“The writer isn’t made in a vacuum. Writers are witnesses. The reason we need writers is because we need witnesses to this terrifying century.”
~ E.L. Doctorow (Jan 6, 1931 - Jul 21, 2015),
Celebrated American Author
Welcome dear Readers and Writers.
It is heartening that the number of stories being received by Muse India has been steadily and substantially going up, and a very good proportion of them happen to be well-written. While it indicates Muse India’s increasing popularity, it is giving a really tough time to the editors to select the stories. If the ever-burgeoning spectrum of new writers is to be encouraged, Muse India cannot afford to repeat any set of storywriters in quick succession. We need to space them out so that no writer is usually featured more than twice in a year.
Now let us have a look at the thematic aggregation. Everything is fair in love, it is said. Of course it will be so, only when it is unsullied love, and whatever the lovers do to fulfil such love will be justifiable, for it doesn’t harm either of them or anyone else. Genuine love doesn’t clash with familial or social harmony, so much so such lovers can always be happy, for they have an inherently comprehensive outlook. True love is never a product of mere physical attraction but of the compatible wavelengths of the partners concerned at the mental and spiritual levels. If physical attraction is the only criterion it is not love but sheer lust. And this leads to a maze of complications and troubles. For all its genuineness and selflessness, sometimes love remains unrequited, for reasons beyond the control of the partners. Yet sooner or later the distanced lovers come to terms, for time heals every pain. But the problem is with lust, for it is blind and mad. No, it is not love that is blind. The evil of lust raises its ugly head in various ways – stalking, flirting, teasing, exploiting, molesting, raping, maiming, and killing. Sometimes the targeted women do retaliate, not minding the public glare it attracts. And sometimes the perpetrators come to reap what they have sown; nemesis catches up with them. Slyness and indiscretion will do everyone in.
Eventually, the connubial love fructifies into the birth of children; and upbringing of a child is again a special psychological art. But when the child happens to be differently abled, imagine the ordeal, especially if it is a single-parent family. The parent has to necessarily cultivate grit and stoicism.
When the child eventually grows up and moves about in the society, he or she faces unforeseen risks, threats and dangers stemming from uncompromising politico-religious positions that don’t allow any dispassionate cross-sectional dialogue but only thrive on a fusillade of monologic spiels, and rebel against all well-defined boundaries and conventions, but having nothing at all to offer by way of a more broad-based alternative. In a scenario like this, people become pitiable refugees in their own land with the Damocles’ sword hanging over their heads.
After all, life is not a bed of roses, but more of thorns – because the petals wither, dry, and disintegrate soon; but the thorn stays stiff and sharp. This admixture of harsh realities is conveyed by the following stories selected for the present issue.
1. An Indelible Journey: Shweta Tiwari
2. A Raging Goddess: Bhanumati Mishra
3. Lost Home: Sushant Dhar
4. Memories of Margarida (Trans. from Portuguese):
Bosco Propócio Afonso (OW)/ Carmen N V Peres (Tr)
5. The Crazy Stalker: Suyash Sahu
6. The Girl in Hijab: Muhammad Faizan Fuzail
7. The Nettle Leaves: Shyamasri Maji
8. The Slap: Enakshi Biswas
9. The Time Machine: Tuhin Harit
All the above writers, barring Bhanumati and Suyash, are first time contributors to MI. Our thanks and congrats to all the nine.
I also thank GSP Rao, Managing Editor, who handled my section of Fiction and Reviews for the Sep-Oct 2016 issue when I was not well.
Happy reading! Happy Diwali! Happy New Year 2017!