On the pestilence, survival and art

Sunil Sharma

I' th' last night's storm I such a fellow saw,
Which made me think a man a worm. My son
Came then into my mind, and yet my mind
Was then scarce friends with him. I have heard more
As flies to wanton boys are we to th' gods,
They kill us for their sport.


---Shakespeare: King Lear


Some respite in the pandemic deaths, this month, across a battered India.

And a bloody trail left behind of this sudden mayhem by an invisible virus.

The worst did not stop there. Two cyclones further battered parts of the country. Death in the air. Families destroyed---and survivors condemned living out the rest of their drab lives as some kind of sentence, harsh, beyond any appeal.


And, to many eyes, the silence of the gods, in a dystopia-like setting!

The nightmare is not yet over.

Other threats loom.

Borders closed.

Daily news of some misfortune.

To remain alive and sane---well, that was/is the new challenge!


One cannot avoid death.

Face it stoically, in the long run.

One has to embrace life in this brutal world abruptly gone absurd.

Very trying times when faith and belief get continually eroded by the ugliness and grim developments around.

Nobody is safe from the clutches of the Grim Reaper.

Everybody susceptible---and every morning, a blessing and new beginning!


In such local/global contexts, of crumbling public health infra and mutating strains, shocks of sudden death, bereavement and loss, one has to evolve and mount inner strategies to survive and move on in a strange universe, bleak and dark.

To find balance, meaning and hope becomes an impossible task, a bold act of courage.


In such a sad scenario, of a Shakespearean tragedy becoming live and real in your life and neighbourhood, Art offers a great sanctuary, a calm retreat, a pathway to recovering your inner tranquility and poise, in a storm.


This month at Setu is no different.

Same trusted format of general and special sections of art and its many forms. Stimulating and varied content.


Some cool portals to cooler realities, realms, out there!


Special edition on an interesting theme: Icebergs in the Mind: Memory, Dream and Desire has been guest-edited by the eminent author-academic-editor Jaydeep Sarangi. He has made a startling selection on the intertwined areas and brought some new insights via the authors selected for this laudable project.


Some exciting stuff---competent translation; collaboration; conversation; book-review, photo essay; prose and poetry, and an occasional column, on the unsung heroes of the pandemic---laid out for you, carefully, dear reader.


Thanks to you all, contributors, collaborators, readers, for enduring support to the journal with a 2-million-plus viewership and growing.


Enough reason to make us work hard every month to serve you better and most humbly through this digital platform.


Please take care and enjoy the monthly fare!

Do write in.

That helps us know you better…and experiment further.


Sunil Sharma,

Editor, Setu (English)
Mumbai Metro Area, Maharashtra (India)

1 comment :

  1. Vivid portrayal of our time! My gratitude to the editor for publishing such a treasure trove in this difficult time!


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