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Clri nov12

  1. 1. CLRICONTEMPORARY LITERARY REVIEW INDIA – journal that brings articulatewritings for articulate readers. CLRI Print Edition ISSN 2250-3366 November 2012 Editor-in-Chief: Khurshid AlamRs. 20.00 / $1.00
  2. 2. November 2012contents 1. KHURSHID ALAM ............................................................................................................................ 4 CLRI Annual 2013 Print Edition ....................................................................................................... 4 2. MAHIMA GIRI .................................................................................................................................. 7 Roots ................................................................................................................................................ 7 Time ................................................................................................................................................. 8 3. SCARLET MONAHAN ..................................................................................................................... 9 Spider 1 - Spiders can swim ............................................................................................................ 9 Spider 2 - Revenge .......................................................................................................................... 9 The while now hid .......................................................................................................................... 10 The soft search .............................................................................................................................. 11 4. SMITA ANAND SRIWASTAV ........................................................................................................ 12 Spring Lingers ................................................................................................................................ 12 5. YAMINI VIJENDRAN ..................................................................................................................... 14 Eternity ........................................................................................................................................... 14 6. REZA GHAHREMANZADEH ......................................................................................................... 16 Freeze a Moment ........................................................................................................................... 16 7. RAHUL CHATTERJEE .................................................................................................................. 17 The Death of a Star ........................................................................................................................ 17 8. VIHANG A. NAIK ............................................................................................................................ 19 Truth ............................................................................................................................................... 19 Desire ............................................................................................................................................. 19 9. PEARSE MURRAY ........................................................................................................................ 21 Gujarat Night Dancers.................................................................................................................... 21 Dis-assembled Desire .................................................................................................................... 22 10. ZINIA MITRA .................................................................................................................................. 24 Skies............................................................................................................................................... 24 11. BRINDHAMANI BBM ..................................................................................................................... 26 Humanism ...................................................................................................................................... 26 12. PSYCHE AS REPRESENTED BY DIFFERENT ARTISTS ........................................................... 27 13. TARA MENON ............................................................................................................................... 33 Pilaf ................................................................................................................................................ 33 Stalked ........................................................................................................................................... 33 14. MR. KERSIE KHAMBATTA ........................................................................................................... 35 Culture Shock ................................................................................................................................. 35 15. DASU KRISHNAMOORTY ............................................................................................................ 38 It’s Good to Watch TV .................................................................................................................... 38
  3. 3. November 2012contents 16. TATJANA DEBELJACKI ................................................................................................................ 42 An Essay About Love ..................................................................................................................... 42 17. MAITREYEE B CHOWDHURY ...................................................................................................... 44 The Pursuit of Knowledge .............................................................................................................. 44 18. EL HABIB LOUAI ........................................................................................................................... 47 Love Relationships as Central Mechanisms for Narrating Colonial Contact and its Aftermath by El Habib Louai .................................................................................................................................... 47 19. REVIEW ON JOSEPH CONRAD’S HEART OF DARKNESS ....................................................... 60 Aakansha Singh Reviews Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness .................................................... 60 20. THE TRAGEDY OF FIDEL CASTRO BY JOÃO CERQUEIRA ..................................................... 62 Preview of the Novel The Tragedy of Fidel Castro ........................................................................ 62 21. HS CHANDALIA STROLLS WITH ANIL GEORGE ....................................................................... 71 Anil George treads the Red Carpet at Cannes and Says it is all ‘He’ who Did It........................... 71 22. BOOK RELEASES ......................................................................................................................... 74
  4. 4. November 2012editorial Digital medium is not simply a medium, it is a space to our life. All its shortcomings stand tiny before its advantages. It is the best alternative to saving paper, thus to saving plants and forests. It is the fastest means of communication, you can fly your documents and files across the globe in no time and at no costs. You can share your heart and mind to the world without coming under any hammer. – Khurshid Alam, Editor-in-Chief, Contemporary Literary Review India www.quickheal.com To enquire for placing ads, contact us at: contemporaryliteraryreview@yahoo.com 1
  5. 5. November 2012editorial A Tribute to Sunil Gangopadhyay (Sep 1934 – Oct 2012) Sahaj (or Easy) by Sunil Gangopadhyay With ease I make a million flowers bloom, All at once I light up some suns, moons, stars, In a passing whim I blow out the moonlight (Remember that moonlight?) or the sunlight (remember that too?). Dont believe a thing my detractors say. They might say that I am a child or a fool, or a magician, — Ragged tents, broken drums, patches on his black coat, but look what a deadly dance hes dancing on the pupils of her eyes, onlookers arent fooled, they laugh 2
  6. 6. November 2012editorial but the girl will hear no reason oh how she ails from this dose of illusion; — Dont believe them. Hey you revilers, look, look with what ease I hold up the three worlds — on the little finger of my left hand. The darkness, the seas, hills all look on amazed, You, only you, have forgotten the language of surprise! Come on into my house, and see what a wondrous house I keep. The roof overhead — see, but no walls have I on the sides, (Bounded by walls all round, dreams and phlegm in your hearts, marking age on your fingers, drawing fancy pictures on walls, carefully you guys will live!) While look in my house breezes of all kinds like faithful retainers move around, brush away cobwebs, test colors on cornices, busy day and night. I sit in my wall-less room and paint on the girls pupils, Much easier this than making pictures without. Go back, you revilers, you are foolish children, and you, Dont believe them when they call me magician. [Translated from Bengali poem Sahaj by Nandini Gupta] Sunil Gangopadhyay] Source: http://www.poemhunter.com/ 3
  7. 7. November 2012editorial1. KHURSHID ALAMCLRI Annual 2013 Print EditionContemporary Literary Review India (CLRI) is gearing up for its annual print issue (ISSN 2250-3366) by late January 2013 or early February 2013. Contemporary Literary Review India Annual2013 Print Edition is special in many ways. CLRI will include the best original pieces fromaround the world and some of the best pieces published with online literary journals in Indiaonly. Original Pieces in CLRI Annual 2013CLRI invites submission for the annual issue in the categories such as poetry, stories, reviews,criticism and interviews with literary stalwarts. Please keep the following details in mind whilesubmitting:CLRI Annual Issue (ISSN 2250-3366): PrintCategories: Poetry, Stories, Reviews, Criticism, InterviewsSubmit to: writersdeskinfo@yahoo.co.inSubject Line: CLRI Annual Print Issue (without this subject line, your submission cannot qualifyfor the print version.)CLRI print issue has three deadlines to suite writers from all walks of life and professions.Early Bird Submission Deadline: 31 October, 2012. 10 November 2012 (deadline extended).Reading Fee: Rs. 250 for the entries from India, US$ 5.00 for all overseas entries. This deadlinehas passed.Late Submission Deadline: 30 November, 2012.Reading Fee: Rs. 500 for the entries from India, US$ 10.00 for all overseas entriesDeadline Waiver: 31 December, 2012.Reading Fee: Rs. 750 for the entries from India, US$ 15.00 for all overseas entriesPayment via Paypal: krd16_alam@yahoo.comHDFC Account Holder: Saba ParveenPayment via bank: HDFC Account: 0069-105-01-73106.Note: Our subscribers are exempted off the reading fee. 4
  8. 8. November 2012editorialTo get waiver off the reading fee you can subscribe to our CLRI online edition for at least oneyear. Check the details at: Subscribe to CLRI. Online Best PiecesCLRI is making efforts to include some of the best writings published with online literaryjournals in India only during January 1, 2012 through December 31, 2012. Writers, publishers,editors and representatives are requested to send their entries to the CLRI Annual 2013 printedition.CLRI Annual Issue (ISSN 2250-3366): PrintCategories: Poetry, Stories, CriticismSubmit to: writersdeskinfo@yahoo.co.inSubject Line: CLRI Annual Print Issue (without this subject line, your submission cannot qualifyfor the print version.)Deadline: December 31, 2012 (But please do not wait till the last deadline)Reading Fee: None 5
  9. 9. November 2012poems At one time poetry was a large part of mainstream readership. The public seemed to lose interest with the advent of gaming and the Internet, and now the Internet can be the avenue of restoration of this important genre of entertainment and enlightenment. – Jack Huber, Poet & Author, http://www.jackhuber.com Subscribe to Contemporary Literary Review India — journal that brings articulate writings for articulate readers. CLRI is published online per month, in digital versions occasionally, and in print edition (planned to be quarterly), its print edition has ISSN 2250-3366. Subscribe to our CLRI online edition. Our subscribers receive CLRI digital copies directly into their Inbox, get print copies free of cost whenever they come out during the subscription period, and are waived off any reading fee towards our print editions. You can become our subscribers any time you prefer. To become a subscriber, visit: Subscriber to CLRITo enquire for placing ads, contact us at: contemporaryliteraryreview@yahoo.com 6
  10. 10. November 2012poems2. MAHIMA GIRIRootsSeeking and creeping throughthe cold dark depths of the soil,You breathe the air of long lifeAnd firmly embrace the earth.You befriend the earthwormsAs they wriggle around andSeldom unbolting the soil,For you to stretch and relax.You grow in several directionsAnd stay together as a family,Offering a reliable support,For the tree to stand aloft.Your strength is unparalleled,For the nurture, the tree receivesReaching every branch every leafEvery flower and every fruit.A dedicated responsibilityYou share with the mother earthAnd the tree promising the fruitsOf effort through the ages. 7
  11. 11. November 2012poemsTimeTIMEmomentdurationage spins into daysand nights through heat and coldchanging the world everyday“an irreversible marvel”Note: Accepted Mahima Giri is an Electrical Engineer currently based in Oklahoma, USA. She has passion towards poetry particularly translating art into poetry. She is an active member at allpoetry.com and has contributed several poems in different forms. 8
  12. 12. November 2012poems3. SCARLET MONAHANSpider 1 - Spiders can swim“For the love of God, don’t touch meI’ve just reached the topChrist!, You’ve broken a legDon’t turn the tap onI cant swim, I’ll drown.You speciesist Sociopath”Spider 2 - RevengeLittle Beth MuffetSat at the tableDipping her bread in her yolkDown came the spiderThat sat down beside herBeth Muffet died of a stroke,Eventually.When they found her, three summerweeks later, she’d been dead a fortnight.The flies wept, for reasons of their own,but the seven legged spider…Just smiled. 9
  13. 13. November 2012poemsThe while now hidSilently the night will moveFrom twilight through to dayAnd costing nought but time of usAt morning we must payIn darkness, things first seen in lightPut forth a change of formTwisting in the shadows ofThe mind, from whence are tornAnd those may take advantageOf the blanket held aboveWho question not, the mood of woodMore busy with their loveThe rain may come and give a soundToo lonely at the startOf hollow thought and memoryFound hiding in the heartQuick closing eyes, protect us allBehind the falling lidDark without, forgotten soonTill wake, the while now hid 10
  14. 14. November 2012poemsThe soft searchImages move quickly throughWith distant rhyme or reasonSurging passed the gates of mindIn metaphoric legionSoon to reign and take uponThe mantle of a friendThe whisperings in solitudeBaptismal thoughts to sendThoughts somehow caught up in timeMade lonely, may come lateAnd tell of innocence and hopeThat might communicateFor all we know and all we showReligious to the pageHypnotic, like the childish danceUpon the wooden stageSoft search in light and thrice the nightCanyon, edge and cliffTo ask of self in puzzlementOf what and only if Scarlet Monahan is an England based poet. These poems are from From One Moment to Another – A collection of more than fifty poems. 11
  15. 15. November 2012poems4. SMITA ANAND SRIWASTAVSpring Lingersspring lingers inboudoir of cinnamon fall,in geometric contoursof fall-denuded twigs,stealthily dappling leaves~once a drab green,in rich shades fromthe palette of eventide,to pantomime asblossoms painted onthe aisle of Vertumnus.it lurks in the scentsof the potpourri breeze whichtries to imitate zephyr,in the sturdy bloomsof dahlia, chrysanthemums, hibiscuses,the syllables of the threnodiesof colorful spring reverberate,it is just likethe lingering yesterdayin the vision of every today or morrow,the baby in every heart,the juvenile streak behindevery wreathed wrinkle... 12
  16. 16. November 2012poems Dr. Smita Anand Sriwastav is an MBBS doctor with the heart of a poetess. One of her poems, Unsaid Goodbyes has been published in a book titled, Inspired by Tagore published by British Council and Sampad. She has written poetry all her life and wishes to continue doing so forever. 13
  17. 17. November 2012poems5. YAMINI VIJENDRANEternityThe news reader exclaims with glee,“The monsoons are here!”The cuckoo on my courtyards Gulmohar,Echoes her joy with coos.The clear patch of blue,Where the brilliant orb shone yesterday,Is a thing of past.Replaced today,By a muddy patchwork,Of Cumulonimbuss ,Straight out of a cotton farm.While the sky sheds tears,Bemoaning the cloudy infestation,I muse.The clouds are same,The drops are same,And so is the breeze.Meeting up in the heavens every year,Before they come visiting,At my window sill.Only to be greeted by,A different story.A new movie each time.New characters, new plots, new settings,All new, save me.I am like the sands of Marina.Numerous footfalls,On my static grains.A light tread here,A heavy one there,Some fast and some slow,All, all over me, 14
  18. 18. November 2012poemsWhile I remain unchanged.No storm, no tide has everCaused me to budge.The physical me totters,The mental me sways,But I, I remain unmoved.Absorbing the experienceOf varying footfalls,As they come and go,While I remain.I was, I am, I will be,Here along with the clouds,The rain and the breeze.Living the ultimate truth,Watching the transients pass.The revelry of joy and pangs of despair,Are only for body and mind.As ice, liquid or vapour,Water still remains water,and so remain I. Yamini Vijendran is a freelance writer who strongly believes in the idiom ‘home comes first. Her values and beliefs get amply reflected in her writings, which mirror to the world the things she stands firmly by. Her writing is inspired by people and incidents around her and her impetus comes from her loving family. 15
  19. 19. November 2012poems6. REZA GHAHREMANZADEHFreeze a MomentIf I could freeze a momentit would be when the swing reaches its highest point;that moment just before the descent.For it is in that momentthat I feel I can pass the thresholdand enter the world of birds and stars and glittering freedom. Reza Ghahremanzadeh, twenty-two years old, currently lives in Northern Ireland, is an aspiring writer and poet. 16
  20. 20. November 2012poems7. RAHUL CHATTERJEEThe Death of a StarThe twinkling is often all that stars do.The river is never at peace with its flow.Street lamps flicker as the winds started to blowWhile drunk moths drank more out of the blue.The crumbling of wizened yellow leavesOn the sere face of the one lying below...Waiting for life to make the suffering slow.A shy drop of lonely tearHoping, under tremulous fear,To make the one lying near,Of anguish, his heart to clear.That heart, it knew not, had seen brighter daysWhen the stars on laps of heavenly boughsHung onto desires, that would not douse.The cheated heart: ‘Oh, anguished love, come not near’The winds blew up more of the dry dust.The languid darkness seeped under the crustOf the star who lay under the dying tree trunk,With pale hopes to let go ofAnd dreams which moth-ball smells haven’t sunk.The brightness which once dazzled creationHad eons go by with thoughts not thought.He dimmed now into a slumber thatDid not remind him of the happiness he broughtTo everyone who looked up to him.But, tonight he was intent on being the sallow and dim.The one above had the one below.The tree could not shelter him from winds which blew 17
  21. 21. November 2012poemsAs the moths, away from the remnant glow, flew,Which to mortality offered himself and suffered no more. Rahul Chatterjee is a poet who has rhythmic inclinations and loves nature. He prefers a style which reminds his readers of a flow with the natural phenomena which he uses to reflect human sentiments. 18
  22. 22. November 2012poems8. VIHANG A. NAIKTruthTruth is a mirrorhe has lostin the darkbeyond the edge.He has comeat the agewhere hecannot affordto look at himself.Desirethe octopusof desirestirsarteries and veinstears flesh apartfeeding upon fireswallowing air 19
  23. 23. November 2012poems Vihang A. Naik, born in Surat, Gujarat, is a widely published and anthologized poet and has won many awards. His poems have appeared in many literary journals including Indian Literature: A Sahitya Akademi, Kavya Bharati, POESIS: A Journal of Poetry Circle (Mumbai), The Journal of The Poetry Society (India), The Journal of Indian Writing In English, The Journal of Literature and Aesthetics, The Brown Critique, The Poetry Chain among other significant journals. His anthologies include Poetry Manifesto (New & Selected Poems) IndiaLog Publications Pvt Ltd ( New Delhi , 2010), Making A Poem (Allied Publishers’, Mumbai, 2004), City Times and Other Poems (1993), and his Gujarati collection of poems include Jeevangeet (Navbharat Sahitya Mandir, Ahmedabad, 2001) dedicated to the cause of victims of Gujarat Earthquake 26th January , 2001. He also translates poetry in Gujarati into English including his own and teaches English at Shree Ambaji Arts College, North Gujarat, India. 20
  24. 24. November 2012poems9. PEARSE MURRAYGujarat Night DancersOn that side of earthall four of themdance in their light, wing and petal:Day star, silver wheelerfretful shadow-makerbinding-blinderPale light, slivering etcherreflector, bouncercraggy surfaced sphererFlutterer, pollinatorterpsichorean timer, spiraler,ephemeral helical wonderMoonlight seductress, as Phryne,Cestrum Nocturnum as the Queenmoth lover, nose arouserWe watch these blossomed dancerseye-smell in nightshade lustrationsdrawing out infinity’s brief perforationsin all contrapuntal awesun, moon, moth, flowerAnd they do as earth does—enchant us 21
  25. 25. November 2012poemsDis-assembled Desire …desire is born of defective knowledge... — Thomas MannMy right eye to watch Vermeer paint The Kitchen MaidTo see that source of light, not the reflected oneMy ears to hear a child’s laughing voiceTo appreciate getting the joke-affirmation lifeMy right palm to touch the face of Lady With an ErmineSo to make me feel connected to the pastMy nose to a wet chamomile lawn at SissnghurstSo as to relive that soft history of smug peace, only in EnglandMy taste buds to Andechs beer and Bavarian breadTo identify with a monastery’s paradoxical judgmentsMy left palm to stroke the cheek of the real Mona LisaSo I can understand the source of her smileMy fingers to play Beethoven’s TempestTo go further into the joys of his kind of madnessMy left eye to watch Giacometti sculptTo train me to do the same in my next lifeMy lungs to sing Ode to JoyIt is the only natural instrument I knowMy arse to sit on a stepped well in GujaratThese mysterious structures are best understood by sittingMy arms to hold the Messiah StradivariSo as to sense the forest of stringsMy lips to kiss my first kiss again, and againSo as to defeat the ephemeral moment 22
  26. 26. November 2012poemsMy thighs to wrap around…, the list is longDesire on this has to remain privateMy knees to beseech for an earthly peaceI have no other way to echo Gandhi’s yearningMy legs to dance with Lubovitch to Brahms Piano QuintetSo I can return into a more tumbling role!My feet to a warm wave splash on a Seychelles shore—I suppose to have some memory of the Amion SeaMy hair to the wind on Rosses Point below Ben BulbenBecause it is wild Yeats country and I know itMy mind with the questions of Galileo, Darwin, EinsteinAll subsequent questions come by their breakthroughsMy heart to the blood-pulse of love foreverIt is obvious…My soul to remain in this blest, blue-bliss globe, eternallyFor it is all I know… Pearse Murray, a native of Dublin, Ireland, lives in upstate, New York. He has had several poems published in a variety of anthologies, Voices Israel, Child Of My Child, Tree Magic, Poems for Peace, and with many online and print magazines such as Poetica, Cyclamens & Swords, Blue Collar Review, Revival Literary Journal, The SnailMail Review and forthcoming in Poetry Salzburg Review. He was recently one of the award winners in the short story series The Lonely Voice sponsored by the Irish Writers Centre. 23
  27. 27. November 2012poems10. ZINIA MITRASkiesThe years have been terrible you saidwith all our faded curtainsruffled by the windonly boiled rice, potatosalt and chilly.I thought you would write me a poemon the nameless flowersthat bloomed and diedon the roadsI have never walkedas you gazed at your piece of sky.You calculated debtsthey grew like beards you saidchose cheaper brandof cigarettes and threw up smokemaking hazy your piece of sky.I grew flowers in my gardenthey bloomeda lot of yellow and redfed the sparrows with grains.How little it takes to feed them.We must grow you saidlike our neighboursbut when they walkhave you noticed they look so small under the swaying trees.I planted a tree in my courtyardsomeday it will grow to tell you 24
  28. 28. November 2012poemswe are all so small,we can only havea small piece of the sky each.You had yoursand I had minepieces of skies that had no sunsI floated mine in the lake the other daytoday I shall ask you to do the same. Zinia Mitra is presently the Head of the Department of English at Nakshalbari College, Darjeeling. She has done her PhD on Jayanta Mahapatra and is a critic, reviewer and translator. Her poems, travelogues, articles, reviews have appeared in The Statesman, the Sahitya Akademi. Kavya Bharati, and Muse India among others. Her forthcoming books include Indian Poetry in English Critical Essays (Prentice Hall), and Poetry of Jayanta Mahapatra: Imagery and Experiential Identity (Authorspress). Her online articles include A Science Fiction in a Gothic Scaffold: a reading of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein (Rupkatha Journal), Through a Different Window: I Can But Why Should I Go, (Muse India), Master of Science and Non-Sense (Parabaas). 25
  29. 29. November 2012poems11. BRINDHAMANI BBMHumanismRustling leaves chanting symphony,Whistling mind’s unheard melancholy;Sharp scorching sun burning ablaze,Parching lips with unquenched Thirst:Decisive Feel of being in the desert,Determinant though among people adequate!Dutiful Dove plucked of all the feathers and crushed,Dexterous immaculate lamb unheeded and crucified!Father cruelly murdered by the son,Mother brutally killed like a hen,Brethren looting their own kiths and kinsRelatives kidnapping the young ones!This perhaps isn’t the worldThe LORD wished to see;This definitely isn’t the placeThe ALMIGHTY desired to be!Killing people for moneyHas become the way of life honey,We can bring a change many,If at all we live with humanism and love leftover any! M. Brindhamani is an Assistant Professor, Dhanalakshmi Srinivasan College of Education, Perambalur Tamilnadu, India. 26
  30. 30. November 2012arts12. PSYCHE AS REPRESENTED BY DIFFERENT ARTISTS Sleeping Psyche, by Michelangelo Palloni, (c. 1688). 27
  31. 31. November 2012arts Psyche Revived by Cupids Kiss, by Antonio Canova,1793. 28
  32. 32. November 2012arts LAmour et Psyché, by François-Édouard Picot, 1819. 29
  33. 33. November 2012arts Psyché aux enfers, by Eugène Ernest Hillemacher, 1865. 30
  34. 34. November 2012arts Psyche, by William Adolphe Bouguereau, 1892. 31
  35. 35. November 2012stories Flash fiction is fiction with its teeth bared and its claws extended, lithe and muscular with no extra fat. It pounces in the first paragraph, and if those claws aren’t embedded in the reader by the start of the second, the story began a paragraph too soon. There is no margin for error. Every word must be essential, and if it isn’t essential, it must be eliminated. – Kathy Kachelries, Founding Member, 365 tomorrows To enquire for placing ads, contact us at: contemporaryliteraryreview@yahoo.com 32
  36. 36. November 2012stories13. TARA MENONPilafMary liked everything about her new house in Boston. She hadn’t cooked anything in her kitchenyet because she liked the pristine look of the room and didn’t want to spoil it. However, it wastempting to make something when her surroundings were so clean. She decided to cook pilaf.She’d seen Madhur Jaffrey, the cookbook author, make it on TV. Soon the kitchen was filledwith a delicious aroma. Mary took a tablespoon of pilaf and closed her eyes, ready to beimmersed in the sensual pleasure of spicy rice. Instead she swallowed the food as if it werecastor oil! Mary was startled when the doorbell rang. She wiped her hands on the apron andraced to the front door. An Indian woman stood near the front door with a Wilson Farm bag. Shebeamed when she saw Mary and took out two square corning dishes from the bag. “Hi. I’mNeelima and I wanted to welcome you to our neighborhood. This is for you.”That night when Mary served her husband pilaf and raita, cucumber yogurt, he complimented heron her cooking. She savored the praise as long as she could. Then for prudence’s sake, in case hetalked to Mary, she said it was from their neighbor. He didn’t believe her as he looked beyondher to the oven which had a few sticky grains of pilaf clinging to the surface. He even confessedto an affair, his fourth, and promised his wife that she deserved better. They got divorced sevenyears later. By then Mary had learned Indian cooking from her neighbor and she worked as achef in an Indian restaurant. Her customers always came back for her pilaf. As Neelima, hercurrent best friend said, “When God closes one door, He opens another.”StalkedEllen didn’t know it, but she was being followed. The man who was behind her wore sunglassesand carried a briefcase. He wondered when she would notice him and how he would do it. Atthat very moment she glimpsed him in the window pane. He looks like a terrorist, she thought.Five blocks later, she noticed him again in a reflection off a bookstore. She tried to shake himoff, but he bridged the distance. What can he do to me here in a big crowd? she thought. Shetried to think about her upcoming trip to India. His shadow began merging with her shadow.Ellen whipped around. The man looked at his briefcase. Ellen was sure there was a gun inside.His hand went into his pocket. Ellen wanted to scream, but words wouldn’t come out. To thinkshe was about to die before she saw the Taj Mahal! His manicured fingers handed her a businesscard. “Have you ever considered a job as a model?” he asked. 33
  37. 37. November 2012stories Tara Menon is a freelance writer based in Lexington, Massachusetts. Her poems have been published in Yellow as Turmeric, Fragrant as Cloves, Tales of the Supernatural, the view from here, and 10x3 plus poetry. She also has poems forthcoming in Azizah Magazine, aaduna, Cartys Poetry Journal, and Damazine. Her fiction has been published in the following journals and anthologies: Catamaran, The APA Journal, Elf: Eclectic Literary Forum, Many Mountains Moving, India Currents, The South Carolina Review, Living in America, A Thousand Worlds, and Mother of the Groom. She is also a book reviewer. 34
  38. 38. November 2012stories14. MR. KERSIE KHAMBATTACulture Shock“When I eight, …my ma, …she shake us up at sunrise…in Chechnia…out in sleepingsuit……put snow over us…minus forty…change to uniform…walk to school fourteenkilometers…fourteen kilometers….”“But pa” complained Dora “This is not Chechnia, this is New Zealand. All we ask is that youdon’t wake us at sunrise. School is just ten minutes away”.“How you be strong,…how you be healthy? You spoilt” muttered Pa.Dora, Augusta and I are sisters. We were born in New Zealand. Our parents escaped to Francefrom a concentration camp in Chechnia decades ago. Pa wore the scars. Ma was quiet,withdrawn.Pa didn’t go out much. Neither did Ma. They were never comfortable in English. We sisters hada lot of friends. Dora was the eldest, next Augusta and then I. There was about two years gapbetween each of us.Dora started dating. Henry particularly liked her. Pa couldn’t accept the idea of her going out todance parties, clubs, bars and coming home in the wee hours of the morning with strangers. Herevolted. He blew up. You could all but see the steam whistling out of his ears. But he loved us.And we loved him. We loved Ma too, and she adored us. Ma went with what Pa said. That wasthe way it always was in the culture.There was tension in the house every weekend. Dora is stubborn. So was Pa. Yet there had to bea compromise. Dora could go with Henry, provided Augusta and I went along. Pa didn’t muchlike this arrangement, but he liked her going out only with Henry much less.So Augusta and I went too. I was at the acceptable age for the places we went to, provided Ishowed I.D. I always carried that in my purse. But I didn’t like the way the bouncers and barmenlooked me up and down and then at the I.D.I even now clearly recollect the night we were at the Stranger Bar on Merry Road in town. Afriend of Pa saw us and Henry. He shuffled rapidly up to us with a deep frown on his weather-beaten face, and snorted like a war-horse:- “What you doing? Why you not home? Who this is”pointing solidly to Henry. “In my country …you be slit…” and ran his chubby fingers across histhroat. We gulped down our drinks, paid the bill and slipped out. Henry’s face was chalk-white. 35
  39. 39. November 2012storiesHe said later that he couldn’t forget that ghastly creature with smoke trickling out of his throat.(Pa explained to us that that man had cancer, and had had an operation on his gullet, and so whenhe smoked, the smoke came out of his throat). He looked like a dragon!Then came the fateful day Henry announced to Pa that Dora and he were getting married. Dorahad been fretting, worrying, dreading the moment. When it came, Pa just chocked. He went intoshock. His eldest daughter marrying outside the community! At night, after Henry had left, heshouted angrily: “He tell me! He not ask me!He tell me!…He…He…”Henry’s parents invited themselves to our house to discuss wedding plans. Pa walked and talkedlike a zombie. We are Catholics.They are not.The wedding day arrived. Augusta and I were brides- maids. The whole community attended,with solemn faces. While we went up the altar, two tough characters walked behind us…inreverse…facing the other way! Pa said that was the way it was in the place where he grew up,and it should be the same here. The toughies were there to protect the bride and bridegroom fromthe mafia!Months later the stork came flapping in with a crying bundle. Pa had a peek inside. His old eyesbecame moist. He nearly stumbled as he groped for a chair. “What it be?” he stammered “Boy?Girl?” We knew what his feelings would be if it had been a girl. But it wasn’t!It was a boy.Tears of joy rolled down Pa and Ma’s faces.Hendrik grew up fast. His parents and he lived miles away.Dora came with Hendrik to visit us once a month. Henry never did. He always felt rejected. Panever went there, so they didn’t see each other at all. We tried desperately to bring them together,but to no avail.Neither relented.Ma suddenly collapsed in the kitchen and we rushed her to hospital. Pa was devastated! So werewe. She didn’t live long. The earlier hard life took its toll. She passed away in Pa’s arms. Pa agedrapidly thereafter.Since Dora and Henry were working, they decided to leave Hendrik with us during the week. Hewent to a school near our house.Pa and Hendrik bonded like grandfather and only grandson can. But Hendrik was not quitehappy. He sensed that his dad and grandpa were not on talking terms. We heard long whisperedconversations between Hendrik and Pa but couldn’t catch the words. 36
  40. 40. November 2012storiesI remember the day. Not many moons before Pa went to the happy hunting grounds. It was abeautiful sunny day. Pa dressed like he was going to church. Dora waiting in the car with theback door open and inviting. Pa walked slowly up holding Hendrik’s hand.Hendrik winked at me. He was smiling broadly.“Grandpa’s coming to our house” he said. “Dad’s waiting!” Kersie Khambatta, Auckland, New Zealand writes poetry and stories. 37
  41. 41. November 2012stories15. DASU KRISHNAMOORTYIt’s Good to Watch TVWe’d prevailed upon the builder, a short, stumpy man who sold us our first flat, to erect for us inthe living room of the second flat we were buying from him a long glass shelf along its northernwall, rising three feet from the floor. Unable to stand our nagging he built it. We high-fived ourlittle victory. You’ll agree, life after all, is a collection of small and big victories and defeats. Wefilled the glass and masonry shelf with books we’d brought from Delhi as part of our intellectualnarcissism. Some of the books were borrowed. For ever. We argued one entire day hurting ourvocal chords whether the books should be lined up in an alphabetical order of their titles oraccording to the size of their spine. We did neither. We just let the books fall into an order oftheir choice. The marble top of the shelf became for us a long and low mantelpiece on which weshowed off some nonliterary cargo: two toy horses made of leather by Rajasthani craftsmen andgifted to us by a neighbor. We didn’t check with him about the breed of the stud rememberingthe old advice about not looking into the mouth of a gift horse. Both are saddled and ready toride. They have uniform coffee complexion. If God were a human, as his devotees believe, hewould invest these chargers with life and ride away.On the marble tarmac we parked a red Albion double-decker toy bus such as the ones we’d seenon the roads of Hyderabad on our first visit — the first elevated runway for any bus in thecountry. On top of a library. I look at it fondly remembering how as children we would run upthe spiral stairway at the entrance of the bus, sit on the upper deck and look down on the tops offoreign cars and sun-scorched scalps of the pedestrians. Great fun it was to ride from Charminarto Ranigunj. Not anymore. Some urban arts dork took them off the roads. They later surfaced atthe Central Park in New York. A replica of a derailed steam locomotive I’d played with as achild also claimed space on the top without its steam and steel mass. Tokens of middleclassness,you might say. We also kept a few porcelain figurines of European men and women my fatherhad brought from Dresden for my sister long, long ago, beyond the reach of memory. Mychildless sister gave them to me because I’d a daughter. At the wall-end of the shelf my wife satour new BPL color television in a diagonal position. When it is switched off you can see thekitchen counter appear on its screen. It would show the gas stove readily, and the Corellecrockery if you strain your eyes. The short stump walked in one day and said the placement ofthe TV violated the laws of the Hindu Vastu Sastra. We laughed behind his back.We watched TV very little in the morning when the rush of daily chores ruled out suchindulgence. When we bought our first black and white Crown TV in Delhi, we could get onlyDoordarshan, the media-maligned state television outfit, for a couple of hours in the morning andfour hours in the evening without advertisements. The transmission would close with Salma 38
  42. 42. November 2012storiesSultan or Protima Puri reading out the Hindi news from a teleprompter and ending the bulletinwith a smile that needed some effort to eject. Teleprompter was a novelty at that time. Weacquired a color TV when we shifted to Hyderabad and continued to consume Doordarshan’sSpartan fare.Thank God, the Gulf War came for no fault of ours, a couple of years after our arrival inHyderabad, after a long exile in Delhi. The TV showed images of the war and the skies lit upwith color and Patriot missiles. It reminded us of July 4 pyrotechnics in New York across theHudson where our daughter lived. Soon the number of channels multiplied and we’d to changefor a BPL set with a magic wand that changed channels as if it had read our minds. That set, thegift of the Gulf war, is the protagonist of today’s story. For a few months after we bought thenew TV, we marveled at the magic of the remote to shuffle channels at will. We could neverenjoy the programs unless the remote was in our hands. We first saw a remote in Ek Baar Phirflick featuring Deepti Naval filmed in London. We were amazed at what technology couldachieve. Taking over our minds. Though my wife and I were united in amazement we couldn’tstop the remote from becoming a menace to domestic peace like Siachen between Pakistan andIndia. Each would part with it to the other with an air of martyrdom and unconcealed disgust.At the time of this story there were at least fifty channels and I would go on hopping from onechannel to another until my wife snatched the remote from me and delivered a lecture on matureadult behavior. If you wanted you could see at least a dozen movies in a day winding yourselfaround the sleek TV cabinet. Then there was this Fashion channel for lovers of wardrobemalfunction. Models reveled in textile minimalism. Remember Janet Jackson. This channelchoice aplenty called for mechanics of mutual agreement and understanding that, like Indo-Pakdétente, we didn’t have in plenty. So we were both happy and unhappy with the TV. Life is amixed bag. We also agreed that however much we loved each other TV and love were twodifferent things.The TV held us together for most part of the day in a state of conjugal tension, alternatingbetween bickering and bonding. Short of writing it down we came to an understanding that myrole was to simply stand and stare when serials of my wife’s choice are aired. This understandingmarked our watching a film that evening when the defining event of the story began closing inon us stealthily like blood pressure. The movie was The Burning Train featuring a crowd ofheroes and heroines. Dharmendra and Hema Malini were my wife’s favorites even after they hadmarried and had children. My favorite Madhubala had died long ago.‘What kind of dress is that Dharmendra wearing,’ I comment unwarily, forgetting ourunderstanding, and raise my wife’s hackles. Prickly girl.‘Why don’t you watch the film? Commenting on everything as if you are very perfect,’ sheshouts at me without taking her eyes off the awkwardly gallivanting Punjabi guy thumping thescreen. It is the ageing hero that made me open my mouth, my wife doesn’t realize. With myright hand I seal my mouth and turn towards her to show I’ve carried out her writ. She is amused 39
  43. 43. November 2012storiesand endows me with a wifely smile making sure the romping hero is not watching us. The smilewas not meant for him. Poor girl, my wife, she never gets angry with me except when she isangry.The gangly Amitabh Bachchan appears on the screen with his ungainly steps and a body thatappears to have emerged from a medieval rack.‘I can’t stand this guy. He should stop acting,’ I mumble to myself.Much against my calculations, the mumble reaches, traveling on what vicious wind I don’tknow, the ears of my wife. I brace for another show of anger.‘My god, can’t you sit quiet till the movie is over? Leave me alone for a while,’ she raises hervoice. I evaporate.Making sure there has been a change in conjugal weather I come back when the scenes of theburning and speeding train were lighting up the living room. We are now friends again andwatch together the blaze with interest and anxiety. The train is speeding into a dark uncertaintywith half of its cars ablaze. At that point I see in the right corner of the BPL set flames thatlooked like a chain of orange pyramidal mountains. They were distinct in a three-dimensionalway from the indolent fires of the Burning Train. Then I find a part of the kitchen come aliveover the TV screen. I sense imminent danger. Come, I frantically call my wife and dart into thekitchen. One of the two burners of the stove we had switched off before sitting before the TV isburning. In the fraction of a second I detect that the fire had spread without the assistance ofwind or an accomplice to the stove’s tube connecting it to the gas cylinder. With a terror-strickenface my wife reaches for the water canister in the kitchen alcove and empties it on the blazingburner. Riding on the tube, the flames now reached kissing distance off the mouth of thecylinder. I really didn’t know how it occurred to me to turn off the valve of the cylinder. When Idid that the fire died down at once as if responding to a command of the gods. Another second ortwo, my wife and I would have become smithereens and a memory. End of tomorrow for us.We stumble back from the kitchen into the living room, each able to hear the drumming of theother’s heart. The TV is still coping with the fires of the smoldering train. It has stopped at astation where fire tenders summoned to go into instant action. The burning cars are detachedfrom the train. The platform is full of water. Relatives of the passengers, gathered after learningof the fire, rush towards the cars. There is a lot of hugging in relief among the parents, childrenand friends of the passengers and tears of joy. And a huge crowd of unconnected onlookers andTV crews pushing through the throng to interview the survivors.My mind is too clogged to imagine the sort of obit that would have appeared the next day if wehadn’t escaped certain death. We needed some one’s shoulder immediately. So we call our friendSurendra and his wife and ask them to come up at once. They come up three flights from theirsecond floor flat suspecting from the tremor in our voice that something out of the ordinary hadhappened. 40
  44. 44. November 2012stories‘What happened,’ Surendra asks me.I’m still dazed and incoherent in my speech. My wife sits in the sofa not recognizing theirarrival. She is crying. Sailaja posits herself next to my wife gently patting her on the back to takethe fright out of her. Surendra asks Sailaja to go down, make and get some tea. They coax us todrink tea. After tea, we become who we were before the mishap.‘What happened,’ Surendra repeats his unanswered question.‘Don’t ask me,’ I tell him, meaning it too scary to be narrated.My wife tells them the whole story in unconnected bits and pieces.‘You’ve done a foolish thing. You should have come down immediately and let the cylinderexplode and do its damage. You’ve risked your lives. It’s a miracle that both of you are alive andtelling us the story,’ Surendra nearly chides us.The four of us go into the kitchen. Surendra inspects the innocent-looking wet tube. It showed nowear and tear. The floor became wet with the water my wife had emptied. And some water fellon the food receptacles we’d kept ready on the kitchen counter for our dinner.‘We will buy a new stove,’ my wife tells the couple.‘Let’s go now and buy it,’ says Surendra.We got to one of Abid Road shops. Surendra examines several stoves before approving one. Wecome home and thank Surendra and Sailaja for reviving us.It’s now three hours after our brush with death. It would be 8.30 in the morning in the US wheremy daughter and family live. We call her and tell her the story. She yells at us both and repeatsher advice for tens of times to come away and stay with them.‘You would have made me an orphan,’ she cries.That night we couldn’t sleep well thinking about what would’ve happened to us if we had notbeen watching TV. We learnt a lesson: always watch TV.Hints: Doordarshan is India’s state TV company. Dasu Krishnamoorty is a retired journalist and journalism professor from India. He now lives in the US as a US citizen. India mainly was the subject of his writing that appeared in print, radio and net media. At 86, he began writing short stories and this story is his first one. 41
  45. 45. November 2012essays16. TATJANA DEBELJACKIAn Essay About LoveAs if I am invited to do something great that could last.As if with your love I am willing to cope with myself, my weaknesses, my fears and myimmobility.Let me tell you that the shadows that haunted me this evening have your face, both those livingand those dead, and those that have brought me the pain, and those that have brought me the joy.Shadows of some of my lives I recognize, but I’m craving for them the same I’m craving foryour love, your touch, your being.I love you; it means to look for the meaning, to be prepared and open.I love you, it means to live truth and tremble at the thought of you. Thank you for everything nomatter how long it lasted.My love, the poor are those who have never loved! I do not want to teach you but to love you; itis the higher level of knowledge. If you believe in yourself, as a consequence you will have theagility, defying any storm.So love and life will be the one. I love you, I really love you.Thus my life gets its meaning. My fate gets new forms designed by you.Because of your love, these forms are of priceless value. Could I expect more? Currently onlymy love has a purpose, it is the only thing adding the value to this writing, only that deep senseof belonging to you makes a sense, which, though coming out of me slowly, is leaving mehelpless and squashed no matter how much I wanted to kiss you, and yet again to make love onthe hot sand…Oh desire, you exist in vain! Why, for goodness sake, we could have gone to that secret triptogether. What a pity, because my love for you is nothing. I do not know what I am saying, I amtrying to explain, describe my present situation.How could I describe you this condition, this hangover of the soul, this instinct and that anxiety,that wandering, that humiliation. How I hate you sometimes, I can’t get rid of you, can’tseparate, can’t wish for another man and yet your face only makes sense to me. Sometimes Idream, I survive through the dreams of those days when you presumably loved me. It is not hardto be a slave to the one you love. I’m not going to ask why this is so obvious. Only to increasemy pain, I sometimes think that it is just one moment in time, the time between two strokes. As a 42
  46. 46. November 2012essaysmoment in which consciousness pressures my being and squeezes it, pulling out the essencewhich is called love. Sometimes I am boring even to myself. Love and then again love.Sometimes I wonder where love comes from, where strength and weakness at the same timestem from. Where do shapes of your face that haunt me from hour to hour come from?Why are you so persistently in me, why can’t I detach you from the main core of my life? How,why, it is not enough just to say I love you.I’m scared of you, I want you and I fear from you, I hate you and kill you every day, as you aremy fear and my fever and my non-having, my limitations and my bluntness and all of mystupidity. And all of my work and you are the truth, and that spiritual solitude through which thewords pass as miraculous as journeys. When I say I love you I think about what that word doesall that you have lived, all that you live and you will be living.Oh how much the pleasure of caressing and tenderness could be missed....Loving you during periods of numerous lives means to beat the death, means hope and meaningof life, paths towards you…Maybe the current love in this life is the way to learn to suffer. Thisworld is sometimes cruel, sometimes I am unable to understand, sometimes I accept it, and I donot like anything I know. I have a feeling that you’ll be gone, that you’ll be pulled away from meby the streams of life. What is the point of searching for oneself if we had got lost before wecould find ourselves? There are no shortcuts on the roads of life. It is the clear light ofknowledge. I can. I am leaving you. I am saving you from my presence, my complexity, myinsomnia and excessive love that you get bored of…It’s always something different from whatwe currently think it is. I can always expect more from my love. Why do we want to get rid of it?Why sudden overcoming of sadness and joy, two different feelings at the same time? I know, I’mgoing away from you but not from my love. You understand its depth and my pain.This departure is not a death sentence for our love. Sometimes I want to suggest that you go withme to share the life that remained. But I feel that I would make a mistake and scare you away. Ido not doubt your honesty, in all that you have given me during this time of love. Now I knowwhere this love comes from and with that knowledge I can go on the journey, knowing that youwill always be with me, in the frozen existence without pain and suffering. A time that does notredeem the gracious and does not punish the sinners. That’s all for now, for time of one life, for abit ancient time in which all of my joys and all of my sorrows are renewed. Indeed you are mylove for all times! Tatjana Debeljacki writes poetry, short stories, stories and haiku. She is a Member of Association of Writers of Serbia -UKS since 2004. She is Haiku Society of Serbia - Deputy editor of Diogen. She also is the editor of the magazine Poeta. She has four books of poetry published. 43
  47. 47. November 2012essays17. MAITREYEE B CHOWDHURYThe Pursuit of Knowledge Source: With due permission by Dipanjan MitraThe pursuit of knowledge seems to be bizarre in its very wanting, in its madness, the thirst that itbrings about and in a strange way it makes you let go of everything that you have learnt,accumulated over the years and hoarded thinking they were milestones that were the guidinglights of your life. Yet often this very urge makes islands out of you from those very people towhom you have been clinging all your life, in whom you have seen relations, love and normalcy.Then what is it you would say, about this thirst for learning that makes you do the wildest thingsthat you didn’t think yourself capable of, that you had no idea existed within you. This totalsurrender to something so powerful that it’s like a macabre, a slow dance of death awaiting thelight of dawn when one is to be killed having had one’s fill of knowledge, power and sustenancethus. 44
  48. 48. November 2012essaysI remember an instance when I watched the sea from very close quarters at night, somethingabout its eeriness struck me as fascinating. While I did like the sea during the day, at night it wasall pervasive, strong and overwhelming. Like the elusive siren, who carried within her the flavorof the earth in sanctums sacred since time immemorial. I decided to walk towards it, to feel itswaves engulf me and talk to me, to hear what its depths had to say, perhaps to walk into it andtaste that illusive knowledge that, drowns the deepest of souls. And yet I knew that if I entered Imight not be able to swim back, indeed I could not. I did not enter the sea that night, neither did Iwalk towards it; instead I sat there looking at it. It brought to me shells, sick things from differentshores. I wondered if it would bring forth corpses with no names, no home, no destinations, noteven a caste, nor a Gotra that helps us distinguish one blood from another, in spite of the colorred.I guess I sat all night dissecting the water, wondering if it would bring about that elusiveknowledge that I knew was in store for me. And then I felt a foamy caress, of the mighty seaitself, it was dawn, time perhaps for the magic to end I thought, like the delusions and dreamsthat we carry all night long, in every mind that makes a night out of a day. I watched fascinatedlike a retro dream being played out in the 2000 s, as if within the sea was being played out lifeafter life, death after death and yet there was room to fill for the exuberance and thirst to knowmore.The night was gone, but the sea seemed to whisper in some remote echo, ‘In me lies all that youneed to find and more. All that needs to be unlearnt before you learn copulate on and make yourown. But then don’t drown in me, I hate corpses. Don’t be merged in waters that drown as wellas give life, don’t be the island that looks good from afar, where birds of prey sing and butterfliesdie. I shall give you back, such knowledge, even throw it back on land and puffed with yourbody full of knowledge filled from waters deep, useless and stale. Then you shall lie there and beeaten by the crabs running hither and thither and be sniffed at by dogs and men at night forexperiments that I know not of. Look for in me, the wise-ness of the centuries and feel in me theimpermanence of the now. Life is but thus, complete in all its impermanence. Complete even inthe stark knowledge that nothing lasts, not even knowledge. I went home that night; I was notdead, maybe not alive too, but wet, tired and happy. I had become an island unto myself and yetnot. Maitreyee B Chowdhury, is a web columnist and poet. Besides poetry she writes on art and social issues. 45
  49. 49. November 2012criticism I criticize by creation - not by finding fault. – Marcus Tullius Cicerowww.gentlyread.wordpress.comTo enquire for placing ads, contact us at: contemporaryliteraryreview@yahoo.com 46
  50. 50. November 2012criticism18. EL HABIB LOUAILove Relationships as Central Mechanisms for Narrating Colonial Contact and itsAftermath by El Habib LouaiBoth with a deep legacy of a colonial history and consciousness of difference, Jean Rhys andTayed Salih composed their famous novels, Wide Sargasso Sea (1966) and Season of Migrationto the North (1966), in totally different socioeconomic circumstances and geographical spheresand within slightly diverging historical realities. Nevertheless, despite these obvious disparitiesin terms of economic and social conditions, the inclusion of love relationships in their narrativesas a fundamental mechanism to speculate on the colonial encounter and its subsequentforeseeable repercussions reflects a common awareness of the colonial domination andexploitation through such relationships of love. Undoubtedly, love relationships have alreadybeen investigated in different contexts because they constitute the fabric of both narratives.Nonetheless, little attention is paid to the ways in which love as a sublime human value can beused in total opposition to its innocent ordinary employments, mainly as a strategic technique tosubvert or subjugate certain hidden intentions imposed by a Eurocentric colonial mindset. In thispaper I intend to investigate love relationships as they are used in Wide Sargasso Sea and Seasonof Migration to the North in an attempt to prove that love relationships are cunningly subvertedto satisfy certain concealed desires pertaining to either colonial or post-colonial purposeful plansof exploitation or retaliation. …that love relationships are cunningly subverted to satisfy certain concealed desires pertaining to either colonial or post-colonial purposeful plans of exploitation or retaliation.It is very important to point right from the very beginning to the fictional techniques ofsubversion, revision and re-inscription to which Jean Rhys resorts in her novel. This technique ofsubversion as a distinctive feature of post-colonial literature is indeed a significant strategy ofundermining any presupposed theoretical stance or ideological position that a particular differentindividual may have formulated on the ‘Other’. This feeling of the need to rectify a racialinequity exercised by the colonizer is expressed when Jean Rhys inquires “why should [CharlotteBronte] think Creole women are lunatics and all that. What a shame to make Rochesters wife,Bertha, the awful madwoman, and I immediately thought Id write a story as it might really havebeen.” 1 By thwarting Charlotte Bronte’s famous story in her novel Jane Eyre, Jean Rhys1 Teresa, O’Connor, Jean Rhys: the West Indian Novels, New York : New York University,1986, p144. 47
  51. 51. November 2012criticismassumes the position of a responsible and probably conscientious novelist who reacts in totalawareness of a wrong that has been done in colonial history. Although some critics may easilydisparage Rhys’s use of such a technique as subversion of an already-existing story, I find myselfquite comfortably identifying with a premise postulated in one of Jacque Derrida’s essays whenhe argues that all repetition is also alteration 2. Undoubtedly, Rhys writes her novel with theintention of recontextualizing Charlotte Bronte’s story in a spaciotemporal post-colonial settingso as to reconsider certain colonial practices of injustice and inequality. These acts of oppressionand injustice are to be intelligibly discerned when we consider relationships of love, marriage,bondage, hatred and tenderness in Rhys’s novel Wide Sargasso Sea. Undoubtedly, Rhys writes her novel with the intention of recontextualizing Charlotte Bronte’s story in a spaciotemporal post-colonial setting so as to reconsider certain colonial practices of injustice and inequality.In Wide Sargasso Sea the characters represent a diverse set of racial and social classes thatconsciously transfix each other through classifications of inferiority/superiority,domination/supremacy, power/subjugation. Despite the fact that they constitute the same socialfabric, these different racial and social categories are oppositional in their nature because theyare originally from different parts of the world: France, England and Africa. Consequently, therelationships that hold these categories together differ from one class to another and they areusually defined by the position of the individual as belonging either to the colonizer or colonized.If we consider love relationships between different characters in the novel, we can quite easilynotice that these relationships are created and maintained within a set of stereotyped prejudicestowards the individual as a racially and linguistically different other.Love relationships in Wide Sargasso Sea can be traced to investigate the idea propounded by BillAshcroft about the emergence of both a national and regional type of literature that seeks tocounterpose the colonial/imperial center. It was quite obvious from the beginning that theconjugal relationship between the unnamed husband (Rochester) and his wife Antoinette is basedon certain corrupt purposes. Marriage as a social institution is turned here into a materialistic andfinancial affair just as any other forms of trade in the West Indies Company. Marriage isthwarted in a sense to reflect certain hidden colonial intentions that aboriginal people could notunderstand. As we discover in the novel, Rochester was reluctantly driven into this affair by hisfriend Richard Mason who promised him a huge inheritance in case he managed to acceptmarrying Antoinette. It becomes therefore obvious that the love relationship between Rochesterand Antoinette is built on a colonial negotiation of the legacy of the colonized. Antoinette andRochester’s marriage is characterized by this absence of love and tenderness. Rochester hasrepeatedly stressed the fact that he does not ‘want’ his wife anymore. This kind of repugnancedrives him to turn to another woman, the black servant, with whom he sleeps in the same family2 Jacque Derrida, « Signature, événement Contexte », (Mirage, Paris : Minuit, 1972), p 375. 48
  52. 52. November 2012criticismhouse shared with his wife. Antoinettes anxiety caused by her husband’s indifference mirrors theangst of the indigenous people as a colonized nation, while Rochesters coldness and infidelityreflects English cruelty towards the colonies. Robert experiences this anxiety when he firstbegins to think of the repercussions of his marriage to Antoinette and its influence on his privatelife as an English gentleman. His stereotypes and attitudes, cultural prejudices and racialclassifications start to emerge as well shortly after his marriage. Although the external beauty ofAntoinette fascinates him at the beginning, Rochester begins to notice that his wife’s eyes are“too large and can be disconcerting, long, sad, dark, alien eyes”. 3 This relationship of love isequally changed when Rochester first becomes aware of the racial and social inferiority that maybe associated with the notion of creolity; a racial condition that defines Antoinette as being of“pure English decent...but [she] [is] not English or European either.” 4 Interestingly, Rochesterdiscovers through his internal monologue that he did not really love Antoinette and that he isonly forced into this relationship by a certain kind of lust and that she was “a stranger to him, astranger who did not think or feel as I did”. 5 Love relationship is therefore employed here as apretext or rather a strategic colonial tactic that the colonizer, represented by Rochester in thiscontext, proceeds to different stages of colonial exploitation to secure his resources and reinforcehis politics of dominance and subjugation.The crisis of identity and alterity, as two issues discussed in post-colonial literature injuxtaposition with love, emerges at that moment when Rochester names Antoinette ‘Bertha’ inreference to a prototype of madness widely known in English canonical literature. In addition tohis transgression and oppressive act of looting Antoinette’s inheritance through marriage,Rochester proceeds to an act of self-effacement through a pejorative renaming. ‘Bertha’ as afemale character in Charlotte Bronte’s novel Jane Eyre represents a figure of insanity thatcategorizes all women as being inferior in terms of sex and gender. By resorting to this act ofoblique renaming, Rochester forces his wife to think of herself as being a different person fromwhat she really is; he forcibly intends to drive her to “subsume her identity and all the culturaland personal associations that go along with it into one he has constructed for her.” 6 This act ofsubverting the native identity is quite reoccurring in all the colonial practices since the firstimperial conquest of Native American lands. Nevertheless, Antoinette, no matter how hardRochester tries to undermine her presence, manages to stand for her right to an authentic andgenuine definition of the self when she exasperatedly answers “you are trying to make me intosomeone else, calling me by anothers name." 7 This sudden braveness that Antoinette showshelps her in fact to thwart those oppressive power relationships of language that link her to her3 Jean Rhys, Wide Sargasso Sea, 1966, London: Penguin, 2000, p37.4 Ibid, p375 Ibid, p566 Maude. Madeleine Adjarian, Looking for home: postcolonial womens writing and thedisplaced female self, College Literature , 22.1 (Feb. 1995) p202.7 Jean Rhys, Wide Sargasso Sea, 1966, London: Penguin, 2000, p 95 49
  53. 53. November 2012criticismhusband and in a way allows her equally to move in that in-between space, in a Bhabhaian view,where she can easily fit herself into both black Caribbean and white Creole definitions of identityand cultural belonging. Ironically, this oppressive renaming of Antoinette/Bertha by her Englishcolonial husband is a conspiracy that her half-brother Daniel Cosway contributes to when he sentRochester a denigrating letter about Antoinette in an attempt to lay his hand on the samepaternal, inherited legacy. Fortunately, Antoinette’s love relationship with the unnamed husband(Rochester) goes beyond the boundaries set for her by the same husband when she stops thinkingof him as a necessarily complimentary part of her life. Her resort to Christophine to use obeah orritual magic in an attempt to procure a magic love potion that will make Rochester love her againis regrettably shattered when Christophine protests that "if the man dont love you, I cant makehim love you. 8" Eventually, the magic potion Christophine concocts for Antoinette only repelsRochester from loving her, a sentimental state which consequently results in her total loss ofpower in this unrequited love relationship.It becomes obvious that Rochester represents the English colonizer in all its characteristics whenwe read through those parts of the novel which describe direct encounter of Rochester andAntoinette, even before the marriage takes place. Rochester is depicted right from the beginningas that pompous English subject who symbolizes those “imperializing desires deeply embeddedin the education of privileged Englishmen — the narcissism, the will to domination, and theinevitable tragedy that it breeds” 9 Right from the start, Rochester shows this insecurity anduneasiness towards the island which he considers to be “not only wild, but also menacing.” 10 Aspart of this inherited imperialistic feeling of sexual and racial supremacy, Rochester never stopsto suspect and mistrust the indigenous people that serve him, a feeling of difference which driveshim to see himself as being superior to his wife who enjoys the same white physical, yet notpurely on the same scale as his English native people. This racial superiority that Rochester feelsstand between a possible mutual love of his wife Antoinette whom he deliberately conceives ofas being a degenerate object: ‘this Creole girl’ 11 His subversion of love as a mutual affectioninto a mere mechanical sexual activity evokes this greediness of the colonizer for domination andsubjugation. Rochester admits in a subsequent passage that he “did not love her. [He] was thirstyfor, but is not love….. She was a stranger to me.” 12 Despite his continuous attempts to hide areciprocal love towards Antoinette, Rochester is betrayed by his internal emotions. He knowsdeep in his heart that he loves Antoinette not only for her physical attractiveness, but also forsomething unusual about her to the extent that he wants to “break her up” as Christophinerepeatedly confirms. Even at those moments when Rochester realizes that his wife is insane he8 Ibid, p709 Virginia Woolf, a Room of One’s Own and Three Guinas, (London : Hogarth Press, 1984)p10610 Jean Rhys, Wide Sargasso Sea, 1966, London: Penguin, 2000, p3911 Ibid, p4512 Ibid, p 56 50
  54. 54. November 2012criticismstill strives to control her any other commodities and properties: “she’s mad but mine, mine.”13This propensity of Rochester to possess his stems originally from a colonial tradition that heavilyinfluences the constitution of Rochester’s cultural identity. Veronica Marie Gregg’s premise isperhaps much explicative of this tendency when she propounds that, The West Indian novel insists that the imperial tradition- out of which the husband emanates and into which he dissolves- depends for its existence on the reconstitution of others as creature of European will and a belief in Europe’s right of appropriation. Yet, at the same time, it anatomizes and displays the ravages of such a system on the person who appears to be privileged and dominant. 14The unrequited love that Antoinette unconditionally shows to her unnamed husband (Rochester)is inevitably the reason behind her gradual decline into madness. Thus, the reader maylegitimately notify that the unnamed husband plays a principal role in this madness because hepermits Jamaican indigenous prejudices to influence his love of Antoinette as being an insaneCreole. Yet, Jean Rhys draws our attention to a side of the story which is not narrated inCharlotte Bronte’s Jane Eyre, especially at that moment when Antoinette bursts “and you won’tbelieve in the other side.” 15 Though Charlotte Bronte emphasizes the fact that Antoinette isconfined to a certain inferior position just “like her island, she is colonized, her independenceand autonomy subsumed to British culture and to British law,” 16 Rhys reminds the reader thatRochester equally suffers from the misfortunes of the same colonial regime. Despite the fact thatRochester and Antoinette’s marriage is urged by reasons having to do basically with social statusand finances, Rochester still believes that Antoinette has equally benefited from this relationshipwhen he speculates that “I haven’t bought her, she has bought me, or so she thinks.” 17 We canunderstand from this statement that Rochester tries to attribute the failure of this relationship oflove to other reasons beyond his personal responsibility. There is a possibility that Rochester andAntoinette could love each other without any intervention from the colonial system influenceswith all its ethnic, racial or cultural categorizations. Rochester should not have recourse totransplanting Antoinette from her native land where she can at least enjoy various cultural andhistorical remnants that constantly remind her of how beautiful and lovely was her past life inJamaica. For Antoinette, there are no other places like the idyllic Granbois and Coulibri whichcan make her jubilant and enthusiastic because Rochester’s presence unfortunately taints them13 Ibid, p10814 Veronica Marie Gregg, Jean Rhys’s Historical Imagination, USA, University of NorthCarolina Press1995, p105- 10615 Jean Rhys, Wide Sargasso Sea, 1966, London: Penguin, 2000, p 81.16 Teresa O’cConnor,Jean Rhys : the West Indian Novel, New York : New York UniversityPress, 1986, p19317 Jean Rhys, Wide Sargasso Sea, 1966, London: Penguin, 2000. p39 51
  55. 55. November 2012criticismforever. Though Rochester decides by the end to take Antoinette to Thornfield, his presence isreduced while crossing the wide Sargasso sea to a mere past memory. Antoinette ceases tobelieve anymore in any kind of love when she discovers that is transferred to Thornfield not inorder to help her recover, but rather to imprison her just as Bertha in Charlotte Bronte’s JaneEyre. Nevertheless, Antoinette’s end is totally different from Bertha in the sense that she doesnot die in her cold attic as all the other madwomen, she rather dreams to burning the house andretaliate for herself. At last, though it is only in dreams, Antoinette comes to realize why she isbrought to Thornfield when she says “now at last I know why I was brought here and what Ihave to do.” 18 The act of setting the house on fire is emancipatory for Antoinette, a woman whois imprisoned and coldly unloved by an English husband. By voicing the silence of Antoinette asa subaltern in the last part of her novel, Jean Rhys in this way launches a counter discursivesubversion of the colonial canonical text as it is represented by Charlotte Bronte’s version of thestory. Although Antoinette’s language is included in a fantastic dream, it can still emphasize apossibility of change that may result in a fundamental transformation of English social andcultural structures. Interestingly, Judith Butler argues in the same vein that “if the subject whospeaks is also constituted by the language that she or he speaks, then the language is thecondition of possibility for the speaking subject, and not merely its instrument of expression.” 19 By voicing the silence of Antoinette as a subaltern in the last part of her novel, Jean Rhys in this way launches a counter discursive subversion of the colonial canonical text as it is represented by Charlotte Bronte’s version of the story.Comparatively, the Sudanese novelist Tayeb Salih on the other hand employs love relationshipsto ponder on and reconsider colonial oppression and its post-colonial subsequent repercussionson the post-independence generations. There are mainly two perspectives when it comes to thecritical reception of Season of Migration to the North in its examination of gender and racesubjugation as they relate to love. The first view tends to explicitly endorse the central characterMustafa Sa’eed’s illustrious achievements in England as an oriental conqueror while the seconddeem differently his exploits to be primitive and savage. Strikingly, both critical positionsproceed from a fundamental premise that Mustafa Sa’eed’s presence in England can be regardedas “an attempt to reestablish the dominance of the emasculated, colonized male by attacking thewomen of the colonizers.” 20 In this sense, Mustafa Sa’eed’s diverse love relationships can be18 Ibid, p12319 Judith Butler, “Excitbale Speech : a Politics of the Performative” London : Routledge, 1997,p 2820 John E. Davidson, « In Search of a Middle Point : in Search of the Origins of Oppression inTayeb Salih’s Season of Migration to the North, » Research in African Literatures, Vol. 20, No.3 (Autumn, 1989), pp. 385-400, Indiana University Press. 52
  56. 56. November 2012criticismviewed as strategic tactics to narrate colonial contact and its aftermath. This account of thecolonial encounter and its backwash is announced by the first lines of the novel when the centralcharacter, an eminent native intellectual, returns to his homeland; a coming back that divulgesslowly the details of his life in England. In this part of my paper, I intend to trace Mustafa Sa’eeddiverse love affairs as an example of anti-colonial subversion and resistance through love. …Mustafa Sa’eed’s diverse love relationships can be viewed as strategic tactics to narrate colonial contact and its aftermath.The first English woman Sa’eed meets is called Mrs. Robinson and she stands waiting for himtogether with her husband, the schoolmaster, while coming from Khartoum. Despite his veryyoung age, Sa’eed already experiences this strange sexual desire towards Mrs. Robinson who isan old English married lady. Upon his arrival to Cairo, Mustafa Sa’eed, a twelve-year-old boy, isgreeted by Mr. and Mrs. Robinson who take him for an entertaining visit to various museums,antiquities and mosques distinctive for their historical and cultural value. In a very unconsciousmanner, Mrs. Robinson titillates Mustafa Sa’eed’s sexual desire when she first kisses him. Sa’eedepicts this scene in a much more exciting manner when he narrates “with the woman’s armsround my neck, her mouth on my cheek, the smell of her body — a strange, European smell —tickling my nose, her breast touching my chest, I felt — I, a boy of twelve — a vague sexualyearning I had never previously experienced.” 21 However, this kind of motherly love Sa’eedfeels towards Mrs. Robinson metamorphoses into a lascivious, but wary love as soon as she askshim tauntingly to show cheerfulness shouting “"Can’t you ever forget your intellect?"22Wittingly, Mustafa Sa’eed realizes from this very moment that the English colonizer constantlyurges him to forget about the potential of his mind in an attempt to perpetuate that Eurocentricprototypical conception of the Oriental subject as a symbol of savagery and primitiveness. Thisdeep-rooted racial and ethnic categorization, one which is mainly produced by a colonialmindset, constitutes perhaps the primary reason behind Sa’eed’s choice to stay in England afterfinishing his studies so as to engage in civilizational war whose primary hope is to avenge hispeople and his country. It is ironical how Mustafa Sa’eed subverts the entire colonial enthusiasmassociated with his early extraordinary academic aspiration as soon as he sets his feet on thecolonizer’s territory. Sa’eed’s mind is entirely preoccupied with plans and schemes that caneventually assist him in retaliating for his native country from the English empire and its ulteriorrepresentatives. The immediate academic success and fame that Sa’eed easily earns throughpublications and teaching positions secure his social status within English society and equallyhelp him to “win the attention and affection of several English women.”2321 Tayeb Salih, Season of Migration to the North, 1969. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann, 1991, p25.22 Ibid, p2823 Lance Rhoades, “Mimetic Desire and Rivalry in Season of Migration”. Washington District:University of Washington, 1998 53
  57. 57. November 2012criticismLondon with all its cultural diversity, its tumultuous post-war atmosphere, and openness tovarious world artistic productions allows Sa’eed to experience different possibilities of culturalencounters and love affairs. He even becomes a bohemian who rambles from one pub to anotherreciting poetry and talking about oriental spirituality only for the purpose of seducing morewestern white women. He incessantly tempts white women belonging to different classes andsocial groups such as “the Salvation Army, Quaker societies and Fabian gatherings” 24byappealing to their phantasmagoric illusions of an exotic and erotic South. Mustafa Sa’eed’s firstlove affair is with Ann Hammond, a well-to-do daughter of an officer in the Royal Engineers anda mother from a wealthy family in Liverpool. Sa’eed perhaps finds it much easier to seduce hersince she is already in total enthrallment with the oriental languages, a bait that he can easily usebeing himself interested in Islamic poetry and languages. Hammond, a seemingly pious girl whospent her childhood in a nunnery, turns out to be an easy prey for Mustafa Sa’eed who takes herto his Rashidian bed. She was fascinated by Sa’eed’s representations of a warm south wheretropical sun sweeps over everything. Unfortunately, her sweet and young body is conquered bythis very rough oriental new Haroun Rashid who seems to exemplify “a symbol of all herhankerings.” 25 Conclusively, Ann Hammond chooses to commit suicide when she discovers thatMustafa Sa’eed betrays her with another white English women leaving behind her areprobatingpiece of paper which closes her story “Mr. Sa’eed, may God damn you.” 26 Thus, Mustafasucceeds in vanquishing the first English woman, eventually a representative of the colonialmale, while maintaining his position as a famous intellectual from the South.Mustafa Sa’eed’s second love affair is with Sheila Greenwood whom he probably meets duringone of his frequent visits to Soho restaurant where she works as a waitress. Sheila is a charmingand innocent daughter of a Scottish coal worker. She is an extremely attractive, playful, simplegirl with “a sweet smile and a sweet way of speaking.” 27 Mustafa Sa’eed entices her by lavishlyshowering her with gifts brought all the way from the South/East and through what he calls hishackneyed, yet “honeyed words.” 28 Even the atmosphere that reigns in Sa’eed’s apartment isorientalized with all its exotic, fragrant smells of sandalwood and incense. Again, this awarenessof a deliberate revenge which Sa’eed brings to the colonizer’s land as an Arab conqueror isobvious when he depicts his seduction of Sheila Greenwood; Sa’eed recounts “[she] entered mybedroom a chaste virgin and when she left it she was carrying the germs of self-destructionwithin her.” 29 This whole romanticized oriental world that Sa’eed reconstructs in the heart of theEnglish colonizer’s civilization is what lures Sheila Greenwood in the first place. She had anidyllic love relationship with Mustafa Sa’eed until she commits suicide when she discovers that24 Tayeb Salih, Season of Migration to the North, 1969. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann, 1991,p 3025 Ibid, p 14226 Ibid, p 3127 Ibid, p 3428 Ibid, p3529 Ibid, 35 54

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