TMYS Review June 2020 : Women and Identity


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    Subcategory IV :



    Title : The Fading Star

    Category : Fiction

    Author : Meera Srikant

    Author Intro : Meera is a freelance content developer, Bharatanatyam dancer and teacher who loves to weave tales out from the lives she observes around her. The human mind fascinates her, and she loves to explore relationships with the self, as well as with others and with the supreme through her stories and poems.

    Excerpt : 

    Rakesh observed Vidya as she scanned the final results list and let out a whoop of joy. Her name was first, as always. She turned and hugged her friend, Surbhi, who pushed her away, still scanning for her own result.

    After Vidya slipped out of the crowd he moved to the front, knowing he had missed the first place again. Yes, he was second. When people around congratulated him, he just nodded gravely and got teased for his modesty. She, on the other hand, was clearly excited and grinned as she thanked those who congratulated her, feeling absolutely on top of the world.

    She gloated when Rakesh's eyes met hers. Yet again she had overtaken him, pushing him to second rank. He congratulated her with ill-concealed resentment and went his way.

    Fate had stitched their lives together in a strange way. The two had been in school together, and except for a couple of times, Vidya had always maintained her first rank while his own shifted from second to lower and back. Had it not been for being so close behind, he may not have cared about how much he scored. But the fact that just a few marks separated their ranks made him want to bring her down. She coolly, and with apparent indifference, maintained her lead. Any heights he touched, she seemed at least a point or two ahead. The only time she fell behind was when she had contracted chicken pox. But in the next term, she had made up and scaled higher.

    When the two separated after twelfth to pursue engineering degrees in different institutions, he didn't slacken because he kept track of her performance and continued to compete. He had no clue if she knew about it.

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


    Title : That Diwali

    Category : fiction

    Author : Dr. Kheya Baidya

    Author intro : Kheya has pursued Literature (MA; B. Ed; PhD; PGDT) as her subject academically. Poetry is her life, her breath, her passion and love. From Chaucer, Donne, to Browning, Kipling, Kamala Das and Vikram Seth, she has fallen in love with each one of them. Charles Lamb and John Keats are the ones who still make her cry. She feels she is blessed to be burning in this pyre of love for poetry. She writes what she feels from the heart, and they just come to her like leafs do to a tree. Kheya has served as a career counsellor at Loreto College, Darjeeling. She was associated with Government college Darjeeling, held talk shows at Akashvani, published poems and articles in Times of India and The Telegraph. Presently, she is working as senior English teacher at DPS, Siluguri.

    Excerpt : 

    She looked out of the window. The streets were illuminated; flickers of intermittent crimson and amber lights were casting varied patterns on the walls of her dark room. The noise of the passing buses, cabs, cars, honking rickshaws, vendors, even faint voices of men and women, though distant, resonated the joyousness of the festivity. It was the day before Diwali. Houses in the neighbourhood were decorated with earthen lamps, electric bulbs, and rangoli.

    Nita liked this darkness. It had entered her life and was going to stay. The last Diwali, her son was with her. It had been years now that her husband had left her. It was he who had named their son, Atlanto - 'one whose depth was fathomless'. But she had brought him up alone.

    "Mamma, don't! I hate the 'thum' sound of the crackers!" Then Antu was three.

     "Mamma! Can I invite my friends this Diwali?" Then Antu was twelve.

     "Mamma! Rashi's parents live in New Town. May I spend the evening with them? They are elated that I got selected at MIT." That was when.....

    That was when ... she had become alone.

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


    Title : The Warmth Of My Blue Pain

    Category : fiction

    Author : Ujjayini Dasgupta                                                      

    Author Intro : Ujjayini was a lecturer in a college. After quitting her job due to relocation, she spent a couple of years teaching in a school. Now she is a full-time mother with a one and half year old son. Writing gives her a sense of liberation, as it helps her to channel her emotions. Besides writing, she enjoys photography.

    Excerpt :

    I opened my eyes as I felt the warm sunlight on my face. My fingers searched for the blue sapphire locket hanging from my neck. "Good morning Mrinmayee," I heard Tanmay's voice. He was standing with his teacup in his hand. I saw the curtains pulled apart to the sides. "How are you feeling?" Tanmay asked. I smiled faintly. The strips of sleeping pills on my bedside table were a witness to my sleepless night. I tried to feel the blue sapphire with my fingers again. Its presence helped me to forget the absence of Sid; my only son, whom I had  lost two months ago.

    I washed my face and came out of the bathroom. Like every day, I stood in front of Sid's photograph. I could see his effervescent smile, something which we hardly saw when he used to be at home. The photograph was taken during one of the performances of his band; my son was its star performer. I touched his face in the photograph with my fingers. I felt the warmth of the blue sapphire. I whispered, "Happy birthday, my son". If Sid was alive today, he would be eighteen years old.

    I heard Bruno's voice as I entered the kitchen. I wanted to bake Sid's favourite chocolate cake on his birthday. Suddenly I remembered, Sid had not been with us for his last two birthdays. He had chosen to spend both days with his friends. He was upset over the growing differences between me and Tanmay. He used to cry whenever we fought. During the last two years, he remained conspicuously absent from home.  My son had changed. We never saw him smile again. When Tanmay and I decided to part ways, he did not say a thing. We never understood what he went through until one day when I smelled the smoke in his room. It was too late- I was too late, to understand that my son had taken refuge in drugs.

    My thoughts were interrupted by Bruno. Bruno was our pet Labrador and Sid's best friend. When Sid was in his death bed, Bruno sat next to him all the time. Sid used to forget his pain, his sufferings for a moment whenever he was with Bruno.

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


    Title : Exploring the Identity Crisis and the Existential Dilemma of the Feminine in the 21st Century.

    Essay by : Paboni Sarkar

    Author intro : Paboni Sarkar is presently pursuing an undergraduate degree in English Literature. She is a second- year student at the Heritage College, Kolkata. English Literature has time and again baffled her, influenced her, inspired her, thrilled her, mesmerized her and has mystified her in its enigmatic ways. She is thoroughly intrigued by its wide, divergent nature and has vowed to be a perpetual admirer of the same. Besides Literature, dance also enthrals her. She is a sincere dance enthusiast, being a Gaudiya dancer.                                            

    Abstract : Virginia Woolf her novel, A Room of one’s own, wrote, “Women have served all these centuries as looking-glasses, possessing the magic and delicious power of reflecting the figure of man at twice its natural size.” This is a timeless proclamation. Womankind, since time immemorial, has striven tirelessly, almost like Sisyphus, to satisfy all the different requirements of her family members, in general, and of the man in particular. They are the invisible, unacknowledged housekeepers of every household, even to this day. This paper attempts to throw light upon the hardships and ineffable agony of three very different women, desperately trying to breathe amidst the smothering mist of patriarchal savagery, and generate if not anything more,  small ripples in the otherwise still ocean of apathetic humanity. The essay is based on three short stories - The Warmth of my Blue Pain by Ujjaini Dasgupta, The Fading Star by Meera Srikant and That Diwali by Dr. Kheya Baidya.

    Excerpt :

    The Fading Star narrates the story of two-highly competitive friends with very little friendship in the relation they shared. Vidya and Rakesh were rather two violently competitive opponents, each striving to secure the top rank at the expense of the other’s failure. However, it was Rakesh, who had to face defeat grudgingly almost every time and see with ill-concealed resentment the glee and satisfaction flashing up brilliantly upon the face of Vidya, when she belittled his score, every time with one or two points more. From school to the very door of the MBA institute they had always been together. At the end of the two years degree, it was again Vidya who had secured the first position, pushing Rakesh to satisfy himself with the second. Being the top scorer, Vidya was offered the highest salary by the best company during campus interview. Rakesh’s offer was not bad but certainly inferior in comparison to hers. However, Rakesh was content with the thought that there would be no more seeing of Vidya’s countenance in the near and distant future as she was heading to Mumbai while he was heading to Delhi for their respective jobs.

    Time moved on in its own, indifferent pace and slowly and gradually with experience Rakesh’s skill improved and with it occurred an enhancement of his position, his job finally taking him to US. Rakesh entered his conjugal life with a simple, sweet girl, had two children and felt that he was doing well in life. But as the days passed, an urge to renew connection with Vidya, his old formidable opponent, strengthened and solidified in the deepest recess of his conscience. Perhaps, it was not the immature competitive spirit but an ineffable, matured curiosity as to what bright prospects an individual of extraordinary caliber as of Vidya’s had risen to, propelled Rakesh to probe through the contacts list in the groups common to both and even search for her in Facebook and Linkedin. What he gathered further was indeed strange, for the admins of the different social groups revealed that “She does not want to be part of any group”.

    Rakesh didn’t give up and his endeavour bore fruit when he gathered from Surbhi, a particular friend of Vidya, that Vidya was staying on the weast coast in US and provided him with her contact number.With great apprehension, he called her up and after some preliminary conversation, expressed a desire to meet her. His wish to meet her was welcomed with an invitation to dinner at Vidya’s residence.     

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


    Other than the journal, you can read the stories here : https://www.amazon.in/Women-Their-Stories-Tell-Story-ebook/dp/B085GKM43S/

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