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    TMYS Review June 2020 : The Bold Women and Social Rebels

    GENDER IDENTITIES AND SOCIAL REALITIES : ESSAYS AND STORIES ON INDIAN WOMEN

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    Subcategory VIII :

    THE BOLD WOMEN AND SOCIAL REBELS

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    Title : It’s Me

    Category : fiction

    Author : Tapan Mozumdar

    Author intro : Tapan does real estate construction as his day job and writes short stories and poems at night. He was selected for Star TV Writers program, Bangalore Literature Festival (Bookmark event for new writers) and Jaipur Literature Festival (First Book event). He is one of the winners of the 'Times Of India, Write India – 2'. His stories are published in Kitaab, Café Dissensus, Different Truths, The Spark and other literary magazines. He lives in Bengaluru with his extended family.

    Excerpt :

    The luxury bus left a billow of grey smoke behind as it roared and drove down the slope of the hilly road. It soon swallowed up the perplexed face of Shyamal, calling her aloud from the footrest of the rear door. . Standing in the middle of the road, looking at thebus’ décor rainbow parrots as they distanced themselves from her,  Saavan suppressed a chuckle. It was funny;the way the birds faced away and yet their necks were turned to look at each other. 'Till we meet again,' the sign in between the two birds read in Kannada.

    It had been drizzling throughout their stay at Coorg. Saavan checked on her backpack; it was well covered, just like her head and rest of her torso. Her trousers and sneakers were waterproof, bought during her solo trip to Hong Kong three years back, survivors of many a trek that she had done in-between. A few solos, with fellow trekkers, most of them with her husband back home, Ananth.

    'What would he be doing now?' Saavan wondered and felt the flat screen of the mobile in the pocket of her jacket.

    "The signal may be weak up here, you may hear false rings," that was her usual refrain, "Don't worry, I shall be fine." Ananth would know that to be true; he had been her companion since they were teenagers. Saavan was at her finest when alone.

    (Read more here : https://www.amazon.in/dp/B08BZXYH4X )

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    Title : The Mistress of Darkness

    Category : fiction

    Author : Purnesh Bhattacharya

    Author intro : In 1998, Purnesh Bhattacharya graduated with a degree in Economics. But the story changed. Circa 2000, Purnesh had found his true calling in advertising. Maybe was his the passion for writing which took him to his desired shores. For the last two decades, he has been an integral part of the advertising fraternity in various creative roles after a modest beginning as a Junior Graphic Designer. Now he is serving as the Creative Director of an advertising agency. He is a self-declared learner. In his two decades of advertising journey, Purnesh has won two coveted international awards. He specializes in ideation, in creating proposals to pitch creative ideas, branding and developing memorable campaigns for the healthcare sector. For the last eight years, he has passionately excelled in healthcare advertising. Apart from his passionate indulgence with advertising, he writes, he reads, he swims, he photographs, and he travels extensively. In the coming years, Purnesh holds a personal vision to be a fulltime writer, a thoughtful photographer, a creative advisor and a consultant for anybody who wants to do anything that is holistically creative. He blogs at – www.virtuousvociferous.blogspot.in

    Excerpt :

    The instructions issued by my mother were concise.

    They sounded more like rules.

    A violation would lead to immediate punishment.

    Yet, I was relentless in pursuit of the one, she had advised me against.

    I remember I had just resigned from my second job in the span of one year.

    I was twenty-three, absolutely casual about being what I was.

    Any responsibility seemed like an alien term to me.

    And I was least bothered to attend a cousin's wedding that seemed like some propaganda to chain me down.

    At the wedding, I came across a group of ladies, who were busy murmuring something. My mom didn't waste any time in joining them; These ladies were our relatives. The only words which I overheard were that of my mom – ‘Is it? She is never going to mend her ways! At this age too, she desires to be the man-eater. Bitch!’

    Suddenly their heads turned.

    Silence took over.

    The gossip faded out.

    Rumours died.

    She walked in. She took a seat. She smiled at the ladies. They smiled back at her.

    (Read more here : https://www.amazon.in/dp/B08BZXYH4X )

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    Title : The Girl in the Bus

    Category : Nonfiction

    Author : Gaurav Sharma Lakhi

    Author intro : A writer of musings and emotions, Gaurav Sharma follows two passions rarely found within the same individual: Mathematics and Writing. The former feeds him but the latter satiates him. Born in September 1973, he has been teaching mathematics for the last twenty-three years and has worked in reputed schools of Delhi. In addition to a degree in mathematics, he has a master's degree in English literature. He has been writing since his childhood. The passion kept him growing ambitious over the years. His pen has produced three widely acclaimed novels- 'Love @ Air Force' (2013), 'RAPESCARS... They Never Heal' (2014), 'Dawn At Dusk (2016)', and a children's storybook 'Unbudgeted Innocence' (2017). As an author, he yearns to create a stir through his stories. He lives on the outskirts of Delhi with his wife, Swati and two children, Arnav and Akshika.

    Excerpt :

    Last week, I had to travel to Uttarakhand with a friend for some work. We both were short of time and had to return the next day. UP is not safe to drive at night so we chose to travel by Volvo. The bus was scheduled to depart at 11 and we were at our dual sleeper-seat well before time. On the seat opposite us was lying a girl, barely 18 or 19, who was traveling alone. She was cheerful; frankly talking to the bus conductor and a boy who had a chair-seat below our sleeper and seemed as old as she was. My friend had forgotten his phone charger. When he asked, the girl readily gave him hers.

    Tired of repeated requests, the driver didn't start. We engaged ourselves in a conversation. The chirpy girl was busy with the boy and occasionally with the conductor. After all the seats were full, the bus finally pulled off at quarter to midnight. Much to our amazement, the boy climbed up to the girl's sleeper as soon as the bus pushed forward. Many passengers had employed their eyes in witnessing the boy's actions while the conductor watched it with his mouth open. I wondered how the two adequately built adolescents would manage in a two-feet broad sleeper.

    While my co-passengers had a shine of amusement in their eyes, imagining what the young couple were up to, I was concerned about the vulnerability they were inviting. I am not orthodox and having passed the greater part of my life teaching adolescents, I would not fret over them seeking fun during a night-journey, though with partial approval.

    (Read more here : https://www.amazon.in/dp/B08BZXYH4X )

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    Title : The Journey Beyond: From Chaos to Symphony

    Category : Essay

    Author : Deyasini Roy

    Author intro : Deyasini Roy is a promising young poet who hails from Chandannagar, a town in the Indian state of West Bengal. She’s currently pursuing her postgraduate degree in English and Comparative Literature from Pondicherry University, India.  Poetry has occupied a conspicuous part of her childhood and therefore she would certainly spare no pains in seeing her tender thoughts sprout. She’s greatly influenced by the British and American Romantic Poets, especially William Wordsworth and Walt Whitman. She’s contributed to the esteemed International Almanac of World Poetry, The Muse of New Paradigm: An Entry into Poepro, Plethora's International Coffee Table Book, Volume 1 and various International Online Magazines of repute including The Glomag, The Harbinger Asylum, Different Truths and Universul Culturii of late. She has won a few poetry contests online and was conferred with the South Asian Literary Award by Sahitya Deshkaal, The Mirror of Time on 3rd of November 2019. She has recently won the Nobel laureate Kabi Rabindranath Tagore Award in February 2020. She has been nominated for the iWoman Global Awards 2020. She loves to set recourse to the idyllic and pastoral and record her impressionably sensitive response to the lilting cadence of nature rendered in a swirl of lurid slashes and subtle brush strokes. She envisions Nature beyond her mortal eyes in a celestial choir lending subdued shades to her canvas and her world invariably imbues with its transcending colours.

    Abstract : The purpose of the essay is to highlight the functioning of the repressive feminine unconscious with reference to three short stories - It's Me by Tapan Mozumdar, The Girl in the Bus by Gaurav Sharma Lakhi and The Mistress of Darkness by Purnesh Bhattacharya - be it the inhibitory physiological effect on the serial killer’s sexual operation, the erotic frankness of a tender girl, or the gloriously awakened presence of another rebellious woman. It emphasizes the shaping of a greater collective cultural consciousness, to look at the world through an empathetically sensitive lens of a fresher feminine sensibility that ensures a newer vision of the feminine by removing the cataract of hypocritical capitalist power structures. The essay also focuses upon the realization of the spiritual potential of the self, its outward blossoming into lucid openness. Much like the mysterious power of inspiration that either flows through a supraliminal downpour or a subliminal upsurge, flows her individuality, her desire for an independent self through the depths of her subterranean consciousness into her pulsating veins, with each woman now merged into the other to form a unified whole. It leads to the final discovery of her selfhood in her previously disillusioned state. She now takes the “road not taken” by crossing the borders of her self, plucking out the impediments of the patriarchal prerogative that culturally subjected her self to wrongful imprisonment. She even dares to die to reincarnate herself by crossing the structural bridge of her feminine corporeality, the same bridge that reconciles what modern subjectivity and platonic metaphysics have split apart: her body and her self.

    Excerpt :

    ‘The trees inside are moving out into the forest

    The forest that was empty all these days

    The trees are stumbling forward into the night

    Winds rush to meet them

    The moon is broken like a mirror

    Its pieces flash now in the crown

    Of the tallest oak.’        

    (Rich 99)

     

    Feminism constitutes a decisive watershed in the history of literary theory, when a new panorama of artistic endeavours develops that moves into a new direction teeming with possibilities, to look into the world of women's identity through the discursive prism of a new feminist understanding. As Rich says in Trees, ‘the winds now rustle like autumn leaves to meet the trees that had long been caught in a swirling vortex of non-choice and denial of selfhood’. The Trees now "flash in the crown of the tallest oak" (line 32) as they gradually emerge, as Rich says in Trees “clinic doors, half-dazed, moving"(lines 15-16) as paradigms of resistance possessing enormous potency to render assertion of power, much like Virginia Woolf ,who claimed: "Food, house and clothing are mine forever"(Woolf 31). The strong woman that she has grown into now dares to manoeuvre the winds of her will with dexterous hands to reconstitute an authentic restructuring of herself that balances the ecosystem of calculative authoritarian censorship and punctures into the sinister scheme of silence, a silence that was considered to be a metaphorical emblem of "women's historical powerlessness" according to Harris revealing "the political mechanisms behind the powerlessness“(224).

    The sensitive response of literary intelligentsia about the ideological impact of women's liberation movement opened the horizon for fresh departures by cracking into the conventional mould of morality, leading to an awakening that enabled writers to project the newer image of a reactionary rebel woman who no longer wears the submissive, subservient smile of a “Pativrata Nari” (a lady who worships her husband) nor the blindfold of Gandhari but who wears a "shirt, jacket, waterproof trousers and sneakers that had been survivors of many a trek" (Mozumdar 1) and makes valiant affirmations of self-sufficiency- a liberated new being who breaks away from the rusty prison doors of a metaphorical mock-court and becomes as Mishra says, an "evergreen queen of pornography", "a vamp of feminist ideals", "an experimenter of feminism" (Mishra 196)who seeks succour in embracing her truer identity.

    The stories are a melange of resistance, rebellion, and resilience- the tripartite assortment that not only serves as essential demography to understand the deconstruction of phallocentric binaries, but also provides insight into the shaping of a collective cultural consciousness, to look at the world through an empathetically sensitive lens of a newer feminine sensibility that speaks to the specificities of cultural geography; to the necessities of women subjected to cultural conditioning; and as an interpreter of patriarchal maladies, reflecting on the psychologic diaspora of these migrant women dispersing from their original homeland: their emotionally vulnerable private estate to the peripherals of socio-psychological ostracism. Weaving unbridled narratives that are gut-wrenchingly revelatory, these male authors, with mastery over their aesthetic engineering have produced works with the utmost rawness and resonance. The authors’ expansive feminist historiography is not so much an evaluation of the oppressive histories nor is it about the gender apartheid operating within the cultural hegemony. It is a unique exploration into the repressive feminine unconscious whether it is the inhibitory physiological effect on the serial killer's sexual operation, her psychological gratification in the fulfilment of her erotically charged crime as “snatching away husbands” (Bhattacharya 2) or the erotic frankness of the tender girl, using her body and the bus conductor's as an explorer or the rebel Saavan letting the strong carnal currents turbulently sweep through her being, schlepping her senses from her drab, dreary past to an awakened present. The strong women that they are, they contradict the stereotyped paradoxical position available to women by crossing the borders of their self and of the attributive structural bridge of the feminine.

    (Read more here : https://www.amazon.in/dp/B08BZXYH4X )

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    You can also read all the stories referred by the three authors above, here : https://www.amazon.in/dp/B085TBK2ZM/

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