Shastri Akella /
March 1, 2023
The Magic Bangle | Shastri Akella

About The Author

Shastri Akella

Shastri Akella’s debut novel, The Sea Elephants, is forthcoming from Flatiron Books in July 2023.

I recently endured a homophobic attack in Hyderabad, my hometown. In “The Magic Bangle,” I reinvent Hyderabad’s old district as a queer utopia. This decision was inspired by the myths my maternal grandmother once told me. In the South Asia of her tales, nonhumans and humans were equals, wish-granting djinns didn’t demand sacrifices, and god was a friend whose blue face you could playfully smear with mud. The telling of such fairy tales, I believe, isn’t escapist; it’s a way of wishing a desired future into being, of believing that “another world is not only possible, she’s on her way. On a quiet day, I can hear her breathing.” (Arundhati Roy)