Editor's Note

This issue has followed on a most intense period of literary activity and interaction at the Jaipur Literature Festival and Lekhana, Bangalore's Literary Weekend. Has that coloured our choice of stories? I am not sure. But our cover art is certainly a reference to the questions of censorship, freedom of speech, the sensibilities of communities, and the political awareness and activism that the response to the question of Rushdie or no Rushdie has engendered. Perhaps the stories, on the other hand, are an indication that even though socio-ethical issues dominated much of the recent inky laser-jet neuron cloud space of the subcontinental literati, the gatherings at Jaipur and Bangalore ultimately paid tribute to a larger vision of literary inspiration.


Two of our stories are set in the North East. Patrick Bryson's The Boundary Man is a sharply observed response to insensitivity: we empathise with the protagonist's instinctive reservation, bordering on dislike, of members of an urban family with their all-knowing airs who visit him in rural Meghalaya. The hint of psychological imbalance conquered or controlled, of boundaries violated, adds tension to the story. In Prasanta Das' The Girl with Good Handwriting, the main character, delicately rendered, is uplifted by the memory of her younger, less bitter self. Set in a city in Assam, the story unfolds with a deceptive simplicity. Love Is A Thing Of The Cities is Smriti Ravindra's sparse yet layered contribution. Told from the point of view of a young girl, it lays bare the cultural schism between village and city, between the worlds of grandmother and granddaughter. The narrator in Sampurna Chattarji's story is also a young girl. She is, as the title indicates, Just Looking. And extraordinarily, through her rich observation we are led into her intense, all-encompassing loneliness. Loneliness and yearning drive a young man into an obsessive and destructive loop in Susmita Srivastava's The Path To The Well. He tries but cannot tear himself away from the object of his desire. The Stopgap, Jessica Tyner's high-strung first person narrative is also one of profound loneliness and yearning. The gritty evening out with its candid examination of self and social milieu, circles around waiting for attention from C who is unattainable because of who he is and where he comes from. The patterned mesh of urban connections social and sexual, this time nuanced by the brash innocence of youth, creates an edgy picture of life as drawn by two young women in Nisha Susan's The Women Who Forgot To Invent Facebook. Their network is widespread and interwoven and is yet self-contained, circumscribed by their perspectives. Mahesh Natarajan's character driven On Forgetting, uses dialogue and voice to reveal a self-centred yet vulnerable young man whose own limitations catch him out in the end. His too is a sort of loneliness. In this issue of Out of Print, our seventh, we offer you, our readers, eight fine stories.





The cover design by Yamuna Mukherjee contains a commissioned piece of artwork by Out of Print editor, Mira Brunner entitled Kya, and images from a piece of Kalamkari or crafted-by-pen fabric depicting stories from Hindu mythology.



Selected stories may contain language or details that could be viewed as offensive. Readers below 18 are cautioned to use discretion. Views expressed are those of the authors and not necessarily supported by Out of Print.