Brevity is the talk of the times. People addicted to Twitter Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat no longer have time for long, winding conversations and such behaviour has trickled down to their reading habits as well.
In such times, short story format works well to engage with the audience. Author Priyanka Sharma Kaintura’s latest book My Jiffies explores this genre and presents an interesting collection of stories for the reader. According to her people are increasingly losing their attention span and short stories are a perfect solution to keep them hooked to a book. She explains, “People at large are attracted to brevity now. We are in the era of tiny tales, short films, WhatsApp relationships and emoji conversations.” Her book makes for many short and quick reads. One can pick it from anywhere and read the page that opens up without flipping back as every page is an independent story or a poem.
While My Jiffies explores many themes, the underlying colour palette of love is common amongst most stories, if not all. “It could be the love for a person or a place or a situation or nature or the divine or a love for love itself,” shares Priyanka.
My Jiffies by Priyanka Sharma Kaintura, Notion Press pp.252, Rs 239
On being asked, which story is closest to her heart, Priyanka says, “Frankly, I wouldn’t be able to pick one. But all the stories that unabashedly illustrate the blatancy of an emotion are closest to my heart. ‘The Housecoat’ which was amongst the first few I wrote; ‘Lily and Tulsi’ for its narration of unfettered love, ‘Disappearing Memory of Partition’ for its longing to appreciate the inheritance, ‘Red Rain’, ‘I Savour That’ and ‘Hurricane Katrina’ for their sensuality of simplicity. And I can go on.”
Talking about the research that went into making this book, Priyanka explains, “Research ensures that facts are corroborated, wherever applicable. Especially, when I write on mythology, I am particularly conscious that while I want to present a novel and relevant perspective, I don’t want to play with anyone’s sentiments.”
Most of her stories have been inspired from real life in some way or the other. “My Jiffies are my observations of people. The situations are real, the interpretations are my own, but the characters are fictitious,” she explains.
My Jiffies also has a strong online presence on Facebook, as Priyanka has written many other short stories there apart from the ones that are published. “The beauty of the online world is in its instant gratification. The writer can interact with the reader right there and then. It’s immensely fulfilling to listen to your reader, and know how they interpret what you narrate. Also the convenience of eBooks shouldn’t be overlooked. Having said that, the pleasure of having a reader express how he or she carries the book with them or keeps it on the bed side is supremely rewarding,” she says.
Poetry has also played an important part in this book. Her section of poetry titled ‘Eclogues’, which is all about poetic rendering of a number of emotions. Talking about upcoming projects, she says, “I would really like my readers to stay tuned.”