A Thousand Unspoken Words
A hero, a person who displays great courage for the greater good, can also fall. But what happens to a fallen hero? A Thousand Unspoken Words is the unique journey of a hero who falls.
The champion of the underdogs, the writer who uses the nom de plume Musafir is famous in Kolkata. His incisive criticism of the injustices around him earn him many enemies but he holds his ideals above all else. Scathing attacks at his books and a night of hide and seek from political goons leads Musafir unto a path he never liked, faraway from his ideals. He runs away and chooses the comforts of money over the travails of following oneâs ideals. The hero falls.
But Tilottama, passionate fanâs hopes donât. When he comes back after many years, emotions, love and lust take charge and an affair brews. Will she bring back her hero? Will he rise again? Or will the thousand untold words, the many stories of the ideal writer be lost forever?
Wahan kaun hai tera, Musafir jaayega kahaâ, the retro radio show played the SD Burman classic. Tilottama looked at her radio once and tears blurred her vision.
âO Sachin karta this song reminds me of him.â
Tilotamma quickly wiped her eyes and turned the radio off. The day had been taxing enough. She needed to unwind, get Musafir out of her mind. How crazy could some people get? He had just written a fictional piece. How could fiction humiliate a government in power with an absolute majority? Wasnât this a democracy? How could the supporters of a faith or political party get all insecure and burn his books?
The object of Tilottamaâs despair, Musafir, was a writer supposedly based out of Kolkata. He wrote books at irregular intervals, and hid behind the veil of anonymity. His pieces were mostly social commentaries and satires on the state of Bengal. They were all fictional but had come under severe criticism in the past few months. Little paperbacks in funny covers, his books were available in old, rambling, bookstores across the city. Some were also available with the book vendors on the footpaths of the city.
When the news of the pulping of Musafirâs books had reached her a couple of days ago, Tilottama hadnât thought things would go beyond a protest or two. The people of the city wouldnât let go of things without a sign of protest. They got agitated at trivial things like who was included in a cricket team, and burned effigies and tyres in protest. They took out processions for Vietnam and Gaza. They could protest against him; but there would also be scores who would come out for her Musafir. They did when Firaz was hounded for his paintings of Goddesses.
âAnd when they come out in large numbers, these goons will realize what it feels like standing before a civil society. They just canât stifle Musafirâ, she had confidently told her friends. What she did not realize was Musafir wasnât exactly popular with the masses. His works were mostly literary and catered to niche readers. Her admiration for him had made her assume he was more popular than he really was.
Things had happened much faster than expected and spiralled out of control. Musafirâs printing press was vandalized and set on fire. Even as she and other Musafir fans watched, his books were dumped into that raging fire; words and hopes lost. The hundred odd fans tried to put up a bravefight, sang songs of freedom and stood with placards. But nothing worked. A couple of local channels had tried to stand by them in solidarity. The protest ended as a camera was smashed by the hoodlums on the road. People started fleeing fearing more violence.
âThey would kill us if they couldâ, Tilottama angrily spat out. âWe were just so outnumbered. These were organized cadres. Yes, they were. Their bosses just canât pretend to be innocent.â
A handful of policemen stood by pretending as if nothing was happening. The printing press was in one of the dingier parts of North Kolkata. It mainly did odd jobs like printing leaflets and bills, a few little magazines etc. and would print Musafirâs books on the sly. That is where he gave shape to his voice. The place was reportedly registered in the name of a man long dead, and people were left guessing who Musafir was. Some said the owner was a refugee who was avenging years of discontent. Some said his son was murdered by members of the ruling party. Some said he was just a frustrated man using the medium to lend himself a voice. To some other the entire idea was amusing and fascinating.
Tilottama grimaced and wiped her face clean. She was cutting a very sorry picture indeed, covered in grime andtears. All she could think of was her Musafir. She fought back her tears wondering what could have happened to her hero. For the past couple of years a strong wind of incumbency was blowing and Musafirâs voice had become stronger. Everything came under Musafirâs attack; from Dhaniajhapi to the burning of monks, the ban on English in government run schools, the apathy in the use of computers and much more. However, recently he had become vocal against all forms of religious appeasement and challenged the special religious laws. He had also set the stage against land acquisition bills, mismanaged industrialization plans and pre-election harangues. Musafir wrote as many books as possible bringing the discrepancies to light. And that is what brought about his downfall.
Tilottama sat on her bed and hugged her knees to her chest and went over the events of the day. She bit back the memory of the man who had asked her to let go of her placard, but that face would just not fade.
âWhat had he called himself,â she wondered, âAyushmaan . . .no Riddhimaan.â
He was a photographer! How dispassionate could he be?He had watched the carnage, merrily taken snaps and asked her to throw away her placard. If even the press did not come out in support of Musafir, then who would? Werenât both of them fighting to make the pen immortal? Why was the media silent now; because Musafir didnât have international backing, or corporate sponsors? She was upset that Poltu had shamelessly praised the man. Riddhimaan and the likes of him would give importance to writers only if they had a South Block or Writersâ Building backing.
âI wish this government goes down. They will go down. I promise you Musafir they will,â she told herself.
The loud banging of her window pane broke her reverie. The rains had lashed Kolkata with all their fury that evening.
âEven Mother Nature is angry. Drown the city, drown all of us. Since we have nowhere to go and hide our shame,â Tilottama said aloud.
She continued to rant as she shut the window. She had hurt her finger in the process. Then she walked into her bedroom looking for the first aid box. As she cleaned the cut, the antiseptic made her skin burn and her thoughts drifted to Musafir. There was no way to divert her mind. Maybe reading Musafir would help, or maybe writing. Musafir always said he wrote to look for answers. Maybe she could do that too. But nothing gave her peace; maybe she was obsessed with the writer. The gag on Musafir was beginning to become a personal loss to her.
About Paulami Duttagupta
Paulami DuttaGupta is a novelist and screen writer. She shuttles between Kolkata and Shillong. She has worked as a radio artist, copy writer, journalist and a television analyst at various stages of her life, having been associated with AIR Shillong, The Times of IndiaâGuwahati Shillong Plus, ETV Bangla, The Shillong Times, Akash Bangla and Sony Aath.As an author, her short stories have appeared in various anthologies and literary magazines. A Thousand Unspoken Words is her fourth book. Paulami also writes on politics, social issues and cinema. Her articles have appeared in Swarajya, The Forthright and NElive.
Paulami is associated with cinema and her first film, Ri-Homeland of Uncertainty received the National Award for the Best Khasi Film. Her second film OnaatahâOf the Earth is at post production stage and will release in 2016. She is currently working on her third screenplay. A short film tentatively titled âPatjharâ is also in the pipeline.
Paulami is a complete foodie and is almost obsessed with watching one film every day. She also loves readingâpolitical and social commentaries are her favourite genre. Literature classics and books on cricket are also a part of her library, apart from a huge collection of romances. Jane Austenâs fictional character Mr. Darcy is her lifelong companion. She is an ardent fan of Rahul Dravid and has been following all news about him for almost twenty years now.
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Laurent Guillaumeon Tour November 2-21 with
White Leopard(hard-boiled African noir) Release date: November 19, 2015 at Le French Book 238 pages ISBN: 978-1939474506 Website | Goodreads
SYNOPSISEverything is possible and nothing is certain in Bamako. A man torn between two continents finds himself in a dangerous confrontation between tradition and corruption. Solo is a former cop who ran away from a dark past in France to start his life over again in Bamako, Mali, as a PI. An ordinary case turns out to be not so ordinary. The drug mule gets her throat slit. The French lawyer is too beautiful and too well-informed. The cocaine is too plentiful. This is hard-boiled noir with a modern twist set in West Africa.
ABOUT THE AUTHORLaurent Guillaume is a multiple-award-winning French writer and former police officer. In law enforcement, he worked anti-gang, narcotics, financial crimes, and served in Mali as advisor to the local police. He is now a full-time writer.
ABOUT THE TRANSLATOR
Sophie Weiner is a freelance translator and book publishing assistant from Baltimore, Maryland. After earning degrees in French from Bucknell University and New York University, Sophie went on to complete a master’s in literary translation from the Sorbonne, where she focused her thesis on translating wordplay in works by Oulipo authors. She has translated and written for web-based companies dedicated to art, cinema, and fashion as well as for nonprofit organizations. Growing up with Babar, Madeline, and The Little Prince, Sophie was bitten by the Francophile bug at an early age, and is fortunate enough to have lived in Paris, Lille, and the Loire Valley.
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BOOK BLURB :
All life on earth is about to be terminated by an entity as old as the galaxy itself. To make matters worse, Simon has broken everything already.
In a future world that is run by computer systems and that is without want, how can a man find his role? Then, if the very computers he works on to try to make them more human suddenly try to kill him, revealing a secret so vast that it affects every living soul on the planet, can that man be a hero?
These are the questions that face the stumbling, comic, and certainly flawed Simon Bank. His job is to work with the System’s artificial intelligence, making it fit more perfectly into human society so that it can keep the country running smoothly. But when the System threatens the peaceful world he knows, Simon suddenly must rush to save his own life, as well as the life of everyone on earth. Forced to reassess everything that he thought he knew, he is caught within circumstances way beyond his control.
Simon’s only hope is to rely on intellect and instincts he didn’t know he had, and on new friends, not all of them human, to change himself and all humanity. And he doesn’t have much time.
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Peter Riva has worked for more than thirty years with the leaders in aerospace and space exploration. His daytime job for more than forty years has been as a literary agent. He resides in New York City.
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Win 1 of 10 print or audiobook copies of The Path and (2) $25 Amazon gift cards (International)!
GENRE: Coming of Age/Christian fiction
The fourth anniversary of Olivia’s daddy and John Lennon’s death is approaching. Like the shot heard ’round the world, TV and radio stations keep the frenzy alive and recognize Lennon’s life, while Olivia’s mama remembers Daddy’s death. Instead of healing, Mama’s strange behavior keeps getting worse.
After viewing an afternoon talk show, Olivia discovers her mother might have more than a case of eccentricity – she may be mentally ill. When those fears are confirmed, Olivia is faced with more decisions than any sixteen-year-old should have to make. With no adult family members to turn to, she is forced to trust the only people who’ve offered help: one strange man and a friend her mother makes at the mental institution.
Facing the intricacies of her mother’s illness one minute and the decision to have sex with her new boyfriend the next, Olivia finds that through faith and determination, she can conquer it all in this poignant story of love, intuition, compassion, and hope.
“Well look at you, Miss Trailer Queen, all wrapped up in a fur coat. Did your little brother catch it live and skin it for you, too?” Luke had gone from a baseball-playing typical young boy to a backwoods hick since we’d moved to the trailer park, but insulting him like she did made my chest tight and my face burn.
At first, I felt a spike of anger, ready to thrust from my fist into Monica’s button nose. Instead, I fluttered my lashes and held my head high. “No, Monica. Only your daddy would accomplish such a task by hand. I got this as a gift.”
Monica’s face reddened. I could almost see smoke whistling from her ears as her mind spun fast, trying to outwit me. Regardless of her standing as Landon’s golden girl, my wit sparked of amber and sapphire. Monica’s smoldered like a windblown matchstick. I shared a subtle grin of satisfaction on my way out the door to the hallway.
Had my daddy lived he would have spoiled me the same as Monica’s daddy, probably even more. I missed our old house. I missed the hidden corners and secret places I’d disappear to when I yearned for privacy. I missed the peach tree that sprawled across our front lawn. It stood so tall that in full summer, I could reach outside my bedroom window and grab a peach right from the branch.
After Mama ran out of Daddy’s insurance money, we had no choice but to leave our beautiful home and move to Woodlane Trailer Park on the other side of Landon. It was painful for everyone. Becoming the only male in the house and changing schools hurt Luke even more. Luke wanted to leave school, but I saw school as an escape. I was lucky to remain in the same high school. Even though Monica graced the hallways of Landon High, I refused to let her ruin my only happiness. School helped me in many ways. Not only because I loved to learn, but because of Mattéo Santoro.
AUTHOR Bio and Links:
Wendy Lynn Decker has lived in thirteen different towns in the state of New Jersey. Now, she lives a bike ride away from the ocean and her favorite restaurant. She is the author of the middle-grade chapter book, THE BEDAZZLING BOWL, which is the first book intended for a series.
Find her here:
WendyDecker19 - http://www.twitter.com/wendydecker19
LinkedIn - https://www.linkedin.com/pub/wendy-lynn-decker/46/166/3a2