Review of Defiant Dreams: by Jean Spraker

Hello friends, it is a pleasure to share a wonderfully written, intensive and thought-provoking review of Defiant Dreams: Tales of Everyday Divas, a collection of stories about woman protagonists that I have the privilege of co-editing with my friend Rhiti Bose. The review, written by Jean Spraker, our friend from a thriving writing community in Facebook, For Writers By Authors, started out with wonderfully engaging twitter posts about each individual story in the collection and what, according to her, makes them linger in her psyche. The way she dissected each story with her sensitive, powerfully analytic lens was commendable, to say the least, and here she follows it up with a brilliant overview of the book, analyzing its strengths and also its flaws. WE the editors and authors of Defiant Dreams are grateful to you, Jean, for your masterful observation and analysis.

Defiant Dreams_book

The cover of Defiant Dreams: Tales of Everyday Divas, published Readomania. 

Sharing excerpts of the review here:

About the book

Defiant Dreams: Tales of Everyday Divas is a short story collection from Incredible Women of India, an online magazine that features life stories of everyday women. In 2015, Incredible Women conducted a short story contest called Stree. The contest had more than 100 entries from across India and beyond. 24 authors were chosen to contribute to Defiant Dreams.

To read the entire review, do visit this page in Jean Spraker’s website:

Review: Defiant Dreams

Do grab a copy of the book here:

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

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Peace Reads, Read Elephant Foundation reviews Defiant Dreams

Wonderful news on the International Women’s Day 2016!

Peace Reads, Red Elephant Foundation writes a glowing review for our book ‘Defiant Defiant Dreams_bookDreams: Tales of Everyday Divas’, and places the book among stellar works of literature including William Dalrymple’s ‘Return of a King’, the phenomenal ‘All Quiet on the Western Front’ and the likes!! A BIG THANK YOU to Readomania, my soul sis Rhiti Bose, all our brilliant storytellers and Indrani Ganguly who have been the pillars of support for an endeavor we had so humbly started, but gathering momentum slowly and steadily. The Red Elephant Foundation also tweets the book as an important book to read on ‪#‎IWD‬ 2016!!

Also, our heartiest congratulations to Kirthi Jayakumar for her book ‘The Dove’s Lament’ that also makes its place in this esteemed literary list!

 

To read the review, do visit:

http://peacereads.redelephantfoundation.org/2016/03/defiant-dreams.html

To visit the home page of Peacereads, do visit:

http://peacereads.redelephantfoundation.org/

 

 

The Firebird

 

And then, they hit me, just below the belt,

woman strength

Image Courtesy: Pinterest.com

And shoved me to a corner to preach me
With their habitual sermons of sanctity,
Just when I was clasping the clay molds
To turn them into spitting images of myself,
My everyday girlfriends, sisters, dainty rivers prancing
and preening around fire-lit open courtyards.

And then, they sucked the lilting rhythms of a female fetus
Out of my hungering womb, and left me to die every day
With the barren shrieks of a hopeless nothing,
My femaleness, a tough, bottomless pit
which they entered again, and again, and again,
tirelessly, until a male offspring is borne.

……Did my river bleed when my trident perforated
demon skins? I ran, and ran, and ran
Like a beast, chased, driven away,
Until the unscathed horizon took me in.
Who is it that chases me still? The rough undone
of voyeur fists and limbs? All I have sought for
Is a man sheltering my hidden pores,
A chapati between my hungry teeth, my chapped lips.

…….And then, they smothered me dead, because as Draupadi,
My fiery red cajoled them into hostility. As Sita,
My chastity made them push their boundaries.
As Kunti, the unblemished terrains of my want
enticed them to father my legendary sons.
As the black, ‘dalit’ girl, the earth and water of my being
was a living proof of profanity, a sacrilege
that they sanctified by feasting on the tar of my flesh.

And then, you who have crushed and torn my silky petals,
You who have made me sing lust-ridden songs,
You who have taught our mothers to kill us in the womb,
To mourn our birth while their cherished sons blossom
in their milky warmth, you who have made us
The sacrificing Sati and Behula, brimming with fortitude,
You who have sold our flesh for six pence, will sit at my feet,
Prostrate, when I am the naked, elemental Kali,
at my apocalyptic best. And then, when I adorn my forehead
with the toxic blood of generations, my scarlet tongue,
spread out, larger than life, glitters, gleams with peril.

Let me be the savage cry, the dark, scraped beast
Before you call me the Goddess and the whore, yet again.

All Rights Reserved. Lopa Banerjee. January 27, 2016

Don’t Tell Me: A Plea

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Image Source: people.desktopnexus.com


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Don’t tell me when you come back to me
Frost-bitten, smitten with the wind-drift,
Bespattered with mud, and slain,
That I did’nt wait for you long enough.
My ashes, kept intact,
The morsels Of my deepest elements,
The fluid warmth
Of the deep, dark trenches
Of my being–have frozen, nude and barren,
In the waiting.

Don’t tell me that I lie and exaggerate
When I say you clenched and unclenched,
As I gagged and loosened my mouth
On you, with myths and high-flying tales
Of love, and fortitude.
You have never known when waiting
Becomes a crashing glass,
A staring into space, a beautiful scar.

My nights grow in the crumbling brick walls
The chimney smoke blowing,
Dark patches in the ashen sky.
Layer upon layer, the unopened boxes
Of my taut, mellowed wants,
The pastel shades worn, bust to waist,
Waist to hip, hip to thighs and ankles
Looked at, devoured, turned away,
Stark dead, grinning,
With banana skins and muggy air.

Don’t tell me you didn’t find me
Amid the thin film of sunlight
In the dark, arid room.
I waited, customarily,
Glittering, darkening in my prayers.

Note: A humble dedication to the unwavering, undying spirits of women who bear the onslaught of patriarchy, every single day, unfailingly.

The Supernova

Durga-Puja-Wallpaper-for-Mobile

Durga

Markandeya Purana: “Durga came into being. The unique light, pervading the Three Worlds with its luster, combined into one, and became a female form”.

Let me be the Goddess in shining armor,

Let me be the surreal creative feminine force,

Let me regain my ten mighty arms, my fiery red clothes, my infinite power.

Bring me back my thunderbolt, my trident, my lion and lotus flower.

The cosmic rampage, the reign of terror is back,

Unleashed on earth. All forms of human–horrifying, grotesque,

Clenching, hungry–surround me, threaten me, mock my prowess.

A nemesis is here, an invisible cauldron, boiling along with

Black sins of human demons. Today, as the world invokes me

In temples and pandals, inside sacred places,

Let me creep inside the being of every woman,

Let me be the burst of elemental energy inside all of them,

Let me break my proverbial omnipotence, my impetuosity

Into thin slices, and bestow each one with a handful!

Within each of them, Durga, the unique light, the synthesis

Of beauty and power, would be dancing, rippling in waves,

Sputtering in myth and mystery. Amid the abysmal darkness

Of diminishing humanity, let me rise thus, from my ashes

And be the ‘Every Woman.’