Sunday, December 21, 2008

Tehelka's fiction special

I’ve been helping the good people at Tehelka put together their year-end special, an anthology of short fiction. The authors we commissioned were given no brief other than the word “excess” and the result is a varied and exciting collection of pieces about (among other things): a vampire flummoxed by the system of faith prevalent in India; a pacifist vegetarian dog in South Africa; a group of people setting off from various parts of the country in an attempt to escape excess; a surgeon who likes working on cancers of the mouth and also enjoys videos of anal sex and facials; a little boy playing a mushroom in a school play. The contributors are Altaf Tyrewala, Ambarish Satwik, Amruta Patil, Anjum Hasan, Kalpish Ratna (Kalpana Swaminathan + Ishrat Syed), Manjula Padmanabhan, Mridula Koshy, Rana Dasgupta, Rajorshi Chakraborti, Ruskin Bond, Sarnath Banerjee, Sudeep Chakravarti, Sunetra Gupta, Tishani Doshi and Vivek Narayanan.

The issue will be on the stands by the 26th or 27th of this month, so do look out for it. The redoubtable Nisha Susan, who has been anchoring the special and generally bullying me into doing things I’m very bad at (brainstorming, attending meetings, calling up and speaking with people), will also put up something about it on her blog soon.

[Earlier posts on some of the contributing authors and their work: Patil’s Kari, Chakraborti’s Or the Day Seizes You and an interview, Kalpish Ratna’s Nyagrodha, Swaminathan’s Ambrosia for Afters and Bougainvillea House, Padmanabhan’s Escape and an interview, Dasgupta’s Tokyo Cancelled, Narayanan at Jaipur, Chakravarti’s Tin Fish.]

Update: just saw all the pages before they were released and the illustrations accompanying the stories are stunning; the Tehelka design team has done a fabulous job. I'm feeling excited about the special all over again - this thing could be a collector's issue just for the artwork.


  1. Coming with you recommendation, I am sure to grab the issue when it hits the stands.

  2. Sounds intriguing indeed. I've been reading a great collection of short stories called 'Dangerous Laughter' by Steve Millhauser and many of the stories deal with 'excess' in one form or the other- basically stretching 'modern' or 'post-modern' experiments to their widest logical point so that it starts looking like a surreal, dystopian nightmare. I think you might like it...

  3. Thanks Jai. This looks really exciting, wouldn't miss that.

    Are you only helping them with that, or is there anything written by you also.

    - Puneet

  4. Krishnan: do, do. And get at least 50 of your friends to pick it up as well.

    Puneet: no, have only helped put it together - commissioning pieces, sending deadline-reminders, breathing down authors' neck, finalising proofs etc.

    Lightlight: surreal and dystopian I like. Thanks for the reco.

  5. Tehelka it seems is actually an intelligent news weekly which is easy on the eyes, unlike the glossy but now dumb to an extreme India Today and Outlook, or Frontline which is copious but full of irrational left-wing content.

  6. Ever since I got relocated, I've been missing many issues of my fav magazine tehelka :-( but this is one issue I'll definitely make sure I dont miss. Thanks for the heads-up.

  7. Jai,
    Sounds quite exciting. Any idea how us folks who are outside the country can pick it up. On a different note I envy you for the Ruskin Bond manuscript.