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“Shadows in Dream Time” by Indu K Mallah

January 14, 2013

"Shadows in Dream Time" from Rorschach Audio Archive

"Shadows in Dream Time" from Rorschach Audio Archive

Suffice to say “Shadows in Dream Time” comes very highly recommended – the relationship between illusion, bereavement and sound is central to the novel, and the title seems to contain or allude to something of a play on words, as the name of the book’s main character, Swapna, refers to a Hindu discipline of dreaming or “dream-work”, the name of her sister Chāyā (or Chhaya) means “shadow” or “shade”, eg – “Chaya, Chaya, Chaya. Life revolved around her these days. She was the reality, while Swapna had become the shadow”, while her daughter’s name Maya refers to illusion, which is referred to (by Wikipedia) as being understood in the sense that individuals “do not experience the environment itself but rather a projection of it” (see material about JG Ballard and EH Gombrich etc in the “Rorschach Audio” book, and posts below). Interestingly, though possibly coincidentally, given the sound-imagery that runs through “Shadows in Dream Time”, the Nilgiri Mountain Railway – the steam railway – which (still) serves the town of Ooty where Indu K Mallah lives, provided the location for composer A.R. Rahman’s “Chaiyya Chaiyya” in the film “Dil-Se” (see previous post). Where “Shadows in Dream Time” describes the sound of trains as evoking words for instance (openly) quoted from Khalil Gibran, in “Chaiyya Chaiyya” the chuffing of the train seems to have suggested both the rhythm of the music and a lyrical chant, which is apparently based on lyrics by the Sufi humanist Bulleh Shah.

See “Rorschach Audio” book pages 133, 139 and 177.

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