HEMANT RITU (PRE-WINTER), Issue No. 94 (Nov-Dec 2020)

FEATURE – Love in the Pandemic

Voices all over the place – new, old, young, meek, bold, pensive, stressed…strange, it took a pandemic to discern the subtle inner voice of love, of care and compassion; it took a pandemic to realize life is ephemeral. Feature editor, Annapurna Sharma emphatically states that Love in the Pandemic has its genesis in that desire to gather as many tones and shades (of love) as possible – with more than 50 writers and a few psychologists from different parts of India and the world sharing their feelings. Read on…

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Real Life Stories: One tear escapes into the mask, concealed. The therapeutic fire thaws the frozen heart. A daughter misses her mother and tries to find solace in the burning embers. (Supriya Rakesh – Fire Therapy) It was a mistaken belief that people of a certain age should be avoided at all costs! Feeling perfectly healthy it is hard not to take it as a personal insult… (Betty Oldmeadow–Love-The Ultimate Panacea) (Feature)

Dr. Debanjan Banerjee (Psychiatrist, NIMHANS, Bengaluru) in his article – Love, Covid-19 and Everything that lies in between – stresses the need for one-to-one counseling sessions which are more real than virtual interactions. Though feasible and easily accessible, cyberspace is yet short of providing the assurance that an ailing person feels when the physician examines him/her with care. (Feature)

Interview with Siddhartha Gigoo (award winning author) about his book Love in the time of Quarantine: The image was bizarre – a few dogs, pigeons, I was driving and a family walking…quarantine homes have been set up for homeless people…as they enter disinfectant is sprinkled on them, like rain…we are all refugees… (Feature)

Interview with Nandini Raman (counselor): Mental Health is stigmatized in our country. It is ok to be vulnerable but what do you do with that vulnerability. Am I that adult hording pangs of guilt for been self-aware, introspective and extra careful? Is it ok to be selfish about my health?  (Feature)

Fiction: After sixty years, the pandemic seemed special, for it gave her the courage to take on the arduous journey into the unknown desert with Bhitai’s Sassui. (Nighat Gandhi – Safar-e-ishq) She was frenetic – all her seven children visited her during the pandemic – she waited for them to be born. (Sobia Abdin – Difficult times) (Feature)

Fiction: She thought she was the one who’d leave before him and wrote him a letter, preparing him for a lonesome life but he never gave her a chance. (Meenakshi Shivram – Oil & Wick) It took her a pandemic to understand motherly instincts. She was stuck in a remote village and her baby was allergic to cow’s milk, waiting for her to return home soon. (PVS Ratnam – On our trail – trns by NS Murty) (Feature)

Examining women in Dystopian writing and in particular The Hunger Games, Mridula Sharma remarks, that “It is,…imperative to promote unprejudiced accounts of women in dystopian literature, especially dystopian science fiction, to prevent the disruption of contemporary feminist movement”. (Literary section)

Discussing the title of his work, The Tibetan Suitcase, Tsering Namgyal mentions, that the title was quite “apt because of the peripatetic condition of Tibetans. We are always on the move with no permanent and fixed address”. (Literary section)

If Everything Happened stands at the border lines of what is and what could have been. He leaves it to a reader to interpret the ending. Through words, Kumar creates a smokescreen that lends a certain kind of mystery to this story. (Fiction)

Knocked down and dragged out gives a reality check on the attitudes that change as the pandemic spares no one. The hard hitting reality that comes alive in this work has to be read and lived. (Fiction)

Her poems chiefly aim to intersect the personal and the political to document her emotional responses toward violence and death and in exploring a feminist reworking of these themes in literary expressions. (Poetry)

A poet obsessed with mysticism and the nature of our universe, it goes without saying that the theme of his work spans over many dominions such as mortality, love, death, life, society and more. (Poetry)

A new genre of quick & crisp fiction Our World – A Symphony of Drabbles composed by writers of 3 generations in the same family (& endorsed by Ruskin Bond, Shashi Tharoor, Sachin Tendulkar)... And Clueless a novel with a slew of mysterieschased by a woman sleuth in a bureaucratic setting created byVandana Kumari Jena, a retired IAS officer are among 13 works of different genres. (BOOK REVIEWS)

Out of 3 works of translation (2 Urdu + 1 Tamil) reviewed in this issue, Land Lust by prolific writer Joginder Paul (Ed. Sukrita Paul Kumar & Vandana R Singh) is set in the emotional background of the pre-independence Kenya… whereas Devi – The BoundlessA Daughter’s Inward Journey (by eminent writer M A Susila& trans. by V Kadambari) is the dauntless tale of an uneducated child widow of pre-independence India. (BOOK REVIEWS)

Baluchars – The Woven Narrative Silks of Bengal (Ed. Jasleen Dhamija) covering a wonderful indigenous craft… and 2 books with a Buddhist themeThe Vengeance (a novel by Subhashis Das)… and a travelogue On The Trail Of Buddha – A Journey To The East (by Deepankar Aron)… form part of the 13books reviewedin this issue… including one on the prosody of Urdu ghazal.(BOOK REVIEWS)


This Issue of Muse India is sponsored by GSP Rao in fond memory of his parents Gauravaram Ramachandra Rau and Gauravaram Brahannayaki.

Past Issues

Issue:93:Urdu Ramayan

Issue:92:Tradition and Modernity in Odia Literature


Issue:90:Flux and Fusions in English Studies

Issue:89:Children’s Literature

Issue:88:Maithili Literature Tomorrow

Issue:87:Writing on Art

Issue:86:Contemporary Assamese Literature