Friday, November 14, 2014

A Short Story about a Short Story Collection (Part -II)

Thanks a lot to each and everyone for commenting, messaging and appreciating the first part of this post. Your words encourages, inspires and motivates me. And, I'll always be grateful to you for your kindness.

Those who haven't read the first part of this post can do so by visiting the link here: Others can go ahead reading further.

Everything was organized for the launch ceremony. Tarun, Pari and all other contributors already reached much before the launch. The anthology in an attractive, shining cover was kept on a table. Pari picked one of them and turned a few pages in it. She read the acknowledgements there. The more she read, the more her heart cried. Few drops of tears trickled down her cheeks. Tarun didn’t even care to acknowledge her for all the hard work she did.

The launch started. Each of the contributors who were present there was given an opportunity to share his/her feelings. Pari did the same. However, she didn’t tell her pain to anyone. I spent a little time with Pari after the event. Later, I went back to my hostel.

Time passed by. The short story collection became a hit. As it happens with all other short story collections, the credit went to Tarun, the person whose mind was behind the anthology. Who was Pari?

Time passed more. Months were replaced by a year and more months added to that year later. I’ve been writing short stories one after another during this period. My debut short story collection released. I’ve been keeping a check on the book reviews time after time. Few days earlier, I was at and was searching for my book when I found out this.

Even before I could complete writing my first name, Flipkart was suggesting my name under the category, Books. A moment that I shared with Pari knocked my mind for few moments and I could not control the smile that appeared on my face.

I went to compose mail and wrote a mail to Pari attaching the above screenshot. Here’s the mail:


How are you doing? Where are you these days? I remembered you just now. Want to know, how?

Remember I said you something while you were contributing your short story? I generally search for my book at flipkart, checking for latest reviews by customers. Today, while I was searching my book, I couldn't stop a smile that came on my face. Attaching a screenshot with this mail. You will understand too.

Stay in touch!

Vishal Anand

Her reply came to me the very next day. Here it is:

Hey Vishal,

Firstly, thank you for making this effort. A lot of people we know would probably just smile and remember. And then forget.

I think we'll remember that conversation of ours for reasons more than one! It was a necessary phase of our lives. And yes.. This is what matters at the end of it all. Truly!

A similar but a little disappointing experience happened with me. I've come to ABC Lit Fest. Yesterday was the third and final day of the event.  After meeting all these authors and poets and others from the fraternity, I realised how much things have moved ahead from where I'd left it all, about a year back.

Gladly, few of them still remembered and recognised me.. A lot of them said that I have changed a lot.. God knows.

But yes, one thing that I realised was that, the gift that has been a part of you, wanting to come out in one way or other, someday leaves you too.

Perhaps, I have lost my quota of words. To be strung into a book.. 

Also, I was so much better than so many of them Vishal.. But why couldn't I make it? I've loved my words passionately. And yet, at the end of this Lit Fest, I stand empty handed.

A realisation that has become utterly clear to me, for good or bad is that, sometimes in life, there is no going back. Only moving ahead.

Maybe someday that book shall become me. Only that day my soul shall be truly free.

Too philosophical was I?  :)

Anyway, how are things with you..? 

So, you've moved out haan? 

And hey, I am glad you remembered me Vishal.

Stay blessed. And believe that good will happen to you. Not because it will, but because the other way doesn't give you peace. Or hope.


I wasn’t happy after seeing her reply. I wrote my last mail to her:

Dear Pari,

Are you okay? You surely have changed a lot. Your words are speaking for you. Let me know when you reach Delhi. Will make you a call.

Things are moving fast in the industry. I believe the delay we make, the more difficult it will become. Remember, how easy it was to get published by 2011? Everyone has a book by his name. But then, there is a concept that even the industry follows - Survival of the Fittest! The poor has to leave, and the one with strong determination will fight back again.

People have a tendency - Saluting the rising sun. Or, why would one care to give so much importance to me when I meant nothing to them few years ago? 

Words don't leave us. They are a part of us as long as we live. We just need a push. May be, someone who can hold our hand, encourage us to speak our hearts in form of a book. You're still better. You couldn't make it because you didn't try; didn't try enough to prove yourself to others. And, you're not empty handed. We keep on learning things by experience. Some teaches us what to do while others teaches us what not to do. Isn't it?

You don't have to go back. Move ahead. Show the world you're better than them. Work harder and prove yourself. With every passing year I believe, we become stronger and wiser. I believe, you will fight back with more willpower and determination than ever. Every year 84 k books release in India. Who knows them? I don't want you to write a book. Rather, I want you to create a masterpiece that will be remembered for years.

Were you really philosophical? If that's the case, am I too?

Things are still tough with me. I still have to struggle for so many things.

I will always remember you. No need to be glad. Try picking my call inspite of being glad. That will make me happier.

Even if good doesn't happen to me, I will force it to happen to me. Was doing and will continue doing it. Yes, it is.

Stay in touch!

Warm Regards,
Vishal Anand

I dialed her number the next day. We talked for almost an hour until I had no balance left on my phone. I tried to convince her to write. She said that she will give it a try. That was the last time we communicated. 

I would like to apologies as this is the only short story that I’m leaving incomplete. Why incomplete? I think, this story will finish when Pari will launch her debut book. I will try till I succeed. And, I think, I will be a happy man that day.

But then, I do think about others. About us. About people who have a dream to become authors! We look for a short cut and get trapped easily in the traps thrown by people who have better knowledge than us of the industry.

There are many Paris between us. A lot of them have left writing. Many of them though understand everything and cry about the wrongs done to them, still chose to be a part of these. They still contribute to anthologies with only few people knowing and appreciating them. There are also few Paris’ who will shout about an anthology if they are a contributor there. However, they will be more than happy if their names are beautifully printed on the cover as an editor.

Tarun has changed as well. Even young people with no experience in writing have taken anthologies as shortcut to success, unaware of how many Paris’ they make. After editors, now another term called 'compiler' is getting popular. Publishing houses too are taking it as a wonderful opportunity. They don’t need to pay to contributing authors after selling their books. Few of them choose to give certificates to contributors. While few others even choose to demand money from contributors for the sake of publishing. So called editors and publishing houses gain and we; the one with dreams in our eyes fail.

With the success of my debut short story collection, few people came to me asking me to become an editor of such anthology. But then, whenever they ask so, I ask few questions to myself. ‘Will I be able to give the credit to every contributor that they deserve? Will they gain anything out of such anthology? Won’t I be making more Paris?

I don’t have an answer to these questions. And that’s why I may never become an editor. But then, I do wonder, there are still too many short story competitions. There are too many aspiring authors. And then, there are too many Tarun’s among us. I know I won’t be able to stop them. But then, this is just a small initiative to make people aware about what happens behind a short story collection. If I’m able to stop even a person from becoming Pari with this post, I think this short story is successful.

I hope you liked this post as you liked my previous ones. Feel free to drop your comments, feedbacks and suggestions. You’re welcome for a discussion too if you don’t agree to me. Maybe, I will learn something from your point of view. Anyways, that’s all I have with me today. Hopefully, I will drop another post soon. Till then. Bbye!


  1. Good write-up, Vishal. An eye-opener for many.

    Neelam Saxena Chandra

    1. Humble apologies for the delay in response! No idea how I missed out your views.

      Thank you for your views about the post. Appreciate your gesture! :)

  2. Vishal, your post made me feel so much better today. I think I saved myself from being a Pari after reading your post.

    I won't deny. I thought short story competitions are a great learning experience, and an instant platform to get my stories published. A dream come true. Finally!

    I'd entered one such competition last month, and I really had hopes that my story would be selected for the anthology. But it did not, and it felt like the end of the world for me. I even went to the extend of giving up writing altogether.

    And then I chance upon this post today (completely out of the blue) and I'm glad I did. I'm not going to give up what I love.

    Maybe my stories are not meant to be a part of anthologies, maybe my name should be on the book cover and not lost in the pages. :)

    1. Thanks Radhika for stopping down to read a very old post! I'm glad that Pari's story aspired you to write again. My best wishes for a fruitful journey. Do get in touch in case you need any help.