Editor's Note

The December 2016 release of Out of Print contains six stories.


The Helmet House by Iraqi writer, Mortada Gzar has been translated into English by Yasmeen S Hanoosh. It comes to us through Vivek Shanbagh who is rendering the English translation into Kannada, and the story, therefore, bears a fairly tenuous connection to India. When we set up the magazine, however, we allowed for the possibility of the exception, and this is just such a one. The story is profound in its examination of the ‘phantasmagorical creatures’ that fathers are.


Neha Margosa’s Sixteen is also about a father, a sixteenth birthday, and the bizarre normalcy that follows domestic violence. The story is told through the voice of a young girl and evokes the many, entangled emotions she goes through.


With food as its device of expression, Dinner For Three by returning author Aravind Jayan is about the distortions in the equilibrium of a mother’s ability to ‘get the portions right’ when a sister gets married and leaves home.


Taking the theme of love and absence and presence in another direction, Shebana Coelho’s Who Sees Colour First opens up the possibility of ‘bhooths, djinns, ghosts, souls wandering in limbo’. A young couple, recently married, respond to his seeing something that just moved.


Based in the earthquake at Bhuj, Esther David’s Dwaraka – A Floating Kitchen takes seven singing women in a kitchen away into the dark portals of the earth, and returns them, apparently frozen into sculpture, and continuing to sing. They are sustained by the conviction of their love for Krishna.


Pour Out the Evening’s Dose of Snails by Sohini Basak is about a different kind of absence. An old neighbour, a former chemistry tutor visits; his statements are disconnected and filled with strange and real concerns. ‘They are building a hospital for plants,’ he says.


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The artwork by Dayanita Singh is from her series, Go Away Closer. Termed ‘a novel without words’ the project ‘concerns a series of opposites’ such as ‘presence and absence’ and ‘proximity and distance’.

Dayanita Singh uses photography to reflect and expand on the ways in which we relate to photographic images.

Publishing is a significant part of her practice. In her books, often made in collaboration with Gerhard Steidl, she experiments with alternate forms of producing and viewing photographs. The ‘book-object’ is concurrently a book, an art object, an exhibition and a catalogue. The work, also developing from her interest in the poetic and narrative possibility of sequence and re-sequence, allows her to both create photographic sequence and disrupt it.

Her recent work, drawn from her extensive photographic oeuvre, is a series of mobile museums that allow her images to be endlessly edited, sequenced, archived and displayed.

Museum Bhavan has been shown at the Hayward Gallery, London (2013), the Museum für Moderne Kunst, Frankfurt (2014), the Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago (2014) and the Kiran Nadar Museum of Art, New Delhi (2016). Singh has authored eleven books: Zakir Hussain, 1986; Myself, Mona Ahmed, 2001; Privacy, 2003; Chairs, 2005; Go Away Closer, 2007; Sent A Letter, 2008; Blue Book, 2009; Dream Villa, 2010; House of Love, 2011; File Room, 2013 and Museum of Chance, 2014. Her twelfth book, Museum Bhavan, also published with Steidl, is forthcoming.

The cover design by Yamuna Mukherjee contains images from a piece of Kalamkari or crafted-by-pen fabric depicting stories from Indian mythology.


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.