By Shilpa Raina, New Delhi, Aug 5 IANS | 12 months ago

For some, creating a story within 140 characters is a challenge and for some narrating a poignant tale in seven minutes is an exhilarating experience. Welcome to the changing world of storytelling where short is sweet and less is more.


Tarun Durga from Katha Cues (KC) and Anuj Gosalia from Terribly Tiny Tales (TTT) are nurturing new creative concepts to cater to audiences whose attention spans are on the decline.

"The attention span of people has reduced drastically because of social media usage. It includes me as well. Being a voracious reader and yet not being able to read an entire book was an issue," Gosalia, 27, told IANS.

To solve this dilemma, Gosalia started exploring possibilities. His observations, based on social networking sites Facebook and Twitter, made him conclude that people digest photographs more than words.

"I realised people look at photographs and consume them. I was attending to my own weakness, but I realised it was a common grouse for people," admitted Mumbai-based Gosalia who feels the 140-character format is good enough space to tell an engaging tale.

For Satyajit Gupta, who heads the Delhi chapter of KC, monotonous work as a corporate lawyer gave him enough reasons to look out for a getaway that would allow inter-personal interaction among people.

It was through a common friend that Gupta met the founder of Durga.

The concept was simple: an individual would have to narrate a personal tale on a certain topic within seven minutes.

"We are not at all looking at creativity. Real-life stories find space here and without the fear of getting judged, a person can narrate his tale," Gupta told IANS.

"We don't want it to be a speech. A good tale doesn't go beyond three to four minutes. The attention span of people is decreasing so much that they lose interest after a certain point of time," he added.

While at Katha Cues, generic themes like "That's Not How It Turned Out" and "My Mentor Tormentor" weave tales from personal experiences, at Terribly Tiny Tales, words like veils and ginger are selected from the word basket and 13 writers from the team weave stories around them.

"People writing them are from diverse backgrounds - advertising, NGO's - and as writers, they push the envelope of the given word," said Gosalia, who works as an advertising professional.

These sessions result in interesting views and thought-provoking ideas and thoughts. Most of the tales are based on reality, experiences, biases, love, pain and passion.

As Vallari Shah, who works for an NGO, was given the word ginger, the story she came up with reflects a deeper thought process.

"They promised Gudiya an education. Her first class - no school, no chalk, no teacher. Just a kitchen, some ginger and a mother-in-law."

"Good stories always revolve around untold truth," Gosalia pointed out. A tale is posted every day on its Facebook page.

With just word-of-mouth advertising, this active presence on Facebook is fuelling the fire among the interested audiences who come from diverse backgrounds: theatre actors, playwrights, advertising professionals, lawyers, software professionals and NGO workers.

"We all have stories and any random theme will have some association in your life. For some it may be bitter, for some it may be sweet," said 32-year-old Gupta.

"How you have been able to deal with the emotion of anger, love, loss or pain - these story-sessions help an individual express himself to an audience without getting judged," he added.

(Shilpa Raina can be contacted at shilpa.r@ians.in)

(Posted on 05-08-2013)