Say ‘English workshop” and you elicit groans from most people. “AESOP to ASAP” a workshop organised for first year mass communication students on the 23rd of September 2014 successfully managed to change this perception.
The three-hour workshop was conducted by Dr. Srividya Sivakumar who wears various hats, that of a poet, writer, teacher, editor, blogger and columnist. She received her Ph.D in English literature for her thesis titled “The Image of Women in the Novels of Salman Rushdie”.
A journey that started from the earliest short stories in the 19th century to a discussion about contemporary short story writers like Anita Desai, Jhumpa Lahiri, etc., ended with a question and answer session. Holding everybody enthralled, Dr. Srividya proceeded to tell how flash fiction, an extreme form of the short story is fast becoming an integral part of fiction in a world where there is so much to do but so little time. She emphasized how writing a short story is no mean feat.
Compressing a wealth of information in just 1000-2000 words and capturing the reader’s attention speaks volumes about the author’s talent. Sadly in the Indian context, short stories go unrecognised. They are seen as work that writers do when they have no time. Works of Indian short story writers are hence not known to many people. Giving pointers on how to frame a short story, she mentioned a few crucial points that every aspiring writer should follow.
The session left the aspiring writers and book lovers in high spirits. Some of the students were thrilled with the session and remarked, “This session taught us not to treat language as a classwork, but a work of class”.