Setu Editorial: October 2018

Sunil Sharma
October became dark and grim. The death of Ma---sudden and fast---left the family in deep mourning, and, the ensuing void continues to be felt both collectively and individually.

The loss can never be repaired!

Passing away of the dear ones is always traumatic and of the parents, more painful for the sensitive offspring. Like severing of an umbilical cord again. Ma always was a source of strength. Her love and guidance made the terrestrial journey for this obscure writer easy. She is with the stars, watching us from the empyrean heights. On purely emotional plane, her absence becomes a rich presence! Her values and guidance become our load-star for the rest of our lives on this earth, another silent mother, universal and benign, nurturing civilizations across time-space continuum.


The October issue is before you.

This time, the fantastic tales by Pu Songling--- a 17th-century writer from the Qing Dynasty, much liked by Kafka and Borges--- are brought as a staple for aesthetic enjoyment of different kind. It is one of the highlights of this edition. Kind of time travel, taking you back to a land, once forbidden, steeped in its own mystery. These stories are full of wonder and informed by an overarching sense of the real and the supernatural: Qualities that make them a precursor of the two great story-tellers of the world: Poe or Marquez. These famous stories of marvel anticipate a new avatar of an old genre of perception, narration and reception of the unusual in the usual; the odd in the banal; the unreal in the real--- a mesmerizing literary style called rightly or wrongly, the magic realism that gives jaded realism a fresh cutting edge.

In the new millennium, these Chinese narratives offer insights and perspectives, transcendental in nature and impact. And make the current fantasy best-sellers, mere pale shadows of Strange Stories from a Chinese Studio (Liaozhai zhiyi).

Read them and get transported to another region altogether.

Another specialty is the Paris Review interview with another fantastic master Jorge Luis Borges who redefined the art of reading and writing forever. The long conversation would be appreciated by the serious readers in search of excellence in a mass market. Writers too can benefit from his observations.

Editor’s choice, an occasional column, intends to curate the content that refuses to stale, despite dramatic changes in socio-economic-political climate of the world. T. S. Eliot is one such artist that gets contextually relevant and re-born in succeeding eras and generations.

The poem chosen for October is profound in its reach and effect on post-colonial and post-industrial audiences.

It continues to address some fundamental questions that only a learned thinker-artist like Eliot could handle.

The lyrical echoes haunt the mind, post-reading of this classic. Not many texts today can lay claim to such an overall appeal and hold on the recipient’s consciousness.


The Native American poetry translated so competently by the prodigious talent Michael R. Burch---Mike for friends---is another high point of this edition of an e-journal that, every month, tries to serve the very best from the past and present for the connoisseurs through an eclectic and right mix of the ingredients for a good issue.

The selections by Mike address universal themes and provide solace to those in mourning.

Other featured writings offer variety and uniqueness of vision and talent. Each writer has been selected carefully.

Together, it serves as a Setu (bridge) between various cultures, spaces and time zones.


The overall mood is both sad and happy---much like the dialectics of Life.

Please enjoy the spread and do write in.

Sunil Sharma
Editor, Setu, English
Kalyan (MMR), India

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