.

I “If we don’t do anything, something terrible will happen… or even worse, they’ll say it was our fault.’’ “Don’t upset yourself. Just as they’ve stripped us of our merits, so they’ll exempt us from responsibilities, you’ll see. Just as they invent theories to explain the beauty of a flower, so they will find a way of justifying killing between men.’’ “Fine words, but one day someone will use mathematical formulae and computer programmes to prove that we don’t exist….’’ “First of all, there are a great many people that no longer believe, and secondly, that would mean that our problems would be over….’’ “And then what would we do? What sense does it make for us to be considered products of the human imagination?’’ “Aren’t you the one that usually has an answer for everything?’’ This was followed by some moments of somewhat embarrassing divine silence. Then, after millennia of celestial contention, God decided to bare his soul. “I confess I’m intrigued. Could there be someone above us? Who created me, then?’’ “No one, you are the only being that has not been created.’’ “But that is completely illogical, an affront to basic rationality….’’ 63


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preview of a novel “What is fascinating in this mystery of origins and beginnings is that not even we understand it….’’ Absorbed in the contemplation of the firmament, God digressed. .’’To have no beginning and no end…’’ “The specialist books on the subject insist that we are immortal…’’ “Would that be a gift or a punishment?’’ Christ looked confused but God went on with his musings. ’’I also wanted to have a father and a mother….’’ “You have billions of children….’’ “I sometimes wonder if their real father wasn’t someone else….’’ “It’s the adoptive father that counts….’’ “But, if I created them in my own image, then why do they behave as they do?’’ “You’re in no position to complain. Before I was born you were terribly mischievous...and in any case, you gave them the freedom of choice, free will.’’ “That doesn’t seem to have been a very good idea….’’ “That’s the problem. Only thinking beings can conceive transcendental existence. Can you imagine a turkey in a mystic ecstasy, contemplating his magnificent Baroque sculptures?’’ God frowned. He’d never been very keen on sacred art. “We’re getting off the subject….’’ “It’s all related, can’t you see? Your creation is trying to break free of its creator. Look, they have already discovered that you didn’t mould them out of clay and that women were not made from a man’s rib. Nowadays almost everyone agrees they’re descended from apes. No one believes in hell, no one goes to confession. They’ve even managed to create test-tube babies and clones.’’ “Are you telling me I’ve been fired?’’ “You can’t be fired because you’re the boss. What they want is to set up on their own.’’ ’’But why are they so rebellious?’’ Christ hesitated before replying, and his countenance grew serious. “I suspect that none of them, not even those that claim to be believers, are really convinced that another life exists….’’ God placed his hand on his forehead and closed his eyes. ’’So, what do they believe in, then?’’ “Oh, they believe in power and money, in the good life, wild parties, things like that….’’ God remained silent, lost in eschatological ruminations. ’’You know, son, maybe you’re right. I sent you to Earth to save men, but they ended up fighting amongst themselves in your name, enslaving each other and burning people on bonfires….’’ “Even the angels defy you. What do you expect?’’ 64


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preview of a novel “I might be old but I’m not finished yet. I can still conjure up a plague or two.’’ - God began to sing an old song, ’’...Look at me, I am old, but I'm happy….’’ to which Christ countered, ‘’... from the moment I could talk, I was ordered to listen...’’- (and their exchange continued) “Plagues? They would invent a cure right away and say it was all caused by genetic mutations.’’ “You’re right, the time for anger and revenge is over… This time, we’re going to think before we act.’’ “I warn you, father, I’m not going to be the court jester all over again. With me, history doesn’t repeat itself....’’

II The meeting of the Central Committee was about to start. The room was tense with expectations about what Fidel Castro would have to say. This time it was not so much the length of the speech that was feared as its content, because, as rumour had it, it was going to be different from usual. A final war against the nation of JFK was imminent, and everyone feared a new invasion attempt, a new blockade, or – worse still – a ceasefire declaration from the enemy, a request for peace. ’’Then who would we blame for our troubles?’’ people muttered darkly under their breath. The situation was dramatic. Fidel had already survived near-fatal crises and had escaped from the tightest spots. But this time he was facing the biggest threat to the Revolution since he had driven out the former dictator. Sitting at the centre of the table in a haze of aromatic smoke, he was nostalgically recalling the days immediately after he had seized power – the dramatic descent from the mountains, the mass support of the peasants, the dictator’s forces effortlessly overcome, his triumphant entry into the capital like an envoy from the heavens (indeed many had seen him as such), the delirious crowds, the improvised rallies, a dove perched on his shoulder, the revolutionary euphoria sweeping across the whole island… . Everything had been possible back then and everything was going to get done – the reconstruction of a country by the practical application of a utopian ideology, the nationalization of lands, houses and businesses, agrarian reform, literacy and health campaigns, the founding of schools and hospitals, the promotion of sport, a ban on gambling and prostitution, settling of accounts and persecutions, trials and convictions. His life was drawing to an end and the film of all those important events was constantly running in his mind. So much done, yet so much left to do. Successes, and failures that were merely attempts at meaning well. Fidel had closely monitored all the stages of the Revolution, each project started and each project abandoned, showing the way along a road that he himself had constructed and destroyed. This had once been a great highway that had aroused the admiration of other builders and travellers, but today it was a dirt track full of potholes that petered out on the brink of the abyss. Despite this – or perhaps because of it – he had isolated himself more and more as time went by, discovering that the pleasures and 65


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preview of a novel frustrations of power are something best savoured alone, like a puro. That vice had grown uncontrollable, malignant, and he couldn’t share it with anyone. The fact that he held in his hands all the strings of revolutionary society, and he only had to tug on them to cause all kinds of contortions and sacrifices – even if it meant plucking the arms and legs off the puppets in the process – this was, in the end, the only thing that gave meaning to his life. Cooled by a giant fan hanging over his head with blades rotating like the sword of Damocles, ready to decapitate him at one false word, the Central Committee’s rapporteur began reading out data on the state of the economy. ''This year, like last year, our economic performance has been magnificent, and our rigorous and accurate planning has brought great development and prosperity… The figures are not really important. What interests us is the people’s commitment and the amazing results achieved through their enthusiastic efforts. They have once more demonstrated their unconditional support for the Revolution. Having no profit is the most emphatic way of rejecting capitalism. The bourgeois property-owners dream of amassing wealth, but we revolutionaries will not tire until we have destroyed it...''.

III “Comrades, the capitalist oppression is over,’’ the commandant began, holding up a finger in warning before an audience that was desperately trying to find meaning in his words. ’’From today, the people are in charge. There will be no more landowners to exploit you, no financial speculators. All businesses will be nationalized and tax havens closed down.’’ As the speech went on, the crowd grew more and more confused. ’’Maybe it’s not us he’s talking to,’’ they muttered. ’’This reminds me of one of the padre’s sermons.’’ ’’It would’ve been better if the Moors had invaded us.’’ However, all their doubts evaporated when the speaker moved onto more concrete subjects, things of common interest and general understanding. ’’The land belongs to all of us now.’’ This unexpected declaration struck the ears of all those present, and was followed by a collective murmur that gradually overwhelmed the voice of the commandant, forcing him to speak louder to make himself heard. As the wall of whispers increased in intensity, isolating the orator’s words, he found that his vocal cords were wavering, until eventually, like a flame in a bell jar, his voice was extinguished into silence. This was followed by a few moments of great confusion, a tumult that the soldiers were unable to control with their pushing and threatening. The people then began to put the revolutionary theories into practice by issuing orders. ’’No one touches my pig,’’ shouted one irate farmer, brandishing an imaginary hoe. This ignited the others, who protested heatedly against the proposal for agrarian reform and Castro-inspired collectivization. Surprised at the fanatical response from the people, who were proving more reactionary and bourgeois than welcoming, as the oppressed were supposed to be with their liberators, the 66


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preview of a novel Commandant was experiencing the first signs of a tremendous headache. He took a deep breath and replied as sweetly and gently as he could: ’’The pig belongs to the people, comrade.’’ (he was imagining himself savouring slices of cured ham). But as he was getting ready to explain the benefits of abolishing private property and dividing up personal wealth and capital equipment, another man called out rudely, ’’What about the women? Do they belong to the people too?’’ This raised a roar of coarse laughter, as was usual in those parts. Having definitively lost their fear of intervening – which was indeed a revolution – the masses erupted in a chorus of spoken thoughts, revealing their inner most feelings. ’’You can have my wife any time!’’ ’’Let's get down to it then, drop your drawers, Maria!’’ ’’Oh, my poor daughters!’’ Worn-out and bad-tempered given the failure of the debriefing session, the commandant felt like ordering half a dozen men to be shot as an example. He tried to restore order by saying the first thing that came into his head. ’’From now on, pornography is banned.’’ This got him embroiled in an argument with the protesters, who were getting noisier by the minute. “But we haven’t got that here yet.’’ ’’An ounce of prevention is better than a pound of cure.’’ ’’Sorry, I’m not sure about something ….’’ ’’What is it?’’ “A romp in the hay with the neighbour’s wife, does that count as pornography?’’ ‘’Well…not if she’s a comrade, but if she’s a capitalist, than yes, obviously it does.’’ “And if she’s neither?’’ “That’s impossible. Anyone who is not with us is against us.’’ “That’s very complicated.’’ “And what about doing the five-knuckle shuffle?’’ “Enough!’’ shouted the commandant, furious at the people’s lack of discipline.’’ This rabble is completely ungovernable,’’ he ruminated. He was at a loss as to how to deal with the chaos that he had created. In the meantime, some of the people had begun to insult each other, reviving old feuds, scoffing, and generally threatening to transform the debriefing session into a pitched battle. The soldiers, unused to such attitudes, suspected that these must be very strange and complex people, maybe even a little crazy. They hesitated about what to do. Once more, the commandant proved that he could deal with the most sensitive situations with enviable sang-froid: two shots into the air were enough to calm people down and reduce the clamour to a deathly silence. The square now looked as if it were filled with stiff statues modelled by an unimaginative sculptor. An idealistic archaeologist or art critic might have thought that they were a group of 67


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preview of a novel believers before an epiphany. Not a miracle of the sun perhaps, as for this they would have had to have been staring at the sky with mouths agape. Maybe a cherub falling to earth. However, some minutes later, these poetic reflections ceased to make sense as the aforementioned statues gradually came to life with faltering movements and expressions of stupefaction on their faces. Dazzled by his own magic, the commandant savoured the moment, more convinced than ever that one shot was worth a thousand words. He addressed the protesters again, this time with more confidence, his arms outstretched as if to embrace the crowd. ’’I can see that I didn’t make myself clear, comrades. This can all be summed up as a process of dialectic, whereby the opposition of contrary concepts gives rise to the perfect synthesis. That is to say, what used to be mine and yours is no longer mine or yours; it’s now ours. Do we understand each other?’’ The pig owner, who greatly appreciated sausages and brined meat, was visibly distressed, and muttered: ’’he won’t eat pig feed....’’ But all the others remained silent. This subtle example of popular wisdom, where silence can mean anything at all, from a given thing to its exact opposite, left the commandant wary. He then realised that facing a silent crowd could be a much more difficult undertaking that confronting a noisy mob. Meanwhile, used to simple yet incontestable language, the people were waiting to be given clear orders and specific instructions. For the self same reason, they become more rowdy when the commandant urged them to speak up, in what he called a session of criticism and self-criticism. ’’Comrades, to perfect our new classless society, each of us will say what he or she thinks about himself or herself and about others.’’ This unexpected invitation was received with astonishment by those present, now entirely convinced that some sort of plot was being hatched against them. “I told you he was a padre in disguise.’’ “He just wants to know where we keep our money.’’ “Anyone who speaks will be hanged.’’ With the sentiment of the people explained, verbalized in collective fears, no one dared to open their mouth. Helplessly watching on as his strategy crumbled around him, the commandant felt a new urge to draw his gun, recalling the old psychological manipulation techniques he had learned at elementary school. ’’Anyone who finds his tongue gets some chocolate,’’ he cried, his face trapped in a satanic angelic smirk. ’’Some chocolate?’’ the people called out, unable to contain the saliva pouring from their lips. “Yes, some chocolate.’’ “The good stuff?’’ “The best money can buy.’’ 68


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preview of a novel A huge tumult broke loose once again in the throng, with everyone jostling for position, leaping in the air and trampling on feet as they struggled to be granted the right to speak. This time the soldiers, themselves deprived of the pleasure of the capitalist invention known as chocolate, had no qualms about unleashing their rifle butts on the crowds. What was the point of eating delicacies once your teeth have been bashed out? Finally, when everyone had settled down, following the example of those spread-eagled on the floor, their skulls cracked, their ribs broken, the commandant ordered that everyone sign up to talk. To everyone’s surprise, the process was all very civil, without any insults or blows. The only break in the proceedings came with some angry voices, proclaiming, ’’Exploiters and the exploited will only cease to exist on the day everyone eats chocolate mousse!’’ “Pastry chefs of the world unite!’’

IV When he returned, he found the devil, sitting cross-legged in the now-cold chair where J. E. Hoover had once sat, tapping his fingers on the table. He gazed at him naturally, as if they were old acquaintances at a scheduled meeting. ’’It’s just as well you came.’’ Charming as ever, the devil replied beguilingly, ’’Unlike others, I am always available when I am needed.’’ “I have often been on the point of calling for you, so many afflictions have I suffered, but I have always managed to extricate myself on my own…’’ “You know, you and I are similar, we have much in common. We started off as good-hearted angels that knew no evil, one obedient, the other already a little rebellious, until one day, knowing that we were the most intelligent, we got fed-up and decided to taste the pleasures of evil. From then on, so sweet are the delights of being evil, there was no way back. However, your resistance even surprises me...’’ “But I’m tired. I don't have the energy I had before, and I need your help so as not to lose the meaning of my life.’’ The devil stroked his goatee and gazed idly at the ceiling. ’’Nobody knows this, not even you, but I have lent a hand to all the great leaders that have gone down in posterity, filling them with vigour when they wanted to give up, removing a powerful enemy from their path, ensuring that they received boundless affection from their people and sometimes even from those they had conquered. So now it’s your turn. Just ask what you want and it shall be granted.’’ Fidel, stood a polite distance away, took a deep breath, and took a deep look inside himself. Then finally, he took a step towards the devil. ’’In the future I want to be remembered as the man that confronted the tyranny of capitalism and rescued the people from exploitation. I want schoolbooks to describe the new society I built and compare it with the previous one. I want my life to be studied, and without hiding my mistakes, to conclude that I did everything possible to

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preview of a novel give the men and women of this world a more worthy existence.’’. When he had stopped speaking, now almost touching the devil, Fidel was exhausted, on the point of fainting. “It will be done.’’ “’What do you want in exchange?’’ The devil’s lip curled and he rubbed an eye, amused at Fidel’s naivety. ’’You have been making part of the payment for many years now. As for the rest, I’ll be round to collect that after the battle, in which none of your men will come out alive.’’ Hardly surprised and knowing only too well who made the rules, Fidel was rebellious to a fault, even to the prince of darkness. Already imagining himself organising a mutiny amongst the condemned souls of hell, he dared ask an embarrassing question that had been niggling him. ’’Don’t take this badly, my dear devil..., but what if God by chance decides to intervene in the battle as well?’’ At this, Lucifer’s horns, which till then had been hidden by his thick shock of black hair, began to protrude, the hairs on his body stood on end and blue sparks began to fly from his eyes. Vexed, he got to his feet, overturning his chair, and stared furiously at El Comandante. Old doubts as to Fidel Castro’s malevolence began to stir in him. Before disappearing in the same way as he had arrived, with blood on his bitten tongue, he thundered a sarcastic retort that made the tent tremble: ’’Just look at the world and tell me who is the strongest!’’ To be continued…

João Cerqueira, a PhD in History of Art from the University of Oporto, has published a number of books in his home country of Portugal. These include scholarly works on history and art – Art and Literature in the Spanish Civil War (published in Portugal and Brazil), a biography of the Portuguese queen, Maria Pia of Savoy, and three satirical novels: A Culpa é Destes Liberdades (Blame it on to much Freedom, 2007); A Tragédia de Fidel Castro (Saída de Emergência Edições, 2008) and Reflexões do Diabo (Devil's Observations, 2010). The second of these, translated here as The Tragedy of Fidel Castro, was voted book of the month and book of the year in 2009 by the literary magazine Os Meus Livros and an excerpt was published in the Toad Suck Review #2.

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interview 21.

HS CHANDALIA STROLLS WITH ANIL GEORGE

Anil George treads the Red Carpet at Cannes and Says it is all ‘He’ who Did It

A young man from Haryana’s hinterland struggles in Bollywood, devotes twenty long years to theatre and finally when walks the red carpet at Cannes International Film Festival, bows down with humility to say it is all ‘He’ who does things, not me or anyone else - A humility not so very common in the celebrities from the silver screen. George spent more than twenty years with theatre and worked with eminent film directors like Gulzaar and saw the limelight when a film in which he had the lead role was nominated to be screened at Cannes Film festival in France. The film named Miss Lovely depicts the life of such facets of the glamour world which touches the heart of the viewers seeing the plight of young girls who are compelled to make sacrifices in the quest of success in the world of glamour. It is located in 1980s Bollywood when C grade films were made by some little known producers and directors to earn money. The film depicts the story of two brothers who are into this trade and the girl character that double crosses them. It also portrays the dilemma of the protagonist Vicky Duggal played by Anil George. The film is yet to be officially released but has created a stir among the film world, especially who care for the serious purposeful cinema. In an exclusive interview Anil George recounted his experiences and said that though he is enjoying all the attention he is getting from film lovers across the globe, he is in pursuit of something more. “Cannes, which was a dream, has happened, but what next is the question that haunts me.” He has performed in Hu Tu Tu, a film directed by Gulzaar, Blue Umbrella directed by Wishal Bhardwaj, Hawaein directed by Amitoj Mann,Veer Sawarkar directed by Ved Rahi, Kabhi Paas Kabhi Fail directed by Virendra Saini, Savera directed by Mohan Hari, Chamundi ( 71


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interview Kannad) directed by M.Gandhi, Mera Vatan Panjab directed by Sukhwinder Singh and Zinda Dil directed by Mohan Baggad. Though in films Anil George has excelled to the top, his first love remains theatre with which he is so passionately attached. He narrates his experiences of the play Ghalib directed by Sayeed Alam. The play depicts the life of the famous Urdu poet Mirza Ghalib. In this play four different actors played Ghalib in different age groups from childhood till seventy years of his age. Tom Alter played Ghalib of the seventy years while Anil George played middle-aged Ghalib. George told that the play successfully brings out the intriguing personality of Mirza Ghalib. He is projected as a master yet a rundown poet, privileged yet pitiable elite. It is middle part of his life which is the most intriguing and that was played by Anil George. George can sing very well. He sang one of the Ghazals of Ghalib and showed how deeply he was immersed in his character’s life. Other important theatre performances which have been well received by the audience and critics include Uljhan, Madhukanthi Saanp, Nilanjana Suman, Bakhai, Leena, Maatadeen Chand Par, Sageena Mahto, Golden Fish, Panch Tantra, Ghalib, Ghalib in New Delhi, Ghalib Ke Khat, Ghalib Ki Wapsi, Aur Subah Ho Gayee and Chautha Majusi. Anil is very modest and doesn’t want to speak about his contributions. He says, “If I talk about all this, it appears as if I am being too loud, in fact, it is all the wish of the almighty.”He has done a number of T.V. serials, some of which are very popular e.g. Yug directed by Sunil Agnihotri, Itihas directed by Gogi Anand, Shaktimaan, directed by Mukesh Khanna, Captain Vyom directed by Ketan Mehta, Deewarein directed by Imtiaz Khan, Ankhein directed by Moti Sagar, Raja Satyavadi Harischandra, directed by Sunil Agnihotri, Gul Sanovar directed by Sunil Agnihotri, Sanjah Kunbah directed by M. Beri. Murrabiyan Wali directed by Niloufar and Aage aage Dekhiye Hota Hei Kya directed by Arthur Victor.

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interview Anil George is a man of passion with immense faith in the Almighty and a deep rooted humility which makes him all the more spiritual.

H. S. Chandalia is a Professor of English at Central University, Mahendragarh (Haryana). He has published nine books of which two are poetry collections in Hindi, some twenty five or so research articles and has also been associated with the Press Trust of India since 2001. For one year he was an advisor to Dainik Bhaskar and also served the Times of India as a correspondent for one year.

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new book releases 22.

BOOK RELEASES

Book Title: KEYS IN THE RIVER – Notes from a modern Chimurenga Author: Tendai Mwanaka Category: Fiction Publisher: Savant Books And Publications ISBN: 978-0985250621 Published Year: August 2012 Edition: Pocketbook (8 x 5.2 x 0.6 inches) Pages: 252 Price: $16.95

Book Title: THE YELLOW NIB Author: Multiple Editor: Sudeep Sen Category: Poetry Publisher: Queen’s University Belfast ISBN: Published Year: August 2012 Edition: Paperback Pages: 289

Book Title: THE REVOLUTION AND OTHER STORIES Author: Vinay Capila Category: Story Anthology Publisher: Angus and Graphers Publishers Pvt. Ltd. ISBN: 978-93-80254-05-0 Published Year: 2012 Edition: Paper Back Pages: 293 Price: $8.99/£5.65

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new book releases Book Title: MACHIAVELLI FOR MORAL PEOPLE Author Pavan Choudary Category: Politics/Management/Self-help Publisher: Wisdom Village Publications ISBN: 978938070112 ISBN: 9789380710303 Edition: (paperback) / MRP Rs. 125/. (Hardback) /MRP Rs. 175/. Pages: 150

Book Title: THE ARTIST AS MYSTIC Author: Alex Stein Category: Criticism Publisher: Onesuch Press, London. ISBN: 9780 9872760-4-9 Published Year: 2010 Edition: Paperback Pages: 86

Book Title: MAKING A POEM Author: Vihang A. Naik Category: Criticism Publisher: Allied Publishers Limited, Mumbai, India. ISBN: 81 - 7764 - 584 – 6 Published Year: 2004 Edition: Hardbound

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new book releases Book Title: LOST IN SEATTLE Author: Bruce Louis Dodson Category: Fiction Publisher: Shiva Delivers (May 6, 2012) Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc. ASIN: B00819TZVM Published Year: 2012 Edition: Digital (Amazon) Pages: 345 Price: $2.99 Book Title: IN THE HIMALAYAN NIGHTS Author: Anoop Chandola Category: Fiction Publisher: Savant Books and Publications, Honolulu, Hawaii, USA. ISBN 978-0-9829987-0-0 Published Year: March 2012 Edition: Pocketbook - 6" x 9" Pages: 286 Price $16.95.

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new book releases

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editor’s talk Contemporary Literary Review India (CLRI) is a rapidly growing literary journal and has become reckoning in a very short span of time. CLRI receives huge submission each month from writers belonging to a wide range of professions from around the world. CLRI is not limited to publishing the writings, it promotes the writers and their writings in many ways. CLRI also helps the writers by providing some paid services so they do not have any hurdle in their publishing career. Manuscript Editing: Publishers and printers do not read your entire manuscript. They read just a few first chapters and decide whether your manuscript is print-ready. If you go for selfpublishing, readers will value you little which in turn, down rates your market value as a potential writer if your manuscript is not well edited. CLRI provides professional editing services to enhance the chances of your manuscript getting selected with the publishers. We have professional editors with vast experience in editing who prepare your manuscripts to suit the publishers’ requirements. Review Writing: The best way to promote your books is to get them reviewed by a publication. When you write a book it is very important that the concept of your subject and book is brought to the people with all its values. But to tell you the truth the scope of getting a book reviewed is too bleak. CLRI provides book review writing service so that all writers have their turn and their valuable works are evaluated in all respects. Digital Formatting: Given the fact that technology has permeated to all walks of life, traditional publishers are fast moving to digital publication. Many publishers have created their separate department for converting their already published books to digital formats to make them compatible with different kinds of technology-based devices. So that the techno-savvy people can also buy the books and read them on the devices such as ebook readers, tablets, slides, laptops, computers, smartphones, and other gadgets. CLRI helps you prepare your manuscripts for digital publishing. We convert manuscripts before the writers go for digital version either because they opt for self-publishing or get a publisher for digital version. Writers’ Promotion: Getting your books published is just the first step. As an author you need to promote your writing and concept. CLRI runs a column on Featured Author where we post a flyer along with a slug line about the book and a link to the book store. This helps you enhance the possibility of gaining popularity as well as sell your books. For details, please visit: CLRI Services.

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editor’s talk Contemporary Literary Review India (CLRI) is gearing up for its annual print issue (ISSN 22503366) by late January 2013 or early February 2013. Contemporary Literary Review India Annual 2013 Print Edition is special in many ways. CLRI will include the best original pieces from around the world and some of the best pieces published with online literary journals in India only. For details, please check CLRI Annual 2013 print issue.

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CLRI November 2012  

Contemporary Literary Review India November 2012 issue brings to you a collection of POEMS by Mahima Giri, Scarlet Monahan, Smita Anand Sriw...

CLRI November 2012  

Contemporary Literary Review India November 2012 issue brings to you a collection of POEMS by Mahima Giri, Scarlet Monahan, Smita Anand Sriw...

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