A Letter From India And Crossings
By Various Authors
Penguin India and India Log
The socio-cultural and political space of what was once undivided Punjab and Bengal largely occupy the pages of these two English anthologies. Wonderfully evocative and pointedly contemporary, these short stories translated from Urdu, Punjabi and Bengali (and a few written originally in English) testify not only to the talent and calibre of the writers in the original languages but also of the translators. A Letter from India
has an eclectic potpourri of voices both established and new; and spans issues of selfhood, family, sexuality, relationships and personal freedom.
Crossings is a judicious selection where Chakravarty translates from 'within' a specific cultural terrain with the command of someone who has both Bengali and English as mother-tongues. The writers here are mostly established, born in the '20s, '30s, '40s, and two in the '50s.
The lasting ambience in both books is of loss, displacement and sadness arising from artificially created political, personal and topographical divisions of private and public partitions.