When Zenia Wadhwani emailed me about Bolo! Bolo! - An anthology, I was more than excited. I was glad that not only I had thought of the word Boloji for our site, but that Bolo! was synonymous with all south Asians, particularly Indians living in North America - even if they belong to the second generation! I must compliment sincerely everyone connected with Bolo! Bolo! for coming out with an excellent collection of stories, poems and articles.
I admire Meera Sethi for her lovely poems "False Sense" and "Cremation Rites" The poet in me cannot but appreciate Meera's untitled poem:
"Cold cucumber sky
somewhere along the way
I have missed the street
that can take me to the stars
where the acid doesn't run
where the rainbow meets the sea
Wet cucumber sky
want your water in my veins
to replenish the rivers that hold me up
and give me company
when the earth is dry."
I am glad to recommend the book Bolo! Bolo! to everyone. Please read the review and buy it. This will not only help the people behind the book but also encourage our community to take more positive steps and come out with the best of creative expressions about the Indian culture.
"An Encounter in Pickled Time" and "Unexplained South-Asian Phenomena" are just two compelling stories contained in Bolo! Bolo! A Collection of Writings by Second Generation South Asians Living in North America that's hot off the presses.
"Bolo! Bolo! is a unique anthology that gives readers a peek into the lives and experiences of second-generation South Asians who have made their home in Canada and the United States," said Zenia Wadhwani, a member of the Kitchen Table Collective, which edited the book published by The South Asian Professionals' Networking Association. "We received several hundred submissions that discussed a wide range of subjects. We finally settled on a set of poems, stories, and essays which hint at the dynamic and diverse cultural identity of second generation South Asians in North America."
The Kitchen Table Collective is made up of Wadhwani, Kalyani Vittala, Nisha Pahuja and Gurbir Jolly. They are all children of South Asian immigrants who grew up in Canada and are now living in Toronto. As Vittala clarifies, 'second-generation' does not refer exclusively to those born in Canada or the United States, but also to those like her, who immigrated during early childhood. "I've lived in the west since I was six months old," says Vittala, "but the Collective decided to appropriate the term since there's no snappy catch-all phrase that encapsulates us. In fact, we often feel quite invisible to the dominant society and to ourselves - so the four of us started working on this anthology so that people like us - South Asians who grew up in North America - had some place to find their voice."
"Bolo! Bolo! contains 84 writings which illustrate some of the diverse cultural influences and experiences that we blend into our identities," says Jolly. As Pahuja notes, Bolo! Bolo! is filled with playful images and painful themes: "These writings make equally comfortable references to Bollywood films, Sesame Street, and the X-Files, even as they explore how racism in our North American hometowns and violence in our distant ancestral homelands affects us."
The title of the anthology comes from and often-used colloquial phrase in Hindi which, loosely translated, means "tell me". A launch for the new book was held on Sunday, December 10, 2009 Elephant & Castle, 212 King Street West, Toronto.
Bolo! Bolo! is currently only available through contacting the Kitchen Table Collective's Zenia Wadhwani at (905) 507-6166 or firstname.lastname@example.org, with wider distribution planned in the coming months.