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Out of Print 32 features seven stories about love, loss, lust, disillusionment, release, the stranglehold of apathy and the compelling seductions of illusionary realities.

 

Prashant Bagad’s ‘Accomplishment’ translated from Marathi by Kaushika Draavid follows a surreal interaction in an academic setting between a professor who wishes to kill a woman colleague and a woman who agrees to be killed. ‘What’s a shadow? We think it’s the absence of unwanted sun.... But what does it mean to deflect the sun? To deflect light. Darkness is what it is. A shadow is darkness.’

 

Interlaced with lyrics from the ‘soulful’ Portuguese laments that were meaningful to their relationship, we accompany the protagonist as he grapples with an incredibly profound grief following the unexpected and meaningless loss of his lover in Anannya Dasgupta’s ‘On my Way Upstairs’.

 

Nagaswamy’s body is failing him. Once, the leader of the Kalaivani Drama Company, how will he use the experiences of the past to make the present more tenable? Recounting the intriguing plot of one of his great plays on immortality ‘Vidhudalai’ that gives the story its title, Saritha Rao Rayachoti takes us through the day when he finds resolution.

 

Razia Sajjad Zaheer’s ‘The Yellow Rose’ translated by Raza Naeem is also about a weakening body, represented here by a single rose that has fallen from a bunch placed in beautiful cut-glass vase. Captured by a painter, the image piques the curiosity of a young child, who then grows to adulthood to find deep meaning in it.

 

A different loss, the loss of innocence, of faith, a loss that comes with comprehension is dealt with in Nidhi Arora’s ‘It is in the Eyes’ as a young girl, enamoured of the idea of becoming a detective, confronts deep-seated corruption stemming from a combination of urgency, indifference, callousness and selfishness.

 

Dealing once again with indifference and the deep-seated corruption that can overtake, in this case, the bureaucratic class, Akshat Jain’s ‘Resurrection of a Dead Soul’ is a scathing commentary on the journey of Akash Saxena, chief secretary to the chief minister as he inexplicably wakes up from the apathetic stupor that generations have lived in.

 

Giorgia Stavropoulou writes of a young American woman living a year that the title aptly describes as ‘Desperately Bold in Lucknow’. In the city to learn Urdu, she embarks on an affair fraught with comical drama in which her lover is the third entity in a ménage a trois with the language.

 

Out of Print continues to post updates on the Out of Print Blog, and on Facebook, and Twitter.

 

 

The artwork, untitled, mixed media, 60" x 60", is by Mehli Gobai. We are grateful to Shireen Gandhy for facilitating the use of the image that we have courtesy the late Mehlli Gobhai and Chemould Prescott Road.

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

Regarded as one of India’s finest abstractionist artists Mehli Gobai passed away in mid-September, about a fortnight before this issue of Out of Print was released. His biography is widely available and commentary on his works by Shireen Gandhy and the Chemould Gallery, by Nancy Adajania and Ranjit Hoskote who are curating his retrospective show,  as well as responses to his loss by Jerry Pinto, Ram Rahman, Dev Benegal and others are widely accessible. We do not reproduce them here but by featuring his work on the cover of this issue we pay tribute to a fine artist and a true gentleman.

 

 

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.