Novels containing stories larger than life or stories so real that they are hard to believe attract us immediately. But short stories encapsulate a world of their own leaving the reader with memorable charm. The session ‘Big Little Stories’ was all about it – the stories of people around us and their eccentricity. The panel had Deepak Unnikrishnan, Shubha Mudgal, Julia Prendergast moderated by Premanka Goswami.
Deepak a writer from Abu Dhabi is the inaugural winner of the Restless Books Prize for New Immigrant Writing for his book Temporary People. When asked about why does he have so much violence in his stories, he is quick to pitch in his very humorous way his perspective about violence. He quotes an example of a man flying out of the country. He says the man standing in the line of immigration is anxious, vulnerable, and scared. He finds this act of scrutiny as violent. He shares his own experience of how his father behaves so differently in such times. Further he adds that violence offers an opportunity to introspect, so it’s not as bad as we think.
Shubha, an acclaimed Hindustani classical singer talks about her debut novel Looking for Miss Sargam , a collection of stories of music and misadventure. Though the stories come from the music world, Shubha claims that they are a pure work of fiction and at the same time, contain some of the amusing anecdotes she came across, one of them being that musicians gift each other some of the finest compositions on marriage which they might not even give to the best of their disciples. Knowing such facts, she has built up her stories adding her own imagination from the contemporary world.
Julia, a lecturer in Writing and Literature in Australia is a prolific writer and was the 2019 Director of the Australian Short Story Festival, held for the first time in Melbourne. She takes us through the stories of love and loss. Her characters are sometimes drawn from her own experiences which make the stories more relatable and touching.
At the end, all of them read an excerpt from their stories. Deepak and Shubha impersonated the accent of the native of their characters belonging to various regions of India which brought a lot of laughter and cheers from the audience. Premanka did not forget to quickly request a song from Shubha to which she politely agrees. Shubha sings her personal favourite penned by great lyricist Sahir Ludhianvi – “Ao koi khwaab bune kal ke vaaste”, yet again mesmerising the audience with her unique voice and style.
About the Author: Bhumika Soni is a literature enthusiast working in the field of data analytics, I have always found words more charming and powerful than numbers. Still searching for The Enchanted Tree created by Enid Blyton to travel to various magical worlds. She currently writes for TheSeer.