Nowdays, a new anthology comes up in the Indian market, every few months. Fresh on the bookshelves is Urban Shots Yuva, a new anthology of 25 short stories, featuring young authors from all over India. The book offers a fresh perspective on young writing in India. Each come with their own set of ideas, and style, giving the book a completely different feel.
(From left to right) Lipi Mehta and Aditya Narayanan
Lipi Mehta, one of the writers and also the editor of the book, is a geeky 22-year-old, who believes reading a lot is essential for better writing, while the others are either still in college or are regular bloggers, publishing their stories for the first time.
“This is my first experience in editing a book and I must say I am very excited excited. But working on it was not easy, as though I have been writing since I was very young, couple of my stories were rejected before they selected this one,”
Kailash Srinivasan and (below) Hina Siddiqui are the two authors from Pune whose stories are part of the book, Urban Shots Yuva
The emotions are no different with Aditya Narayanan, a college student, who wrote the story, Elephant. “I had never thought that my story would be a part of a book. The feeling is yet to sink in. Actually, even though one is active on blogs and websites, a book is a totally different platform. I would like to see more youngsters using platforms such as this to present their work. If not, even then, they should keep on writing. I did so. Sooner or later talent gets it due,” says Narayanan.
But for some writers like Hina Siddiqui, author of two stories in the anthology — The Pillow Knows Our Secret, and Slut — writing a short story was always a part of the plan, especially when it comes to reaching to a larger base of readers. “Looking at the diversity of topics covered in this book, our audience is wider and not restricted to a certain age group. Having one story different than the other gives a wider scope for the readers to choose from,” says the author who is one of the two writers from Pune.
Kailash Srinivasan, the other Puneite believes that the genre of short stories is here to stay. “Short stories in India have a vast readership. We have many prolific writers. Readers prefer some new writer coming up with a fresh kind of story than reading the same author again on the similar lines of a college or group romance saga,” he says.
The fresh approach is something, says Mehta, readers would enjoy a lot. Speaking further on the special treatment given to the book, the author and editor says, “In Urban Shots Yuva, I have tried to maintain a particular sequence with the stories. Like a light-hearted story goes first followed by a romantic piece and then come a tragic narration and an inspirational something in the end. Thus to get a complete reading experience and a roller coaster ride, I suggest the reader to read chronologically.”
But was it easy being a writer and an editor on the same book? “Not really,” says Mehta, “While working on a novel once you catch the style of the writer, it all goes smoothly. However, in an anthology of short stories every piece is written by a different author with a different emotion; it is a tough job,” she concludes.