Our friends at Trilogy (the new library in town) introduced me to The Helter Skelter. The rest you can imagine – swoosh-clicks-ENTER and a few days later, arrived the brand new print issue of The Helter Skelter, a nifty little magazine that has been keeping me company for the last few days.
Here is a little bit of background - Helter Skelter is an online magazine with a focus on independent and alternative culture in India, including films, books, theatre, food, music, art and travel. The website launched its New Writing segment in 2012, which sought to encourage emerging writers and poets in India, by publishing their work online. After 3 successful volumes of the New Writing segment online, Vol. 4 is now being introduced in print.
This volume of New Writing is therefore Helter Skelter’s first print edition and features original writing handpicked by three established and exciting Indian writers/poets - Janice Pariat, Nitoo Das, and Jerry Pinto.
I have a habit of keeping 3x3 post-it notes handy, every time I read an anthology of short stories – taking notes of writers I particularly enjoyed and want to learn more about, and also the stories I wish to come back to (I find some writings deserve a seasonal revisit). This issue of Helter Skelter gave me ample opportunities to make notes and discover new writers.
The issue has a lot of fresh and intelligent writing, all themed around this stunning photograph (picture above), of a tousled bed, taken by Aashim Tyagi. Each piece of writing comes accompanied with artwork exclusively created for it, which adds more character, and colour to this bound volume.
If you are amongst those dismissing Indian writers and poets for their alleged banal and predictable writing, this volume is likely to make you reconsider any such preconceptions. Leonora Pinto, C. G. Salamander, Bikram Sharma and Armaan Kapur merit a special mention.
There is little doubt that the work done by the magazine of bringing together curated tales and verses will be really appreciated by both avid readers and those looking for a platform to share their work. We at Paper Planes are certainly looking forward to the next issue and waiting to see if the magazine will get more adventurous with its design.
The man at the helm of this project Arun Kale, editor of The Helter Skelter, deserves to be congratulated for this wonderful effort of venturing into print publishing, when everyone is predicting an apocalypse for print – thanks for joining us on the other side of the fence, Arun!