Editorial – May – June (Indo-Pak)

23rd June, 2016

Two years with The Bombay Review and this is my first editorial . I think the whole process of change and growth is one that is really beautiful.  Everyday passes like no other,  unnoticed, and yet little by little, a million little things that take place on a daily basis change everything around us. I quite love how this applies to everything in life and between all our different phases, including my journey with this magazine so far. As this happens to be our first themed issue, it is overwhelming to look back and see how far we’ve come in the past two years. From doing a small literary event at a neighborhood café to doing cross border collaborations and events across various countries. It is this that allows me to say that, small ideas, collective efforts and ambitions can really take people somewhere worthwhile.

Illustration by Saanya Chopra for ‘Linguaphilia’ written by Harnidh Kaur

For us at The Bombay Review, it started off with the intention to circulate short fiction locally, and has now come to sharing the common hope of spreading literature across boundaries; whether it’s through stories and poems coming from different parts of the world or by bringing people together for the love of literature and learning from the shared experience that comes with it; the hope that literature empowers, is what keeps us empowered, is what keeps us going.

If you’ve been following us on our social media pages, you would know we are currently on our 5 Countries Summer Tour. Through this project,  we’ve been in touch with some really talented and passionate people who have been volunteering and interning with us to make this tour happen in the best way possible.  Countries on our tour include, Japan, Ireland, UK, Saudi Arabia and India. We’ve so far had three successful events in India and have four coming up in Letterkenny in Ireland, Cheltenham in UK, Fukuoka in Japan and Jeddah in Saudi Arabia. The tour will go on till the first week of September and I am personally really looking forward to the one in Saudi Arabia since I now reside here and shall be organizing it.There is a  lack of an existing  literary culture here which eventually ripples out to various other downfalls.  It is important to open up avenues here, to get more people inspired by the power of the written word and transform young minds in these little, yet significant ways.

A recent trend I’ve been following actively, is the rise of social media book bloggers, a lot of them mainly on Instagram instead of the blog, really. I’m not sure if there has been a rise of these or I’ve just been coming across them more often now. Either ways, I think to an extent, these efforts put in by young people is something worth appreciating for the simple fact that, through these “bookstagrammers” and Book Vloggers and Bloggers, people have found a connect, with their choice of books and their reviews, that allows them to read more and sometimes, even read different kinds of books, books they would generally not give a read.  Given that, most of the youth today is on social media, I’m glad that instead of endless selfies, there are instead a hundred snaps of books sharing their space with coffee and tea, followed by reviews, snippets and thoughts that are worth reading and looking out for.

Our first themed issue, The Indo-Pak issue is finally here. For long, I’ve always been a believer of the idea that reading from different cultures and countries is what helps people open their minds, alter their stereotypes and learn distinctive things . A lot of times, I think the reason why people say the East seems to be influenced by the West so much, may most probably be because of a  reading culture there that has given some really great books to the world. What we read will always influence us in some way or the other, and it allows us to reach out to a world, a place, a culture, a character we would have never known otherwise.  This issue was conceptualized with the notion of breaking barriers through the medium of literature, of getting to know our neighbours, of realizing that maybe we aren’t that different from each other after all.

CP Surendran and Anees Salim, guest edited this issue and selected the poetry and fiction respectively. I am hopeful that the issue brings some new voices for our readers, and the countries of India and Pakistan one small step closer to each other. We are after all, one people, and one culture. To all the people who have made the India-Pakistan project a success, I thank you. This was one of the most exciting initiatives that we, at The Bombay Review have taken in our journey.

Special thanks go to Namrata Toraskar for designing one of our most beautiful covers of all time.

Happy Reading, dear readers! We have a lot of new things lined up in the coming month, as we complete two years this August. Our print anthology will be off to the press soon, featuring writers and poets from 35 countries! Have a good summer!

Warmest Regards,
Huda Merchant
Managing Editor
The Bombay Review