Book lovers out in force

Round-the-clock access to the Internet and the growing dependence on social media turned many youngsters away from books. Or, so was the popular notion.

By ANWESHA AMBALY in Bhubaneshwar
  • Published 30.05.16
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Pratibha Ray releases her 21st  novel in Bhubaneswar. Telegraph picture

Bhubaneswar, May 29: Round-the-clock access to the Internet and the growing dependence on social media turned many youngsters away from books. Or, so was the popular notion.

However, the presence of young bibliophiles in large numbers at book launches has changed that perception. Several prominent writers from the state released their books recently and the presence of youngsters from diverse fields was a welcome surprise.

Veteran writer Pratibha Ray launched her latest novel Sesha Ishwara here last week. The writer's 21st novel explores the psychosocial factors of religious terrorism in the violent by-lanes of the world.

"The scourge of terrorism is spreading all over the world and fundamentalism, known for books such as Shilapadma, Yajnaseni and Aparichita among others<>.

Ray, 73, said she has tried to move beyond Odisha with her latest novel. "Most of my novels are based in the state but, this time I have tried to set it elsewhere because the topic that it deals with is a global phenomenon," said Ray.

A number of literature and engineering students, with dreams to become writers, attended the event. "I got to interact with the writer and find out about the different trends in the field. I also got tips on improving my writing skills," said engineering student Pritam Panda. A number of writers attended the book release.

In a separate event, Monideepa Sahu launched Going Hone In The Rain, a collection of short stories, at city bookstore Walking Bookfairs on May 22. Among the hordes of book lovers who attended the event, the number of IT professions was high.

Monideepa read out a couple of paragraphs from the book and stressed the importance of reading. A former bank manager, Monideepa took up writing when she got tired of managing other people's finances while not making much herself. "I still don't earn much but it's less important now," she said.

The collection includes stories in which people reveal extraordinary facets of their lives in everyday situations. "They reveal the whimsy and playfulness, raw edges and heartbreak that make up the human condition," she said.

What was encouraging for these writers, though, was the presence of young faces in the crowd, interacting with them. Amrit Kumar Biswal, who studies engineering in the United States, was among the crowd at Pratibha Ray's book launch.

The youngster, who harbours ambitions to become a writer, was in Bhubaneswar at the time and did not want to miss the opportunity to meet Ray. "I want to be a writer and this chance was too good for me to let go of," he said.

According to Ray, writers and book lovers should engage in discussions. "It was encouraging to find young people taking out time to attend the sessions. Such occasions are beneficial both for the writer and the listeners," she said.