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
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