TMYS Review June 2020 : Urban Rural Distinction and Women


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    Title : City Lights - Where do I Belong?!

    Category : Nonfiction

    Author : Amrita Chakraborty

    Author intro : An observer and a seeker, with a tinge of talent to laugh on her own self, Amrita is trying to find stories between the woods, the wind and the hearts of  many unknown women and men.  She is a writer in search of the right words, to tell the silent stories that revolve around us, about us. Amrita has been working in the Television industry for the past ten years; her initial 6 years were with Zee Entertainment Enterprises as a content programmer handling various TV shows like Agle janam, Afsar Bitiya, etc. representing the broadcaster.  Four years back the writing bug finally bit her hard. She left Zee programming to write for television and started with writing screenplays for various soaps, one of them being Nisha Aur Uske Cousins for Star Plus. Still discontent with her inner creative craving, , she kept on pursuing various opportunities that came her way as a writer. In 2016 her screenplay got selected till the 2nd round of Mumbai Mantra script writing competition for a full-length feature film. Apart from that she is pitching stories for web, writing blogs,  even writing poetry to keep the flame burning. Moreover,  she has just finished writing a novel and is now in the due process of publishing.  Very soon she will be shooting her own short film as well. 

    Excerpt :

    I had come to live in this exciting and expensive city nine years back. Before that, all my life I had been raised in various small towns of the country. So, I still can't say where I belong, because I think I belong a little to everywhere I have been, to meet people and share experiences. When I shifted, people around me found it weird when they asked me where I belonged, and I would never have any specific answer.  A few were  generous enough to demean me not-so-subtely, saying, "Ahhh !!! Okay so, I am sure you will never have an in-depth understanding of any specific root since you don't belong anywhere!" I felt bad, but that was the truth.

    I didn’t belong anywhere…

    So, this question kept me very confused. During those initial years of my city life, trying to make a good living somehow, this "not belonging anywhere" tag started making me feel lesser than others, inferior in so many ways.

    Hence, as a defense mechanism, I started trying to fit into the so-called cool culture of the city. My profession demanded me to be a certain way. Well, frankly it was not my profession, but the professionals around me who wanted that. So, without even processing their opinions and thoughts I took them very seriously and tried my best to ape them.

    Gosh! I was such a loser!

    I felt miserable often; But I ignored the feeling.

    People were having fun at my expense. But I didn't mind that because all I wanted to be was a part of something! Something cool, that even I wasn't very clear about. Deep down I wanted to permanently belong there, somewhere!

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


    Title : The Story of a Song

    Category : Fiction

    Author : Deepta Dixit

    Author intro : Deepta is a creative junkie,  Radio head,  audio girl,  spiritual soul, painter, book addict, dog Lover. A universal energy.

    Excerpt :

    "A Sad song usually means a heartbreak. "

    "A sad yet hopeful song means your ex is still on your mind."

    "A happy song reminds you of the happy memories with your ex. In rare cases, your present."

    "An old song reminds you of your parents."

    "A dance number is the most frivolous of all genres. They are like one-night stands. Good for the night and you call upon them only for another exciting night-out. The drama of emotions does not bother them. They're free-spirited and frivolous."

    "I love dance numbers. I like the fact that it could mean I am free-spirited. But am I frivolous?"

    Random thoughts like these were not anything unusual for Meena. Her mind could give Bolt, the canine superstar, a run for his money. Thoughts, thoughts and more thoughts inside her brain were beating each other to the non-existent finishing line. She turned each of them into little ideas that decorated her radio channel; A place that she loved.

    "I was called creative; so I thought I must be. I just know I love music and that's why I do what I do." She told an intern who had joined the station that day.

    "We manage music.  Though truth be told, it’s the music that manages us.  Close your eyes. Think of a song that makes you happy. Whose face comes to your mind? "

    The intern blushed.

    "Point made, now get out. This is what I can teach you. For the rest, you need to fall in love with what's on your plate. Also, I don't know your name. And I don't care. I'll call you New Release."

    As New Release walked away with from Meena, she thought of the times when she had been new.

    Why was she here? Things went on rewind and… pause! Those were the times when you paid 25 rupees to get a 90-minute cassette filled, rather than the playlist on Apple music. Missing out on Chitrahaar for the damned Wednesday which aired a new song from the most awaited film, could break hearts into pieces, because then a music release didn't come with a social media tsunami. That was a time when music meant something else and music makers…

    "Meena! Meena!" Her thought bubble was busted by Anthony.

    "Oh sorry.."

    "Rewind mode?"

    "You know that keeps happening with me." She stretched her hands to overcome the dreamy lethargy.

    "You need to meet Chandar babu today. He wants to showcase his music on our station and you are going to be listening to his brand new tracks." Anthony declared.

    "Noooooo!" Meena grimaced. "The last song he made was like a decade ago. I'm sure his music is crap. Don't torture me. I will compensate for my bad behaviour with more hours of work. Oh, wait! That I already do every day! Please be nice to me. You go in my place." She pleaded.

    Anthony smiled. "I agree, Meena. You are right."

    Meena's hopeful face lit up, only to fall flat with the very next sentence from Anthony.

    "But why do you think I am sending you?" He burst out into a peal of evil laughter.

    "You are an ass! You know that, right." Meena looked at him with disdain.

    He walked away blowing her a kiss.

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


    Title : The Anonymous

    Category : Nonfiction

    Author : Sheela Bisht

    Author intro : Sheela has been a Computer Science lecturer by profession and now she is a home maker. Reading has been her hobby. She discovered her writing skills recently and hasn’t stopped since.

    Excerpt :

    She was a distant relative, a widow. When I had my first baby, my mother-in-law brought her from our village to help me. Everybody called her "Mohana izza" which means Mohan's mother in Kumaoni dialect of Uttarakhand. Mohan was her only child. I never heard anybody calling her by her real name. Apart from her fields, she had no other source of income. My mother-in-law would help her financially whenever she could.

    She was a very simple and cheerful lady. She lived with her son in a small house in the village. Whenever someone used to come from the city to a village-house, that family would distribute sweets in the neighbourhood. On such occasions, she felt very sad because she had no one who would bring sweets for her. This was one of the reasons she loved and respected us so much. Because we would give her the chance to distribute sweets in her neighbourhood. Though she was very poor, she was always thankful to God for whatever she had. I never saw her complaining about her situation and found her very optimistic about life.

    Whenever we visited our village, she would make sure to give us a bag full of produce from her farm in return for the goodies we brought for her. She always kept the best rice, the best raagi flour and the best of everything from her fields, for us. Earlier I would get annoyed with all this because in Delhi we have a small family and it was always difficult to consume all the farm produce. On one such occasion, my husband told me, "Don't say no to her. She has only these things to give us. Accept it happily. See the gratitude, the elation on her face. Don't deprive her of it." I realized my folly that day. From then on I never objected to her gifts and relished her glee year after year.

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


    Title : Indian Women In-between Country and City

    Category : Essay

    Author : Dhrubaa Mukherjee

    Author intro : Dhrubaa Mukherjee has a Ph.D. in English Literature and Language from Texas A&M University. Her areas of interest include contemporary South Asian literature and culture, Indian cinema, Bengali culture and history, Postcolonial, transnational, and feminist discourses. She is a contributor to Huffington Post and manages the blog called Not a Curry. 

    Abstract : This essay aaalyses three stories, City Lights – Where do I belong?! By Amrita Chakraborty, Lady with no Name by Sheela Bisht, and The Story of a Song by Deepta Dixit, all written by women writers. The stories focus on how women’s identities are shaped in the interstitial space between city and country, which enables a shift away from the conventional dichotomies between urban and rural, modern and traditional, old and new, and indigenous and western and highlight heterogeneous identities and subject positions. Because to speak only of the rural and the urban, and the traditional and modern as dichotomies is to refer to residual effects of modernist narratives of developments and progress that colonialism has bequeathed to much of the postcolonial world.

    Excerpt : 

    This essay analyses three stories, City Lights - Where do I belong?!, Lady with no Name, and The Story of a Song, all written by women writers. In these stories we see two kinds of India, rural and urban. The stories focus on how women’s identities are shaped in the interstitial space between city and country, which enables a shift away from the conventional dichotomies between urban and rural, modern and traditional, old and new, and indigenous and western and highlight heterogeneous identities and subject positions. Because to speak only of the rural and the urban, and the traditional and modern as dichotomies is to refer to residual effects of modernist narratives of developments and progress that colonialism has bequeathed to much of the postcolonial world. By refusing to be limited by the homogenizing imperatives of the postcolonial capitalist world, these stories voice an anti-capitalist sentiment. The women in these stories belong to disparate socio-economic backgrounds and diverse spatial and temporal dimensions. Their identities are expressed and transformed through social interactions with rural, traditional, and old characters. These interactions help recover the voices that have been silenced under the effect of capitalist domination and bourgeois cultural hegemony that historically position urban characters in positions of power and domination over rural characters.

    City Lights is a story about a woman who feels out of place in a city where she had to move nine years ago for work. Driven by a determination to find a sense of belonging, she mindlessly mimics urban life, trying to fit in with her colleagues, who see her as the “rural other” and make fun of her. She has moments of self-doubts where she becomes aware that her quest to become cosmopolitan is isolating her further from her roots. Until one day the “peon” in her office identifies her as the only simple and relatable person in the office and offers her homemade sweets. She is reminded in this moment that she doesn’t have to “mimic” a certain lifestyle to “fit in anywhere”. 

    Lady with no Name details how an urban woman’s perspective about the material conditions of a happy and successful life were transformed through her interactions with, “Mohana izza”, a woman from the village who had come to help her family in Delhi when she had a child. Mohana izza’s simplicity and generosity made her realize the pleasures and happiness of a simple life, a sense of life that she had passed on to her son, Mohan.

    The third story, The Story of a Song, details how the cynical Meena, who represents the urban, the new, and the modern, is touched by a song composed by Chandar Babu, one who represents everything that is old, traditional and unfashionable. In his style, clothes, speech, he reminds Meena of an old India with “Indian beats”, “harmonium instead of the synth’, and “yester-year” lyrics that she had dismissed as “boring”. But as they converse about his new music, Meena learns that what connects humans is emotion, the intensity of love and relations, and not some preconceived notions of what is considered good music. In this, as she is reminded of her lost love, she embraces the traditional.

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


    You can also read the above stories here : https://www.amazon.in/Women-Their-Stories-Tell-Story-ebook/dp/B085GKM43S/

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