by Smita Sahay

    A pimp, Yoshiwara, Tōkyō 1954
    Photo by: Hayashi_Tadahiko

    Dear readers,

    First things first, we welcome Kinshuk Gupta as the Managing Editor of the Usawa Literary Review. Through his longstanding association with Usawa he has not only brought his extraordinary literary talents and a commitment to an intersectional and inclusive feminist thought, but has also brought such welcome elements of friendship, trust, and collegiality. He is one of the youngest editors in the literary magazine landscape though his wisdom goes way beyond his years, and his commitment to nurturing and excellence are sure to strengthen our commitment to curate and ever evolving future issues on themes around literary and feminist thoughts. Many congratulations, Kinshuk, and all the best!

    Now about issue 11: I must have been eight or nine when I read the word appetite on a bottle of liver medication; the syrup would boost my appetite. And my friend, a talented studio potter, insists she has never had an appetite and only goes through the function of eating like she refuels her car. This issue of the ULR is an exploration of both hunger and appetite.

    Expectant mothers develop very strong cravings for peculiar food items, lovers crave for the touch of their beloved, and most intriguingly we crave for the abstract, the unknown, the ephemeral. Mira craved for Krishna, Virginia Woolf for something ‘beyond the daily’ life. Neither Mira’s nor Woolf’s longing were pre-approved by societal norms, and yet those are the ones that define them more wholly than anything else.

    What are the mainstream’s ideas of appetite? Why is the sex-worker’s need for wages punishable by deep stigma and irreconcilable marginalization, but their customers’ demands largely tolerated through collective ignorance? Is it okay for women to eat to their satiation, for women to express their libido? Which appetites are moral? Appetites are risky to established morality, appetites are a threat to structures of oppression. When appetites are gagged by labeling them as unacceptable, vulgar or un-sanskari, who are we actually protecting?

    For the iconic, dynamic, and extremely poignant cover art, Spaghetti Painting by Giulia Andreani, we extend the most heartfelt thanks to the extremely talented artist herself, Galerie Max Hetzler and a specially shout out to Honor Westmacott. It is a huge privilege to be able to feature this arresting work so apt for this particular theme of our magazine.

    This issue is as much a rebellion as it is a feast. All you need to do is tuck into each fine literary piece in bites, gulp them down, and let them stew within. We will protest once our stomachs are full.

    Bon appétit.


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