Hello dear readers!
I was recently reading a research on the time taken to read by an individual, per minute. For an average adult, this ranges from about 100 to 300 words. A lot of our Facebook and Tumblr feeds have seen frequent rounds of a particular post that talks about how we once read books far more exhaustively and with dedication than we do now. We still carry books everywhere we go, but the magic of it is getting subdued, by the constant checking of newsfeeds.
We once held books close, delved into an experience and jumped straight into a fictional world. Today, we read in intervals. We get distracted with our social media presence, online listicles and pictures of our friends in exotic lands on Instagram. Mostly, we read in the subway or flights where there is no network coverage, in crawling traffic after we’ve tweeted about how we wished cars moved faster, and in classroom lectures. It is rather rare now, to find people spending an hour before bed, just being lost in a three hundred and twenty-two-page paperback. It is disheartening to know that there aren’t many teenagers who know how it feels, to pull over your blanket and read under a flashlight, only because you can’t possibly put that book down until it is over.
The past two months have been chaotic at The Bombay Review. A TEDx talk, our third one now, and our second anthology release. My TEDx talk went rather well I believe, it was titled ‘The Literature Wave: One Ripple at a Time’. Meeting change makers from different backgrounds and fields is one of the best things about TEDx. At one point one of my co-speaker’s told me about the invention of glasses and how it came about with the inception of the printing press and the need to read. Many people in villages even today, don’t realize they need glasses until they are asked to read. Many, still do not use glasses or realize the importance of complete vision because they say, “We don’t read, so we don’t need it”. The conversation later spiraled towards our attention spans, the reduction, and people not reading today because there is no time. We hope the peoples are reading The Bombay Review and not really missing out on fiction after all.
Interestingly, the debate about time and reading has been there for a while now; there are now technologies that are claiming to ‘solve reading problems’ by running through a 1000 words on screen per minute, allowing people to read faster. As a reader, this doesn’t fascinate me. We are people who like to consume words and emotions at our own pace. Sometimes, we caress lines and dialogues four times before we turn the page over and sometimes, we stare at the page long enough, to make sure we digest that massive plot twist or that lyrical one-liner.
We are today an online literary journal itself, which I’d say works well considering most of our audience is here and through this, we do get people to read or at least try to, even if it’s on a screen. But, we’re happy that in the past two years we have also managed to publish two anthologies of short fiction and poetry, one you can hold close at night, on your ride to work or on a flight back home. This year, we’re pleased to have compiled together an International Anthology of Short Fiction & Poetry, that features writers and poets from 31 countries. We launched the book just last week in Mumbai, combined with a panel discussion where we discussed The Politics of Poetry, with two of India’s talented poets, Anju Makhija and Mustansir Dalvi, moderated by a young and promising poet, Harnidh Kaur. Interestingly, when the panel ended with the question, “Three poets you should be reading right now”, Mr Dalvi mentioned Shakespeare being one of them. Half an hour later, a boy came by and asked looking at a collection of Shakespeare’s works, “Which one should I start with?” There is nothing more satisfying than book recommendations being taken seriously.
We are terribly late in releasing this issue, and we hope to make up the beautiful collection of pieces in this issue. Here is what our Poetry Editor, Rochelle Potkar has to say about the poetry pieces:
“In this issue, James Finnegan’s fine piece ‘philosophy of the face’ is the winning poem from The Bombay Review’s contest in Ireland. The rest of the poems were picked from a stream of submissions. Sean Flood’s ‘Methadone’ speaks about the ancientness of a world that, at once, seems like the myth of a new-world. Mehar Haleem’s ‘The Almost Butterfly’ is a unique play between light and shadow teetering liberation on its hinge. While Gauri Saxena’s ‘dehradun blurbs’ is a chronicle of a time gone by against the miasma of current life. She awakens Dehra from its slumberous corners. Neil Eustache’s poem ‘its not good what they did to mediocrity’ is a cold knife shearing bare the texture of our ardent era, while Preeti Vangani’s ‘The Science of Loss’ reminds us how literature grows off the pages of painful experientialism. Pratheesh Ramachandran’s ‘Mother Tongue’ poems end up registering sharp truths with tender resonance.”
The fiction pieces are diverse and Ushnav Shroff, Fiction Editor provides the following feedback:
“Ramesh Chandra Tiwari’s Pseudo-Orientation is not as much an observation of class struggle as it is of society’s peaking interest in everything neighbourly. On the other hand, with Looking For Luck, Nilesh Mondal has effortlessly woven a tale that is every bit as deceiving as it is romantic. And therein lies its magic. In Dark Energy, G.D McFetridge expertly portrays a lucky Luke exploring Mexico after a series of incidents that lead to this quest for treasure. Melded together, these tales offer a resolute perspective to storytelling, one previously unseen here at the magazine.”
Kaartikeya, Editor-in-Chief, was on a Europe tour this summer, attending a 10 day Youth Leadership conference in Republic of Macedonia, as a delegate from India. He also took The Bombay Review to a number of countries, spread word, and got a new fan base in all the different cities. Hopefully, more and more of our readers will pick up a copy of the new anthology.
Here is the link to buy a copy – https://pothi.com/pothi/book/kaartikeya-bajpai-bombay-review-international-anthology-short-fiction-poetry-2016-paperback
Have a beautiful read! Till next time.
PS – We turned two in August!
5th September, 2016