Editor's Note

Out of Print is privileged to have two stories translated from Kannada in the December 2017 issue, one by the remarkable writer and activist P Lankesh and the other by the distinct urban voice of Jayant Kaikini. The issue also features three works by women writing in English, each distinct and bold.


At once deeply moving, profoundly tragic, yet ultimately transcendental in its sense of hope, Jayant Kaikini’s story, ‘The Threshold’, beautifully translated by Pratibha Umashankar-Nadiger transports the reader into Mucchi Mian’s cramped makeshift shop of discarded wares that is touched, one afternoon, by magic.


On her first day at work, the protagonist struggles to meet her target at garment factory described with an almost stylised chillingness by Kavya Sharma. As ominous whispers from the other women workers urge her to hurry, in a terrifying echo of the title ‘Mr Patted My Back’, the young woman encounters their supervisor’s seemingly concerned presence.


The particular sharp observations of the writer who now uses the pseudonym Shikhandin are featured in Out of Print once again. In ‘Taste’, conversations bordering on the ridiculous around foreign holidays and stinky cheeses including a ‘half blue, half white, smelling-so-bad fungus-walla’ one take the reader into the life and hopes of Dimple as she negotiates independence and aspiration.


Sudha G Tilak’s ‘The Missing’ is set in a refugee camp for Sri Lankan Tamils. Through the voice of a young girl, we are taken into the realities of the survival and existence of the girl and her mother as she is interviewed by a journalist whose perceptions are completely disparate with those realities. Although particular to the Sri Lankan struggle that has lasted over generations, the story echoes those we hear about refugee camps all over the world.


We close the issue at the end of this calendar year with Lankesh’s work jointly translated by Narayan Hegde and Chandan Gowda. Set in the fresh, open air of the beautiful Lalbagh gardens, a writer who is passing the time in observation, is confronted by the disintegrating, or more precisely, the unrealised friendship between two retired gentlemen who have known each other for many years. Through the harsh ugliness that underlines their relationship, the writer is driven to contemplate pain; the story ends with the line that resonates: Why can’t we, like these trees, give shade and let flowers blossom dispassionately and magnanimously?



Out of Print continues to post updates on the Out of Print Blog, and on Facebook, and Twitter.



The cover design by Yamuna Mukherjee contains images from a piece of Kalamkari or crafted-by-pen fabric depicting stories from Indian mythology.

The cover image by Neha Choksi is the third panel from a series of 7 woodcuts, Repeat Integrity (Oak), 47 x 35 inches each panel, unique series, 2016. Photo credit: Anil Rane.

Los Angeles and Mumbai-based Neha Choksi makes work in various media, including performance, video, sculpture, photo, sound, and hybrid installations. Often her work explores how we seek, experience and acknowledge absentings and transformations in material, temporal and psychological terms. Increasingly her work includes her own intellectual, cultural and social contexts. She does this by setting up simple situations and memorable interventions, disrupting logic to open a space for poetry, absurdity, humour, surprise and existential insight.

Of the Integrity series, of which Repeat Integrity (Oak) is one, she says, ‘For each work I took a sheet of veneer and exploited its grain to create woodcuts of some simplicity. Typically in a woodcut you gouge into the surface of the wood, removing the parts you don’t want to print, ink the surface left in relief and make a woodcut. Instead, I cut a circle into the entire piece of veneer, with the blade mark leaving its kerf missing, rotated the circle in the same plane, and then followed the traditional method of hand-inking and hand-printing with a barren.

The woodcut lines that create the circle also detach the circle from the surrounding material. The pattern of the grain is disrupted, the connection broken, the communication ever so slightly connected.

In Repeat Integrity I inked the woodcut normally for the first print but did not wipe my matrix clean as one would in order to print again. I then re-inked over it with exponentially ever more ink with each printing, thus obscuring the matrix over time. The effacement is a revelation of its own.’

Choksi’s work has been exhibited worldwide in galleries, museums, festivals, film screenings, and are in notable public and private collections. Recent institutional solo exhibitions of her work include exhibitions at the Manchester Art Gallery (2017) and the Hayward Gallery Project Space, London (2015).  Several new commissions include work for the 20th Biennale of Sydney (2016), Los Angeles Museum of Art at Occidental College (2017), Dhaka Art Summit (2018), 18th Street Arts Center (2018), and the University Art Museum, California State University, Long Beach (2019). Her work has been selected twice for the Sculpture Park at the Frieze Art Fair, London, and was included in the 10th Venice Architecture Biennale.

She was recently honored with the India Today 2017 Award for the Best New Media Artist of the Year and with the designation of 2017/2018 Cultural Trailblazer by the City of Los Angeles Department of Cultural Affairs. Choksi is on the editorial board of the Los-Angeles arts journal, X-TRA, and is represented by Project 88, Mumbai.


Repeat Integrity (Oak), 47 x 35 inches each panel, unique series, 2016. Photo credit: Anil Rane.



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.