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Four stories are featured in the March 2017 release of Out of Print.

 

An excerpt from Sarnath Banerjee’s graphic novel, All Quiet in Vikaspuri leads the issue. It documents the disintegration of the mining and industrial town of Tambapur from its well-manged, idillyc existence. The multiply talented plumber, Girish must set off to Delhi to seek his fortunes where ultimately he will, as the blurb of the book declares ‘journey to the centre of the earth in search of the mythical river Saraswati’.

 

All About Love by Shinjini Kumar follows the fate of Archana Mahapatra as she settles into her new flat. Fascinated by traces of the previous owner, Rupali, she embarks on an existence that interweaves Rupali’s imagined life with her own. When her husband is away, she transforms herself to look like Rupali and embarks on an affair but even as the adventure winds down, its consequences echo into her life.

 

Vinayak Varma’s Instant Karma begins with the lightly stated, ‘And then there was this nun who lived in a creaky little hut on the summit of a holy mountain deep in the Sahyadris’. The story then takes us into the fates and burdens and pettinesses and profundities of the people who are drawn around the nun as she tries to build herself her perfect house.

 

The Wrong Question is Janet H Swinney’s closely observed contribution that describes the birthday celebrations of a guru at a yoga shala. The many devotees and volunteers that people the story listen to the guru, but come alive as a young boy speaks from the stage. And the old guru, addicted to sweeties, and prescribing ‘practice’, must confront the limits of his own truth and influence.

 

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The cover design by Yamuna Mukherjee contains images from a piece of Kalamkari or crafted-by-pen fabric depicting stories from Indian mythology. The image is a still from Mithu Sen’s 2014 Kochi Muziris Bienalle video installation I Have Only One Language; It Is Not Mine.

The video film was developed when the artist spent a few days living with girls who are victims of sexual and emotional abuse in an orphanage in Kerala. She presented herself as a fictional persona ‘Mago’, a seemingly homeless person who speaks her own language. ‘Language imposes a strange and alien logic that tells us not to smell poetry, hear shadows or taste lights,’ the artist has said in an interview. The installation aimed to escape ‘this rigid framework’ and make the children ‘believe in an alternative world’.

The documentation was done with the camera hanging on the artist’s neck while surrounded by the children. The children were also given the camera so that spontaneous shots could be captured and visual and conceptual storytelling could be seen through their memories and emotions.

Mithu Sen lives and works in New Delhi, India. Her practice stems from a conceptual and interactive background woven into drawing, poetry, moving images, installations, sculptures, sound and performances.

With life being the central medium of her practice, she pushes the limits of acceptable language, questioning our pre-codified hierarchical etiquettes in society within the politics of tabooed (cultural and gendered) identity/psycho-sexuality, radical hospitality and lingual anarchy.

She has exhibited widely at museums, institutions, galleries and biennales including the Guggenheim Museum, New York; Tate Modern, London; the Kiran Nadar Museum of Art, India.

She has been awarded the Prudential Eye Award for contemporary Asian art in drawing 2015 and the Skoda award on best Indian contemporary art for the year 2010.

 

Selected stories may contain language or details that could be viewed as offensive. Readers below 18 are cautioned to use discretion. Views expressed are those of the authors and not necessarily supported by Out of Print.