Once upon a time, just recently, two strangers met in a corner of the internet. They looked each other’s stories over and pleased with what they saw, they came up with a special task – Can two strangers who just met, come together and collaborate? Can they write a collection of stories based on a series of photos, that reflect their own culture, in a thousand words or less in just two weeks? The parameters were set, the photos were chosen, the challenge was on, and after a mad burst of creativity twenty stories were ready for all to see.
That’s a clever concept. What genre is it?
Short Stories that don’t fit into any particular genre.
Tell us more.
Take 2 is a series of unrelated scenes, snapshots if you like, a series of random images that each author has given their own cultural interpretation too, their own ‘Take’ so to say, one Indian and one South African and yet the universality of human emotion and expression ties the stories together, because the things that unite us as human beings, are stronger than the cultural differences that separate us. Take 2 is more than a book. It is a shared experience and a belief that the common denominator between two people is their humanity.
We need an example. Maybe you can show us one of the photos and give us excerpts from the stories it inspired.
Scene 1 Take 1: VOICES
Gita V. Reddy
It was late in the night when Neeraj returned to his hotel suite and to a dozen urgent messages.
Baba was no more.
Neeraj set a flurry of activity in motion to reach Bangalore at the earliest. Four hours later, when he was at the Toronto airport, it suddenly hit him it was too late for him to pay his last respects. The first message was over ten days old. The hotel had not known how to contact him on the isolated island he was staying on.
He was on the island for a working holiday. Being a much sought after artist, he painted only the super rich, often in their mansions and resorts and secluded islands.
What would Baba have thought of his success? Would he have thought of it as success? He would not think of Baba now.
And what is L Meadow’s take on the photo.
Scene 1 Take 2: Memories Are Made Of These
Some memories are like a treasured painting on display for all to see. They are brought out at every opportunity and shared with everyone who will listen and thus kept alive. Some memories, however, get lost along the way, some deliberately and others through a sort of benign neglect.
Like many South African families, we went to the sea in December. We traveled down to Durban by car on the day after Christmas. The long hot road unwinding before us, down through the flat red lands of the Free State, down through the long rolling green hills of KwaZulu-Natal (or just Natal as it was then, appropriately named for Christmas), down, down, down until at last the sea appeared before us as a long blue strip on the horizon that slowly resolved into the waves and sandy beaches until, finally, we would pull up outside the bungalows at Margate. We would ignore our parents’ commands to help them unpack the car and my brother and I would race down to the beach trying to be the first one to put foot in the ocean before our irate parents dragged us back to unpack the car and settle in to our temporary home for the next two blissful weeks.
Is there anything else we need to know?
All proceeds from the book are going to support a charity: http://smilefoundationindia.org
Smile Foundation reaches out to more than 300,000 children, youth and women through 158 welfare projects across 25 states of India. They focus on health care, education, and empowerment. They see their mission as a catalyst to bring change in the lives of thousands of underprivileged and marginalised children, youth and women, by addressing their basic needs.
Have you written any other books that we should read next?
Gita V. Reddy has written a number of other books.
Tell us about yourselves.
Gita V. Reddy is an ex-bank officer who retired in 2011 to take up writing full time. She writes short stories for adults and children.
L. Meadow is a South African cat-owning (or is that the other way around?) movie watching, book reading script writer who indulges herself with short stories when she needs instant gratification.