A Possible Trajectory of the future
A time came when all the venues of Literary Fests in India were booked up years in advance. Always in step with the times, Kulpreet Yadav @Kulpreetyadav, best-selling author and editor of the Open Road Review decided to host a lit fest in the Cloud and made arrangements with Time-Travel Agency to invite the participants. The fest was #Tweet- sized. He invited just 5 writers: R.K. Narayan, Khushwant Singh, Ruskin Bond, Anita Desai and Shashi Deshpande, authors who had published a fair number of collections of stories. The theme of the fest was #TheIndianShortStoryinEnglish in the Time of Twitter
KY: As we all know, the short story is constantly evolving. We are here to discuss the direction in which it is now heading.
R.K.Narayan(RKN): And what is that direction?
Khushwant Singh(KS): What, you haven’t been following the trends?
Shashi Deshpande(SD) with a woman’s instinct to avoid confrontation: Short stories are being built up 140 characters at a time.
Anita Desai(AD): who types the next 140 characters?
SD : some stranger who gets the first tweet. The receiving tweeter adds his two cents, I mean his 140, characters and send them out
AD: with a sigh, in a soft voice: 140 characters. What will happen to the cadences and rhythms, to onomatopoeia and alliteration….
KS:Baas kar kuriae. The world will continue
Ruskin Bond(RB): Where are the 140 characters stored?
KY: They are stored in the vitual world. It’s called Twitosphere.
RKN: gulping down his coffee. What does all this meam?
AD: I don’t know. I’m not a Twiteratti.
KS: pouring out his chota peg of scotch. A sort of relay race. After 140 characters, the banda goes out of breath and hands the baton to the next Milkha. Looks at AD and gives a fruity chuckle
R.B: I can see the advantage. Different personalities adding twists to the tweeted thread.
KS: Who chooses the theme?
KY: The first tweeter. Say the theme is # Love at Second Sight
RKN: What is this clone of a “short story” called?
KY: A CloudRead
AD: So MetroReads are old hat?
RB: After say the 100 tweeters have gone through the turns and twists of Love at Second Sight who strings the tweets together?
SD: The first tweeter
RB: Where does he store them?
SD: In the Twitosphere
KY: The Twitosphere becomes a social reading platform.
SD: CloudReads are converted into a mobile-friendly format and streamed to smart phones and other devices. Then under her breath: about time women got to have a say!
RKN: So who gets the credit as the author? Of the strung-together tweets?
AD: No one.
KS:Kuriae, it is the age of literary socialism!
AD: Sighs. What happens to individual brilliance? No more Tolstoys, no more Tagores.
RKN: turning up his nose. Conveyor belt assembly!
RB: What will happen to anthologies?
RKN: As we know them –they will cease to exist.
RKN: Because I suppose each Twitter-assembled package is an anthology.
KY: Welcome to the new avatar of the #IndianShortStoryinEnglish
READERS ARE INVITED TO POST THEIR COMMENTS
A reality that felt deliciously close. Had a good laugh, Murli, thank you.
Very well put together…makes a lot of sense.
Great concept with unlimited and interesting possibilities. There is a story teller in all of us and we all love to tell stories that undeveloped skill hiding among all of us given this opportunity in a care free, easily accessible with modern day tech savvy environment will flourish and encourage many people to get involved who otherwise may not consider writing a book.
Brilliant! I Khushwant especially is pitch perfect. But I think a day will come when even 140 characters will be too long for a part of a story. Our attention spans are getting so short.
And perhaps the day will also soon come when emojis will be strung together to tell the story, too!
Enjoyed this greatly!
The future comes knocking!I enjoyed the piece- made me smile. But on a serious note, this is true of ancient art in India, most of which was executed for the glory of God. The artists of religious structures are hardly ever known by name!