‘Darkness There But Something More’: Up, Close and Personal With the Two Editors Dr. Santosh Bakaya and Lopa Banerjee

In conversation with the two prolific authors and editors of the ghost story anthology ‘Darkness There But Something More’, Dr. Santosh Bakaya and Lopamudra Banerjee (yours truly). The book has recently been published by The Blue Pencil and is available in Amazon and Flipkart.
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Sharing some excerpts from the interview:

As for me, I always seemed to have a keen interest in the esoteric and the unknown, the mysterious, and my background in literature and also avid interest in films portraying the other world have only fueled this interest. The enigma of the world beneath the mundane flesh-and-blood world has intrigued me to no ends. Be it the dark, murky world of the three witches, Banquo’s ghost in Shakespeare’s Macbeth or the sombre, haunting spirit world of the Mughal times and the captivating, mysterious woman in Tagore’s Ksudhito Pashan (The Hungry Stone), the exploration of the other-worldly has filled me with an insatiable awe and wonder that has been hard to resist since my college days.
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Be it in the Veda or in the scriptures of our ancient culture, it has always been propagated that we are not only flesh and bones and our ‘Atma’, the greater consciousness, that never perishes, is a vital driving force of nature. So as a conscious exercise, I always ask myself what happens to us after we exit the physical world. Though I have known there are quite a few schools of thoughts regarding out of the body experiences, the paranormal and the supernatural, one contradicting the other, the thought that there is a realm engulfed in mystery and speculation and will remain like that for many, many years, gives me goosebumps.

It is this ongoing quest in my mind that resonated with the infectious vigour of Dr. Santosh Bakaya in narrating her own ghost story The Boulder and in curating mind-blowing stories infested with other-worldly beings, and thus, gradually, organically, our book ‘Darkness There But Something More’ took shape. While trudging the road, I also happened to pen my own story in the collection, which came to me rather unexpectedly, as it is actually my first short story written about the spirit world.

Do read the full interview here, friends:

https://learningandcreativity.com/santosh-bakaya-lopa-banerjee-interview-darkness-there-ghost-anthology/

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Darkness There But Something More: An Anthology of Haunting Ghost Stories

Back after a long time to the WordPress blogosphere, with a fresh new update for you all. Do you believe all ghost stories essentially need to have blood-dripping venomous vampires, blood-curdling ghostly shrieks and the deadliest of ghostly fangs? Do you also believe that some ghost stories can be emotionally gripping as well, to keep us at the edge of our seats while reading them? With this mission, me, along with my co-editor Dr. Santosh Bakaya, a prolific author and poet from India have come up with ‘Darkness There But Something More’, an anthology of 30 haunting, emotionally dense tales comprising of other-worldly beings, written by some very talented, seasoned as well as young authors dispersed all over the globe.

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The blurb of the book in Amazon touches upon the essence of the stories in a succinct way.

“Who has not been intrigued and enthralled by the spirit world, ghosts, other-worldly beings, or in other words, the paranormal? Ambiguous presences around us, whether in the form of orally narrated stories by our grandparents, or in the form of haunting, riveting supernatural stories in books and movies have held us in their spell, engaging, alluring us even to this date.

In fact, the prominence of paranormal investigators, ghostbusters and others documenting the other-worldly in today’s age overpowered by science and technology only points to the fact that we crave to push our boundaries as rational beings and delve into the phenomena which we cannot define or explain tangibly.

This anthology of 30 selected ghost stories by authors dispersed all over the globe celebrates the spine-chilling thrills and sense of awe and bewilderment of this very inexplicable world inhabited by the other-worldly beings. Come, experience the cataclysmic, weird, and at times, benevolent spirit world and you will never have a dull moment in this roller-coaster ride!”

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In the editor’s note, Dr. Santosh Bakaya writes:

“Some of us are wary of ghost stories, some are skeptical, scoffing at the very idea, and some prefer to ignore the topic with a supposedly wise shake of the head. Whether ghosts exist or don‘t, whether these spectral illusions are the result of an overworked imagination, whether they reflect our subconscious, the fact is, everyone likes a ghost story. It has never failed to enchant us with its eerie gothic ambience, of hooting owls, of bats hanging from cobwebbed ceilings, of terrifying screams, goose bumps, poltergeist activities, and also vulpine jackals howling, with their snouts raised to the moon! My mind is brimming with those horror stories of childhood, which have left an indelible impression.”

To which, I add, in my turn:

“The paranormal, ghostly, eerie world of spirits, witches, demons and other corporeal beings have been endearing, timeless entities in literature, films and other mediums of human communication ever since one can remember. As for myself, my early memories of encountering ghostly beings have been in the tales of the Arabian Nights, as I clearly remember the jinns and monsters, the impervious souls being invoked, or even coming out of bottles, casting magic spells, granting wishes, while even the seemingly benign narratives would be shaken and stirred by the thunderous gust of their sheer presence. The wondrous supernatural phenomena in Sinbad‘s tales that I read in school still lure me as magical memories with their gripping images; his fantastical adventures of encountering the monsters and other supernatural beings had me under their spell for quite a long time, when an indescribable chill ran down my spine, reading of the giants, monsters and the stories of entrapment during his vicarious voyages.
In my college years, my tryst with Victorian literature was embedded with the first memories of the spine-chilling image of Catherine‘s unquenched spirit roaming within the precincts of Wuthering Heights, the paranormal figure with icy hands that haunted her sadist lover Heathcliff. In fact, Heathcliff was steeped in her ghostly essence, and said: ―I know that ghosts have wandered the earth. Be with me always—take any form—drive me mad.”

The cumulative passion of Dr. Santosh Bakaya to attempt to unravel this ambiguous terrain of the human experience has resulted in this anthology of fiction.

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Do check it in Amazon Kindle:

Amazon India (paperback):

https://www.amazon.in/Darkness-There-Something-Stories-Anthology/dp/1635359503/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1506311534&sr=8-2&keywords=darkness+there+but+something+more

Amazon India (Kindle):

Mother Earth: A Plea

Note: My entry for the Earth Day anthology published by Poetry Paradigm, titled ‘Poetry4OurPlanet – an anthology of 108 heart-warming, and poignant poems on the blue planet, our own Mother Earth. I have written the poem in the loving memory of a street girl in Kolkata, India. The anthology is now out in Scribd.com and available in 43 countries.

You have seen my absurd chuckles
My coos and gurgles as I revolved
In your orbit, sunk in my mother’s emaciated breasts.
Did you revolve with me, Mother Earth,
While the starlight gazed at flowery, full-endowed children?
While the full moon welcomed them with the whiffs of her spices?

Did your night sky melt when, at three,
My nimble fingers devoured by my parched mouth
Craved to count your bountiful stars,
My hungry body, resting in the littered city streets?
When I dreamt about floating in your placid shrine,
My eyes opened up to dry patches of dirt?

At seven or eight, I have peeked through the plastered walls
Of schools where the blue globe, staring at me like the harvest moon
Summoned me, the kohl-lined eyes of the teacher tracing its curves,
I never knew the Equator; the Mediterranean never ebbed and flowed
In my scarred, burnt out days. But even I knew how
The last drops of monsoon smelt,
its juices ricocheting off my pockmarked face.

I am the earthen salt of the grimy, molten streets they trample every day.
At sixteen, even my frothy foam shimmers, dances in zigzag sunlight.
At the call of twilight, when mud and filth pops out of your blades of grass,
I paint you, Mother Earth; craft you with the folds of my stained palms.

The cosmos around, a commotion of rebuffing times.
Are you rattling, Mother earth, staring at me, tossed aside
As I clutch at your slithered pieces? Do you, for once,
Look at my papery wrists, think you could have nourished me better?
See how my torrents still sing your songs,
See how our jagged edges shine as I drown within your crevices,
Threadbare, spiraling in my earthen wants.

All Rights Reserved. Lopa Banerjee. April 29, 2016

Do download the entire anthology from this link:

Defiant Dreams: Tales of Everyday Divas

Hello friends, sharing with you all the birth of a very special child of me and Rhiti Bose, Founder and Editor-in-Chief of Incredible Women of India, which we have named ‘Defiant Dreams: Tales of Everyday Divas‘. The book, published by Readomania in collaboration with Incredible Women of India, is a collaborative dream of Rhiti and mine which originated from a nationwide short story contest in India, ‘STREE’, which focused on articulating the extraordinary journeys of everyday women.

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Sharing a few lines from the blurb of the book:

Defiant Dreams: Tales of Everyday Divas is a collection of twenty-four stories handpicked through a nationwide contest.  It is a collage of love and patience, courage and determination. Between the covers is a chronicle of love that refuse to be crushed by life’s injustices. The tales are portrayals of everyday women rising to extraordinary challenges, women who transformed themselves into mistresses of their own destinies. From the lanes of Banaras to the hills of Assam, from the high rises of Delhi to the household courtyards down south, across urban landscapes and rural settings, these incredible women are here to inspire.”

To know more about the book, do visit:

http://www.readomania.com/events/defiant-dreams-tales-of-everyday-divas

To buy the book in Amazon.com, go to:

http://www.amazon.com/Defiant-Dreams-Tales-Everyday-Divas/dp/9385854046/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1451409685&sr=8-3&keywords=Defiant+Dreams

To buy the book in Amazon India, go to:

http://www.amazon.in/dp/9385854046

 

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DEFIANT DREAMS debuts in Amazon India as number 5 under Fiction/Anthologies (image courtesy: Defiant Dreams Facebook page)

 

Our Goodreads page:

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/28257467-defiant-dreams—tales-of-everyday-divas

Also, sharing the opening speech and the introduction to Defiant Dreams, by Mona Sen Gupta, Ahava Communications, during the official launch of the book at Weavers Studio Centre for the Arts, 94, Ballygunj Place, Kolkata.

Enjoy Part 1 of the video:

 

 

Defiant Dreams sits pretty on a shelf at the World Book Fair in Delhi.

All Readomania Books are now available in World Book Fair 2016
Hall No. 6 – IBH and Amar Chitra Katha Stall!
Readers, Go grab your copies
Authors, Go take a Selfie…

Launch of The Significant Anthology

The labor of all our cumulative love for poetry and literature is out in Amazon. Thank you Dr. Ampat Koshy and Reena Prasad wholeheartedly for making all our dreams come true!

It has been an honor and privilege to share space in the anthology with literary greats from India and over the world, and to find such a caring and coveted home for my poem ‘A Woman I Am’ in ‘The Significant Anthology’, published by Morph Books in July 2015. Eagerly waiting to hold the book in my hands. Truly happy and excited about its worldwide launch and it has been an enthralling journey ever since I have been a part of the Rejected Stuff literature and poetry group in Facebook. The Significant Anthology_cover

Sharing a few moments from the beautifully eloquent speech of Dr. Ampat Koshy, the editor extraordinaire of The Significant Anthology, where he shares the joy of creating this beautiful mosaic of creative expressions from deserving poets and writers from all around the world in the book launch hosted in Bangalore, India.

Do watch and spread the word:

The link to buy the book from Amazon India:

http://www.amazon.in/gp/product/9382759093/sr=1-1/qid=1437456233/ref=olp_product_details?ie=UTF8&me&qid=1437456233&sr=1-1