"If you are alive, you produce some light.” Makosinski
(From the story ‘Switch’)
‘Bhumi’ is an anthology by a bold young writer, Tina Sequeira, who has created a mosaic of stories around strong and intrepid protagonists, mostly women. Her narratives bring out the fact clearly that modern women are no damsels in distress, but are one step ahead always, finding solutions to life’s darkest problems. Understandably, the book was the winner of the Rashtriya Gaurav Award by the Government of Telangana. The foreword by the versatile and prolific writer, Ms. Santosh Bakaya, is yet another reason to look forward to these beautifully written stories.
Hope and resilience are the themes of many of the stories in this anthology, be it ‘Mirror, Mirror on the Wall’ or ‘Fat Chance’. Women who have been hurt or shamed also rise like the phoenix and batter down the walls that have tried to contain them, breaking out in glorious freedom. ‘Climax’ has one such protagonist who picks up the pieces of her life, while ‘Stark Illusions’ teaches the lesson of bouncing back when thrown against the direst of situations.
There are also those fearless women, like the Professor in ‘Juxtaposition’, Dinaz in ‘Pound of Flesh’ and the ‘Unbridled’ Ramona, all of whom go through the travails of life and emerge triumphant at the end of it.
Tina Sequeira’s writing style has a free and unfettered flow to it, like a river that meanders towards the sea. Some examples that are ever so beautiful are found in some of my favourite stories, like the ones below from ‘Grey’.
Like the radiant shade of the peacock’s feathers.
Or the thick feathery touch of the grasshopper.
Or moss snug closely to the bottom of the walls.
Or the olive border in Ammamma’s white-bodied sari.”
Like a big, gentle, and wise elephant.
Or the pearl inside a warm oyster shell.”
The above story reminds me of my own relationship with my grandmother, especially the wonderful quote, “You live life only once. Live it well. Be wild, but also wise.”
Another example is from ‘Crazy Courage’ where Saira who “carried the weather inside her, and made the most of her childhood days, wise enough to know that it would not last too long,” finally weathered the storm by living life on her own terms.
However, if you were to ask me which my favourite stories were, I would without hesitation pick the last story, ‘Bhumi’ and the story that kick starts the entire book ‘Amma’, both stories that prove that sometimes it takes time for love to blossom, but when it does, it is worth the wait.
As is this book!
The purchase link of this book is as follows: