Sunday, December 22, 2013


The Dark Abode is a collage presentation of my novel and American poet and painter Ed Baker's 23 sketches.

The novel deals with female sexuality in broad spectrum. Reviewing this novel Prameela K P writes:” Women are bodily beings. Imperial, Feudal values imposed on Indian woman, specifically Hindu woman always projected them as objects. The caricatures in art and protagonists in the earlier texts depict them in men’s view. During the age of Woman writers, author has started to talk about their body, slowly accepted her body and sexuality.” (Published in Changing Face of Women in EnglishLiterature: The Flaming Spirit a collection of essays, edited by Professor K.V. Dominic and published by Gnosis, New Delhi in 2012).

In Chapter 2 of this novel, Kuki, the protagonist of the novel  told Safiq, “What is the point of living like a caterpillar, or  leading a life of unbridled enjoyment of female flesh without any emotions or attachments?  Do you think I have been attracted towards you in anticipation of physical pleasure?  I wish I was aware of all this from the beginning.”

Here ‘Caterpillar ‘is a symbol of ‘sex hunger’ and Kuki wants to raise her from mire of sex to celestial expansion. The total novel is the descriptions of slow process how a perverted person who enjoyed 52 fair sexes could raise himself to a perfect self in love. That is why the foreword of the novel opens with “metta, mudita, upekks” Pali words that mean love, joy, to see within and Ed Baker draws the sketches to show the positive sides  of female sexuality.

Here viewers can access the sketches from that book.


Thenovel  is available with  AMAZON

Thursday, December 19, 2013

A few poems from my novel ‘Goddess in Exile’

She (Harsha, the protagonist of the novel) felt sleepy at the tender touch of Alberto. She began to melt down at a moment she knew not.

She stretched herself bare like the fodder to be eaten
Lord had leaned upon her with passionate hunger
A wild fire ran through all her veins
To be extinguished by the hope of the Lord
Showed He the ‘Biswarupa’ the mystery of creation
The original source of energy, all the worldly essences of science
The Lord bowed down with folded hands
Saw the apple in the garden of Eden, setting aside the creepers and bushes
Licked the first softness with the tongue of Basuki
To the last drop of the pot of nectar on the lips
Satan also changed at the moment
What was apparently a sin, he thought,
Now turned into a merit (Punya).

She  lay on the bed contented like an enkindled soul. Alberto also lay supine on the bed. It was difficult to delve deep into the recesses of his mind. As though he had given everything and become penniless. Harsha was afraid to touch him. Both of them were speechless. Nothing to speak, neither a thing of joy nor sorrow.


 “She was as if on the operation table
A body senseless shrouded by a white sheet
The heartless man under a green mask and in green apron
Eyes glowing
Knife in one hand and a forcep in the other
Her sorrows and agony unreachable to him
His throbbing heart alien to poetry and love
As if he knew only
the parts of the heart, veins and arteries,
Heart was merely a pumping machine
Quite unaware of the region where a line
Of poetry lay hidden.
The man treated Harsha as a lump of flesh
to be squeezed and pressed
She lay on the operation table
A motionless body in pain
Her groaning never reached him.
His both hands in glove
On her pair of soft and tender blossoms
His hands harsh bereft of any thrill
The titillating touch could have excited her
But she was hurt and wounded
The beastly man entered the dark lane with a knife
As if hungry for a long time
To satiate the insatiable.
Yes, to quench the insatiable hunger."


Harsha was thrilled recapitulating the afternoon experience. She had bared out her body on Alberto’s bed exhausted after love-making. She didn’t know how all these things happened. Harsha had displayed her showcase of sorrows, which she had never done earlier before anybody. All the suppressed agonies were let loose from a closed cell after a long time. Have some tears rolled on along with the sorrows? Why did Alberto lift her up to his chest? The long standing stillness of their bodies suddenly broke and both of them unconsciously merged with each other. She felt sleepy at the tender touch of Alberto. She began to melt down at a moment she knew not.
She stretched herself bare like the fodder to be eaten
Lord had leaned upon her with passionate hunger
A wild fire ran through all her veins
To be extinguished by the hope of the Lord
Showed He the ‘Biswarupa’ the mystery of creation
The original source of energy, all the worldly essences of science
The Lord bowed down with folded hands
Saw the apple in the garden of Eden, setting aside the creepers and bushes
Licked the first softness with the tongue of Basuki
To the last drop of the pot of nectar on the lips
Satan also changed at the moment
What was apparently a sin, I thought
Now turned into a merit (Punya).
Harsha lay on the bed contented like an enkindled soul. Alberto also lay supine on the bed. It was difficult to delve deep into the recesses of his mind. As though he had given everything and become penniless. Harsha was afraid to touch him. Both of them were speechless. Nothing to speak, neither a thing of joy nor sorrow.
As though she experienced it for the first time: an overflowing warmth in her body. Her life had attained a fulfilment at the very first union, uncanny though. Of course, Alberto lay beside her lifeless. Setting his legs aside slowly, Harsha got up from the bed. But Alberto continued in the same posture. She was eager to softly move her hand on Alberto’s body, and read his feelings. She wanted to know the feelings of Alberto. This unimpressive man also appeared to her as the most handsome; she called: ‘Alberto.’
Alberto got up and sat leaning against the cot. An indefinable void in his look. As if he had been internally torn to pieces and had been totally drained out of his energy.  Somewhere was there an agony: it was clearly perceptible in his eyes. Harsha hesitated to speak anything. Alberto smiled but it did not naturally go with the depression writ large on his face. Are you all right, Alberto? Are you not unhappy? She wanted to put a lot of such questions, but was afraid to do so. It is quite natural for a woman to be upset at such an incident. She had to brood over with a sense of guilt, her existence would have been shattered to pieces. Harsha would have felt as if she had lost everything, but it was other way round. Was Alberto unhappy because his abstinence was gone? Has this Buddhist been battered both in heart and soul by his sense of sin stemming out of his transgression? Is the man who firmly believed in abstinence unhappy for treading on the path of instinct? No, it was not the time to raise such questions. It is better to leave him alone: ‘Let me go, Alberto’, said Harsha. He uttered in a half awakened state: ‘Bye’. He did not come even to see her off. Harsha came out of the place with a tremendous sense of distress and pain.
Harsha felt as if a sage had broken down in grief for moral degradation. Whatever happened was not at all predestined but only an accident. A dormant desire as though had been waiting for a chance to be quenched. Both of them had entered an enchanting world, having been under the magical spell for a moment. Alberto had forgotten about ‘Nirvana’ (Salvation), Harsha also forgot her frigidity, her agony.


Harsha and Alberto. Eventually, they are drawn to each other and tied in the bond of love. Harsha is glad for the revival of a new life, a fresh urge to live with the foreigner friend and lover. The woman for whom all the doors were apparently closed from all quarters finds the new found love reinvigorating and life-sustaining. She unhesitatingly accompanies Alberto to Rishikesh and they are lost in the amazing beauty and splendour of nature :
When the dark clouds shrouded all around
Give signals of downpour of torrential rain
A gush of cold wind,
With the drops of rain, drip, drop, drop;
The dry earth gets wet
The spiralling warm smell of the soil stirs the mind
and maddens the heart
Where would she hide herself?
Where are the walls and the protecting roof?
Where is that loving lap of promises?
Leaving the deep dense forest
Can she lie in mother’s lap protected?
Should she hide herself? Can she avoid the smell pungent of the soil?
The fall of incessant rains
No, no fear for hailstorm nor lightning
No mind to go back leaving the deep dense forest
She could know as if a drop of rain
Flowed down her undergarments secretly,
moved towards the pair of tender flowers
Without the notice of anybody and with the touches
When eyes were closing in happiness
the rain held her in close clasps.
While enjoying the affection of rain
All through the body she understood
nothing is there in her control.
Being exhausted she would know
the down pour of rain on the body
Her mortal coil submerged under water
The rain all through her veins and arteries
She had nothing to do
And she could do nothing.
(Note for readers: It is for Harsha a fulfilment and consummation. But Alberto
claiming himself to be a Buddhist and believing in abstinence does not take this
physical relationship normally.)


Harsha, the protagonist of the novel, married to a male chauvinist doctor who is thoroughly addicted to alcohol, to whom she deserts and comes back to her parents, determined never to go back. During her stay in Delhi, she develops an association with a visiting professor in Philosophy named Alberto whom she meets at the Car Festival in Puri. Alberto is a Portuguese and has immense respect and interest for Indian philosophy, her ancient history and heritage. But did they love? Below, a realization of Harsha, excerpted from the novel Goddess in Exile.:
Now I have to return along the road
that I have trodden for the last one year.
Some familiar trees some houses known
know not whether they are still there at the particular places?
Walked along together for one year
In order to get over the fatigue of walking
I unlocked my grief stricken heart
And you simply nodded like the fairytale Prince.
Because you were there by my side
I did not look at the yellow birds on the road
Nor did I care to glance at the rainbow
Nor did I look at the tiny mud-coated bodies of small children
Nor did I see the sprouting or withering of flower petals
But you simply nodded your head like the fairytale Prince.
Never did you tell your sorrow
What kind of journey is this?
How long one can walk together
With a traveller like you ?
Your ego devoured you each time and takes you out,
Every time you get depressed and take rebirth
before you said something.
Ego is the sandals of your feet
the dress of your body
the glasses of your eyes
your wrist watch
and the powder of your face.
So many days we walked together
I narrated my sorrow and you simply nodded
You were so hard beneath a simple ‘yes’
Had I known earlier, I would have enjoyed
the yellow birds on the boughs
the rainbow in the sky, the muddied small children.
After making an insurance of tremendous faith and hope
when I knew
that your pocket contains the plan of a future town.
With the addresses of the motels and the brothels
I know that your new town is ahead And you will be lost in the crowd, but you will carry
With you my sorrowful story that I narrated during our walk together.     

Title: Goddess in Exile
Genre: Novel
Author: Sarojini Sahoo
Publisher: AuthorsPress (September 12, 2013)
Paperback: 166 pages
Language: English
ISBN-1, 0: 8172737270
ISBN-13: 978-8172737276
Product Dimensions: 8.3 x 5.4 x 0.5 inches

Wednesday, November 06, 2013

Musings with Sarojini Sahoo: Prameela K.P.

(Prameela KP with Sarojini Sahoo at International Book Fair, Calicut , 2008)

(Dr. Prameela K.P, the Malayalam critics, writer, poet and translator has been awarded with Devi Shankar Awasthi Samman for her Hindi book ‘Kavita ke Stri Paksha’ on 5. 04. 2010. She is the first person from South India to receive this award meant for Hindi writing.

Well known for her frankness, Dr. Sarojini Sahoo is a prime figure and trendsetter of feminism in contemporary Oriya literature. For her feminism is not a gender problem or any confrontational attack on male hegemony. She accepts feminism as a total entity of femalehood, which is completely separate from the man's world. She writes with a greater consciousness of women bodies, which would create a more honest and appropriate style of openness, fragmentation and non-linearity. Her fictions always project a feminine sensibility from puberty to menopause. The feminine feelings like restrictions in the adolescence, the pregnancy, the fear factors like being raped or being condemned by society and the concept of a bad girl etc always have the thematic exposure in her novels and short stories. More details on her are available in her profile.
Here Prameela K.P  engages Sarojini Sahoo in a conversation.)

1. As a woman, what is writing for you all about? Do you look who wrote
the writing while read?
Writing for me never any day coined with any social responsibility. It is a media for
self expression .I want to communicate my feelings,ideas,experiences with my
reader. It is true that I am not a propagandist or socially so committed in my
writings , rather I stress importance on the artistic aesthetic sense   always and
you can say I am more committed to my writings than to society. Never I think that
my writings could change the society , but as Camus told once, “I always want to
hang myself as I am , so that the readers could see their own image in me. But
along with my stories, I want to portray the society I am communicating with” .As
I am residing in a semi urban-semi rural surroundings, far away from Big  City
Culture, I have my profit to encounter the very down trodden feminine characters
and culture , which always are a part of my fiction.
 When we pick a book from a show case or we start reading any article from a
magazine , we first choose the name of the writer ,because we were acquainted
with author’s style and ideas and always we  compare how much the author
made progress in these writings from his/her previous one . But some times
when we read anonymous writer who are not known to us, that time we look for
the style, language and skill of that writer
2. Why you write stories? Why you write prose not, poems?
I write poems also but I don’t know why it seems that  poetry is an incompetent
media for me to express myself .I feel comfortable with fiction where I can open
myself freely .I often use  my poems within the fiction and critiques say my prose
are more poetic.
3. You are known as Simone de beaviour of India. Where you put yourself
as an Indian women thinker?
I have never claimed any day myself to as similar as Simone.They are the
critiques who compare me with the great feminist. But as far the life style of mine, 
some body may  find some how similarity and dissimilarity with Simone.Like her,I
have an elder sister Sneha and a friend Sanju  in my adolescent days   and later
Sanju made a suicide .You can find these facts resemblance to the role of
Poupette(her sister) and Zaza (her friend) but dissimilarity is ,I have no such
involvement with them as Simone had. She had a living together relationship with
an eminent philosopher and writer Sartre and I married to Jagadish, who is a
prominent Indian writer and some how our understandings are similar to Sartre
and Simone where we don’t want to impose any bar in each other’s
freedom..Simone was an atheist, whereas I am not.Though Simone devotes a
sizeable section of the The Second Sex to the topic of motherhood  but she was 
never a biological mother, when I am a mother of two young kids. But I consider
these facts have no more importance to find any similarities or dissimilarities.
Probably the critiques find some how a similarity of Simone’s attempt to dissect
female heart and brain with my stories. In my writings, I want to only portray the
feelings of woman from her preschooler days to the post menopausal days. I
think, there are some feelings, , intricate mental agony and complexity  which a
man couldn’t feel any day and these should be discussed in our  fictions. I
portray the feelings of a pregnant lady (Waiting for Manna), hysteria
(Burkha,and Deshantari),fear of being miscarriage (Sakal:The Morning) false
pregnancy (Tarali Jauthiba Durga :The Melting Castle) , agony of and annoyance
of menopause (Damppatya:The  Couple ),Lesbianism (Behind the scene) .I have
also portray the shaking situation of a sixty years old lady, who is still waiting for
her menopause and in every month  her embarrassing situation when she find
herself in bleeding (Aparanha : Afternoon).Even  in my story Jahllad (Butcher) 
I have told the story of an infant who finds herself being raped by a caretaker

4. I have gone through some of your columns in magazines as well as on
net. Even then, please tell me how you look in to the role of a mother.  Is it
supreme to be a mother?
I think being a mother is one of the most important jobs in the world .It is a
process of creation .Not only for the child in fetus but also later in making a child
life .Have you heard the mythical story of Madalasa .It is referred from
Markandeya Purana .Madalasa was a daughter of Vishwaketu . and was married
to king Ritudhwaj She bore three children  Vikranth, Subahuand Shatrumardan
.These are the royal name and are named by the king .Madalasa taught them
about the ‘maya’  and taught them that how meaningless are their names for
them .Ultimately both of these three did not pay interest in royal duty  and they
left the kingdom for ‘sanyas’ to achieve ‘moksha’ .The king got disappointed and
asked Madalasa to name their fourth son according to Madalasa’s wish
.Madalasa named her fourth child as “Alark” means ‘the mad dog’.She taught the
actual meaning of his name and the boy later became the successor of the king .I
hope , it is sufficient to answer whether  to be a mother is supreme or not .

5. What will you say, motherhood as a choice by women, or a social
Motherhood brings some feminine sensuality which a woman can’t rule out from
her life. Desire for children is a feminine sensibility and while considering all
aspects ,we should not overlook the emotional suffering of infertility, pregnancy
loss, or stillbirth bear sorrows of a female but it is a sad saga that in south Asia ,
the feminine sensibility regarding motherhood has always been denied  and it  is
always mingled with a religious and social goal of patriarchal society and is not
subjected to a woman’s wish but of man’s. Here motherhood  does not mean all
.To say correctly mother of a son is regarded highly and mother  of a daughter
does not . In Hinduism a ‘son’ is the must requirement for a man to achieve his
personal ‘moksha’ after his death. So the Manu Smruti stresses upon “putrarthe
kriyate bharya”, which means a wife is required to bear sons .This is the most
insulting status of a woman in Hinduism and for that an infertile woman losses
her status in her family as well as in society. A mother without a son is also
considered as an infertile woman  and these woman are  treated like  widow and
are  barred from any social rituals and many orthodox Hindus in rural areas still
believe that encountering an infertile woman at morning is a bad sign for the
whole day. So, while discussing about mother hood in South Asian perspective,
we should not forget this status quo. I am telling you a very ugly story of mine
which I have painted in my story CHHI (Hatred) ,I was the second daughter of my
parents and after my birth my mother had to bear very insulting and harassing
moments ,So when my mother found herself as pregnant for third time, she
swallowed a thread worm from my excreta to get a male child ,as the rituals
admitted.. So , we can admit that being a mother is one of the most important
jobs in the world , but we should also confirm that motherhood is not only the
“choice” available to women. It should be confined to the ability of woman to say
"yes", as well as "no", to having children.. 

 6. Patriarchal family system is a curse for Indian women. But we wanted to
maintain family. Is it fare to maintain it in the cost of girls only?
In one of my essay I wrote:” Patriarchal role in society is a devilish tradition
implied by the masculine world and our attempts should not be to create another
social milieu of exploitation and injustice .Feminism does not aim to destroy the
family structure or to attack on the emotional bondage of love and passion .The
motto of feminism should to create a new world with a new perspective of
equality and humanist attitude. Feminism must be a road to glorify female role
with their own sensibilities “ I think , family is a sharing partnership between two
people and  it shouldn’t be fair to maintain in the cost of girls only , so I am
always for the right of ‘divorce’ for a woman .

7. If women writes, we fetch autobiography, where as men have no
problem. Why it is so?
Ours is a patriarchal society , where it  is granted that a man could express his
opinion and decision on  outer world, politics, social milieu but a woman couldn’t
.It is considered that a woman’s life is restricted within the four walls .I have
painted a country liquor shop of a rural village in my novel “Pakhibasa”
repeatedly  but no critics in Oriya literature has pointed out that matter  Till now ,
our reader’s mind is not prepare to accept a woman as a thinker or as a
philosopher . There were some interesting happenings with my story writings.
Gambhiri Ghara (The Dark Abode), the most controversial novel of mine was first
written in a story form and it was written for a special issue of an Oriya
periodicals. Before the publication of the short story it was rejected and I was
asked to submit another story in place of The Dark Abode. While inquiring the
reason of the rejection of my story, I was told that the editor would talk to my
husband. This comment of the chief editor made me irritated and I asked the
chief editor whether my husband has an authority over my writer self? As my
novel was on an extra marital relationship between a Hindu house wife and a
Pakistani artist , the editor could have suspicions whether this was written on any
personal affairs of mine .. But if it were written by a male writer, I believe, the
editor would not ask a question and would publish it .The patriarchy idea of the
chief editor made me to transform the short story to a novel.

8. What will be the form of an ideal family, for you?
Where there will be a feeling of sharing ness, trust and respect remained
between the family .Where any job is not confined with the gender and division of
labour is on the basis of requirement of current situations prevailed. Where
children are reared not only by mother but by parents .  
9. We are living in paradoxes. We are against globalization, but live in it. We
are against liberalization, working in MNCs. We are feminists, but holding
patriarchal families. Any future change you expect?
Yes we are living with many contradictory situations .But for that can we reject
our life or leave our job or our refuse our family ?We have to fight with the
system. Recently a corporate body in air ways service retrenched thousands of
its employee without showing any cause .It is the nature of liberalization and
capitalism .But the corporate could not retrench these people because of mass
unrest among the company .This should be taken as an instance how we could
protect our rights against globalization .

10. Our sisters dipped in self-projection and sell themselves for the sake of
money and name. Is it matter to you?
Yes, any attempt to commercialize  women body should be condemned .The
patriarchal society always want to make woman’s body as a commodity ,either in
social form or in historical way .Simone once told the patriarchal system
subjugate woman’s mind with mythical values of subordination .Our sisters who
are engaging themselves in self projection to earn money ,I think,  are the tools
of that system..It is a patriarchal value based freedom for women . 

11. Our others bringing up their sons almost in the same ways as earlier
generation did. How can we achieve difference for a democratic manwoman
Patriarchal system is a centuries long tradition and it is not expected that all
could be changed in one night .We have to hopeful as we have marked
significant changes have been marked in our societies. The liberal idea to deny
patriarchal form of family , even an unsuccessful  start up to make the  live in
relationship legalized by Maharashtra state council of ministers , all  make us
sure that the society slowly open its mind and heart for such liberalism .We have
to possess   optimistic out look .
12. Now-a-days, psychiatrists say that women may be the second sex, but
weaker sex is men. What you experience? As feminists, Shall we do
something for men also?
Psychologists always deal with the virtual realities .Their all assumptions are 
contradictory and opposite to their life .It is interesting that Freud , who was
famous for his psychoanalysis for human passion was a less passionate in his
life .However, it is not true that male are always weaker sex and such statements
should not be generalized with any of gender .Women are not any day weaker
sex .It is only the patriarchal system  which makes them weaker .so is the male
community .We shouldn’t judge any community with such  view .We have to
adopt an idea that man and woman are though different in their biological
features , they are eligible to enjoy equal human,civil,political and social rights as
human beings . 

13. Concept of celebration of womanhood is highly misused by women
themselves. Do you agree?
Yes, it is true that some times this celebration of woman hood is misused .I think
the idea of love is the only way to make this equality dream to be realized .I am
always making stress on the role of love. Passion and sexuality in our
relationship .I have described all the dimensions of such human instincts in my
novel The Dark Abode  

14. Coming back to literature, what will be the next ten years of women’s
writing in India?
In India most of the female writers either quit writing or make themselves more
adjustable to male dominated values, after their marriage. You find a shyness in
their voice while relating the truth and exposing their innerself.Even their
weaknesses or love relations are also not expressed  clearly in fear of social
scandal of their character. A typical womanish shyness prevents them to write
their actual feelings towards sex and love. But slowly this tendency is diminishing
.After Kamala Das we have to wait for decades to find another one like her .But
there are more and more females coming with their frank writings and I think a
tremendous change in woman writing would have been seen in next ten years.  
15. Are you happy with the increasing women’s participation in life, politics
as well as in literary field at present? 

I think , women’s participation ,though statistically showed a remarkable
increasing graph , but there is some fallacy in reality .Today you can find more
and more female writers are coming out with their writings , but on the other hand
,you might have marked they are still ignored and are treated as inferior writer
than male . Uma Parmeswaran once wrote an article on Kamala Mrakandeya at
Sawnet , where she described that Salman Rushdie in his novels Shame and
The Satanic Verses raised the issues of race riots in Britain .But before 20 years
of Rushdie , Kamala Markendeya talked not only about the violence of racism but
also about other diasporic realities - educational degrees that are not given
accreditation, the resistance of immigrants to the expectations of the »host«
culture, chasms of communication between generations, cultural values and
needless cultural baggage. But the male dominated literary criticism placed
Rushdie as a pioneer of diasporic struggle. In politics also though all political
parties have assured to reserve 33% of seats in legislation in their menifesto, still it
has not been transformed to law as the male dominant political parties are
opposing the bill. In our local bodies , though some seats are reserved for the
women, but the real fact is  though a woman enjoys the chair but the powers of
authority  are handled by her husband always .In financial matter, though women
are allowed to work out side, but their rights on any house hold matters always
have been denied. A woman has to take charge of the kitchen , even if she is a
earning member and she  has to go out side for her job .The husband will not
take charge of kitchen , though he remain un employed , as it is supposed for a
man to cook for her family is against his  manhood .Legally, though according to
Court, sons and daughters have equal rights on patriarchal property but still now
as per practice, ownership changes hands from father to husband to son and the
role of a daughter or a daughter in law is denied. 
So , still miles to go for feminism in India .          

--Prameela K P