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Capturing the Navarasas in Flash Fiction

It’s a celebration of fiction at Spark this month. For, isn’t fiction a wonderful way, apart from poetry of course, to explore human emotions? When the editorial team decided that the theme for the September 2012 issue would be ‘Navarasas’ or the nine human emotions, one of the first ideas that we had in mind was to invite some well-known flash fiction writers to interpret the different rasas through their stories. We have been lucky indeed, with providence being on our side. Spark is proud to feature Abha Iyengar, Anuradha Kumar, Dr. Dipika Mukherjee, Fehmida Zakeer and Hema Raman – writers whose works have been published in literary journals all over the world, writers whose works have won great recognition in the form of awards and writers who have achieved many other milestones in their writing career.

Forgotten ‘Hits’

In your deepest of music-related memories will be songs from long ago that you are surprised you ever liked, that tickle you, or that take you down the memory lane. Vani Viswanathan recollects a few Tamil songs in her music memory that formed an indelible part of her teenage but don’t really feature in her regular playlists – the ‘crazy’ songs, she calls them.

Joys of the Road

It’s the joys of hitting the road and the nuances of the street we capture in our featured interviews and column this month. We speak to Rocky Singh & Mayur Sharma, popular anchors of the food and travel show, ‘Highway On My Plate’ (HOMP) and authors of the book based on this show. They are our Voices of the Month. We also feature an interview with Writer of the Month, Rishad Saam Mehta, Author of ‘Hot Tea Across India’. Plus, a guest column by Kiran Keswani, Bangalore-based architect. Don’t miss the fun! Catch all these features here.

Exploring Womanhood Through Stories

Yes, we have five different stories that explore different facets of womanhood in their unique ways. ‘Covetous’ by Gauri Trivedi discusses the interesting things that a woman discovers at a women’s club. Jeevanjyoti Chakraborty’s ‘Miss’ talks about the worries of Anurag Dixit and yes, it’s a woman who is the cause for his worry. Anupama Krishnakumar’s ‘Two Women, And Then Another Two!’ explores how women really perceive other women and questions whether they realise that each woman’s needs and ideas could be different from another. Vani Viswanathan’s story is all about how a woman realises she is a ‘feminist’ after all. Finally, Shreya Ramachandran writes a story about three women and how one of them learns to apply Maya Angelou’s words , “I’m a woman, phenomenally phenomenal woman, that’s me.” to the other two women she knows. Catch all these stories here.

Giving Shape to Dreams

They are young, smart, dynamic and extremely passionate about what they do. They dreamt big and began earnestly and are now running successful ventures. Their entrepreneurial efforts are instances of happy beginnings that have had fruitful action as a consequence. Meet entrepreneurs, Rakesh Raghunathan, Keerthi Kiran, Kamakshi Khurana and Vishala Khurana. They are our Voices of the Month. Read our conversations with them here.

The Bike Builder of Jaipur

What does heaven look like? Anuj Agarwal, a motorbike fanatic, found his in Jaipur, at a bike builder’s workshop.

Culture of India – A Tribute

In paying a tribute to the culture of India, we bring three wonderful interviews this month. Varsha Sreenivasan talks to renowned mythologist, Dr.Devdutt Pattanaik on Indian culture, Hindu Mythology and western mythic thinking. In yet another interview, Anupama Krishnakumar listens in as Vijayendra Mohanty, co-author of Ravanayan, a 10-issue comic book series based on the story of king Ravana of Lanka, talks on Ravanayan and the the experience of writing a comic series, including the feedback and challenges. Last but not the least, we have a must-read interview with Sivasankari Chandrasekaran, renowned Tamil writer and activist. Vani Viswanathan speaks to her on the writer’s very interesting and highly relevant literature project, ‘Knit India Through Literature’. Catch all the interviews here.

Money – A Financial Perspective

An issue themed ‘All About Money!’ cannot be complete if we don’t discuss crucial topics such as financial planning and economic issues. We are pleased to present three very informative columns this month. Deepa Venkatraghvan, author of three CNBC-TV18 bestsellers writes a column on the recent U.S. debt downgrade by S&P, answering some of the questions bothering commoners. Priya Gopal, an educator involved in curriculum planning at Kangaroo Kids, Mumbai shares her thoughts on the need to to talk money with children and include Personal Finance as part of school curriculum. Finally, Viswanathan Subramanian, a banker with over 35 years experience writes a tutorial on ‘Inflation’ – the very crucial economic indicator. You sure don’t want to miss them! Catch all the columns here.

The New Face of Indian Writing

At Spark, one of our constant endeavours has been to get good authors talking to us about the art of writing, the effort that goes into writing a book and just what their writing world is all about! So, this month, for the first time ever, we feature four authors together. And they are no ordinary authors, mind you – they have been cracking the bestseller charts in India. And we couldn’t think of a better theme than ‘India Decoded’ to present some young Indian authors who are taking the Indian English literary scene by storm. What’s more – all these books are set in India or are about India. Introduction and Interviews by Anupama Krishnakumar.