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In this issue

On my first day as a trainee at The Statesman, more decades ago than I care to remember, I wracked my brains for an hour trying to write a tiny paragraph about a flower show. Finally, a senior reporter, feeling sorry for me, asked me to move over and wrote the whole thing in the blink of an eye. Had he not showed me that professionals must, at some point, stop fretting and just begin, that first day would have been my last in journalism. Starting to write, whether it is your first newspaper article or your twentieth novel, is daunting. It’s the fear of the unknown, a fear that we must conquer or forever regret the road not taken. Arundhuti Dasgupta and Utkarsh Patel explore creation myths in many civilisations, while Razib Khan attempts to trace the origins of Indians and scrutinise notions of purity and Nityan Unnikrishnan, in his comic, tackles the challenge of the blank page. Manidipa Mandal writes about the changes wrought by the birth of a child can bring in its wake, the way birth can upend expectations. Shreevatsa Nevatia mulls over escaping his family and starting afresh. And Rimli Sengupta delves into the history of Vande Mataram; while Harsha Vadlamani photographs protestors in Delhi. To protest, of course, is in part to imagine a new beginning. As ever, the essays in this issue range widely, and the fiction and poetry sections are rich. Reading that will be a balm in the days ahead, when, courtesy Coronavirus, we will be languishing in self-exile.

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