We, at Samyukta Fiction, are so excited to bring you our fourth issue! It was open-themed and you will see from our selection that an array of topics and styles are on showcase. It is my pleasure to introduce you to our four writers.
Srijoni Banerjee is currently a Doctoral candidate at the University of Delhi, where she is completing research on Partition studies. She has been a part-time faculty member at the BSH department, TINT, Rajarhat and has published academic essays in national and international journals along with a book chapter. Her story “An Afternoon” is the moving tale of a painter whose artistic life is transformed by his day job, leading to a crisis of colour in his vision and his palette – a crisis that is resolved by a serendipitous encounter with an unknown woman on a bright afternoon. The story is told in a gentle way, inviting the reader into the colourscape of an artist’s mind, making us feel acutely his sense of loss and crisis. Prepare to be borne along!
When Bimal saw the steel melted in a huge furnace and then emptied by the ladle into a huge tub, his eyes became etched by the molten bright orange. A liquid stream of steel jumping all at once into the ladle became the tint of the whole world to him.— “An Afternoon” by Srijoni Bannerjee
Soumyajyoti Mukherjee is a writer and, by his own account, worldbuilder, living in Kolkata, India. A graduate of Presidency University, he currently works as a Music writer on Sportskeeda. He is currently working on his first novel. “Reload” is a cyberpunk story set in a resource-scarce, near-future dystopian world where technology has created beings that can be deployed as cheap labour for the construction and maintenance of the colonies upon which humankind rely. The story could not be more timely as we grapple today with incredible scientific advancements in AI even as the debate over ChatGPT rehearses human fears over technology we cannot control. What is a reload? Who is K? Read this gripping tale find out!
Waking from the operation was disorienting. He felt as if something was wrong with his face, like his features were out of place…. ‘I’m staring at a human’, he thought he said to himself.— “Reload” by Soumyajyoti Mukherjee
Sreya Mallika Datta has a doctorate in English from the University of Leeds and currently teaches at the University of Liverpool as a postdoctoral scholar. Her juvenilia have been published in the Sahitya Akademi bimonthly journal, and collections such as Inspired by Tagore (Sampad in partnership with the British Council), and Desde Hong Kong: Poets in Conversation with Octavio Paz. Her story “An Ancestor in the Classroom” traces a reflective journey through a young student’s life following her grandmother’s death and the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic. The unusual style of the story will remind you of freeze-frame shots that capture details whose full significance dawns on one much later, and though the story of an immigrant’s life is as old as human civilization itself, “An Ancestor” does not fragment or isolate; instead, the student’s frail voice shines as she forges a path for herself in a new country, profession, and life, all the while channelling her spiritual connection with her family and her grandmother. A slow, simmering read – grab a cup of tea!
Her bed was a sea, undulating beneath me. I lay down under a dark sky, and my life stretched out in all directions at once. In those moments of a new and painful expansiveness, she visited me a few times.— “An Ancestor in the Classroom” by Sreya Mallika Datta
Geetha Ganapathy-Doré is professor, writer, translator, and poet. She was born in India, studied at Annamalai and Madras Universities, and taught French in Sri Venkateswara University. She has been living in France since 1982. She obtained her doctorate from Paris VII – Denis Diderot University in 1987 and her research accreditation from Paris Nanterre University in 2009. She is currently Associate Professor of English at the Law, Political and Social Sciences Faculty of the University of Sorbonne Paris Nord. She is the author of The Postcolonial Indian Novel in English (Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2011). Her research articles have appeared in many international journals. She has several edited and coedited volumes to her credit, among which is the recent Global Commons: Issues, Concerns and Strategies (Sage, 2020). She has also translated Tamil poems and short stories into French. Geetha’s story “In the Yard” is a benignly told tale of post-COVID urban life – watch for the subtle ways in which we are shown how everything in one’s daily regimen has sweepingly transformed in the aftermath of a global pandemic. How do we live our life as normal in the after? How do we make friends? How do we go back? Masterfully told, with a simplicity that hides more than it reveals, “In the Yard” is a story of our times.
She took out a carrot and began peeling its skin. She recalled the terrible images of the Ebola victims and the three-dimensional images of viruses that periodically adorned television screens. Suddenly, her appetite was gone. She looked dolefully at the salad bowl, now filled to the brim with nutritious greens.— “In The Yard” by Geetha Ganapathy-Doré
I hope you enjoy Issue 4; please write to us your views and show our writers your love. Don’t miss “Our Authors Read” page either!
Until our next issue, au revoir!