An extract from the text presented by the writers of Trickster City
, about writing and the city, on the occassion of the launch of their book.
Chiselling ones writing through ones own experience, memories and perspectives, we encountered questions. To move ahead without thinking these questions through was impossible. And so we asked ourselves:
Can every day be accounted for?
Can every moment be recalled and narrated?
Does every passing moment get absorbed in our past?
Every space is somewhat like a story. A story told over many pages. And there are those pages too, which get folded at the edges, and so, when they are turned, they either wrap and silence many pages, or open out several new pages. Time is revealed, or gets concealed in this way. And along with it, many people too.
This is the threshold at which we realised that – to write is to keep active a sense of the force of life. This sense is for the writer, for the one who is being written about, and also for the thoughts and visions that unfold when one writes.
Read the entire text (download a pdf) from here
Trickster City is an important book as it documents, in some detail, the death of a certain kind of activism and resistance – a politics of public demonstrations, mass rallies and legal notices. Disputes over land, housing and private ownership have a rich legal history in post-Independence India, where the state has wide powers to appropriate private land and resources for what it deems as the greater public good...
Trickster City’s greatest strength is its refusal to adopt the question-answer, problem-solution format beloved to activists and development workers. The writers engage with the state and its institutions as one would a wealthy, yet cantankerous, old aunt: someone who could conceivably be a source of support and assistance, and occasionally is. But most of the time, she frustrates one’s endeavours, disrupts the best laid plans and will, in all likelihood, outlive us all.
Extracted from a review of "Trickster City: Writings from the belly of the metropolis"
, Penguin (India), 2010, by Azra Tabassum, Jaanu Nagar, Lakhmi Chand Kohli, Rakesh Khairalia, Yashoda Singh, Kiran Verma, Suraj Rai, Neelofar, Kulwinder Kaur, Shamsher Ali, Babli Rai, Ankur Kumar, Dilip Kumar, Love Anand, Nasreen, Rabiya Quraishy, Sunita Nishad, Saifuddin, Arish Qureshi, Tripan Kumar; Translated from hindi by Shveta Sarda.
Read the entire text by Aman Sethi here
Read more about Trickster City here
A page from an old diary feels like "a wet currency note that has been dried on a hot surface," a mini-story all by itself. A list of the dishes at a fancy wedding reception ends with: "An entire table just for glasses of water." Some of us might have picked a glass up from just such a table, but never thought of it as an entire table.
The following piece of virtuoso writing does not say a word about policemen, but ends up saying reams by describing the effect of a few policemen walking down a lane: "Young men retreated into their houses. Men covered their card games with bedsheets. Autorickshaw drivers moved their three-wheelers to the side. Everything abated." All this is not to imply that the book works only at the level of detail. There are stories here that Chekov would have been happy to write. Some of the book’s most powerful and revelatory writing is in the sections describing a colony’s eviction and resettlement: the air of dread in the days leading up to the eviction; the almost surreal experience of demolition; the all-important need to prove one’s existence through documents; the starting afresh on a desolate tract of land. These are narrated with humour, anger, irony, and empathy but never self-pity.
Extracted from a review of "Trickster City: Writings from the belly of the metropolis", Penguin (India), 2010, by Azra Tabassum, Jaanu Nagar, Lakhmi Chand Kohli, Rakesh Khairalia, Yashoda Singh, Kiran Verma, Suraj Rai, Neelofar, Kulwinder Kaur, Shamsher Ali, Babli Rai, Ankur Kumar, Dilip Kumar, Love Anand, Nasreen, Rabiya Quraishy, Sunita Nishad, Saifuddin, Arish Qureshi, Tripan Kumar; Translated from hindi by Shveta Sarda.
from "On fragile ground"
by Srinath Perur in The Deccan Herald
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