We often fawn over the stories from the mainstream wellsprings of the international platforms. The stories that have captured imaginations across the world on account of their scale and grandeur. The preoccupation with the mainstream stories that inundate the repository makes the content reposed in the niches escape our attention. Nevertheless, those stories represent the true spirit and essence of the geography they emerged from, being just as worthy of a wider platform. It is commendable that publications and institutions take initiatives to steadily pluck the local stories from obscurity and package them in a coherent and appealing format for the readers across the world.
One such publication in India that comes to mind when we speak of the portals that revive the forgotten and underrepresented artforms and promote the rustic and stirring stories from the nooks and crannies of our country and the world is Blaft Publication.
Speaking to AnimationXpress at the Mumbai ComiCon, Blaft Publication co-founder Rashmi Ruth Devadasan had described Blaft as “an independent publishing house based in Chennai. Our list includes Indian and Pakistani crime novels, pulp art, folktales, graphic novels and content from all around the world”
Where are you going, you monkeys? is another quirky book that fits the criterion of the strange and intriguing section. These Tamil folktales contain a gallery of jealous husbands and conniving goddesses, pious sparrows and randy mice, jewel-crazy girl ghosts and angry star demons.
The Blaft book of six short mythological tales from the northeastern Indian state of Mizoram. The book also includes a retelling of the Mizo creation myth: from the Thimzing (or Great Darkness) to the legendary Feast of Thlanrawkpa, and the war between the beasts of the air and the beasts of the land.
Stupid guy goes to India available on Blaft publication is about a 56-year-old manga author Yukichi Yamamatsu who travels to India, armed with little money, less English, no sigmoid colon, and absolutely no idea of what to expect. Having largely emerged as a space for the translations, Blaft Publication bucked the trend by not taking the oft-trodden path of mainstream publishing. Kickstarting the journey with Tamil pocket novels that you find adorned in every local tea shop across Tamil Nadu. Tawdry yet appealing covers featuring hand-painted cover art with conspicuous titles of the original region novellas, Blaft publication set in motion the task of compiling and bringing to the fore those cult classics of the 80’s era. The Blaft Anthology of Tamil Pulp Fiction, Vol 2008 features English translations of short novellas by some of the most profound and loved authors of Tamil popular fiction. Blaft Publications’ paperbacks are sold both online, as well as in bookstores.
With an aim to give a platform to a variety of genres ranging from regional fiction to Indie comics and graphic novels, Blaft Publication is inching towards diversity in its overall orientation. In its decade-long existence, Blaft has published around 22 books. At the heart of it, its the quirkiness that Blaft seeks in the content they publish.
We hope more such publishing houses come forward and uphold the spirit of reviving the stories that deserve to be told.