Please enjoy these stories, be they of elephants & buffalo, memory loss, dangerous balconies, family, or marriage. They are a collection by Cultural Anthologies submitted from the citizens of India for this anthology. It is meant to be a window into the Other, a way of understanding individual people who make up a whole of a nation or a population unknown to us. More
What makes a good story? That is something that I have asked myself as I pruned through the many stories that were submitted by the loving people of India: stories of their lives and their families, their triumphs and despairs. More than that: what was the story that I wanted to tell with this collection of stories, this anthology? It is an introduction into the world of Cultural Anthologies, to see if it truly is a world or just a fantasy unobtainable at the moment.
I have traveled a lot and I have many stories to tell about my ventures into the unknown, but the ones that are the most important to me seem to be the ones that happened to other people and my interactions with them. Personally, the most important development in my life was my adventure out into the world where I met with new people and cultures and started to understand. I feel that many people never have this opportunity and are stuck within their own communities, and whose basic understanding of another world comes from the impersonal presentation found on news and the skewed interpretation of the arts.
I am not talking about a peasant farmer living in the mountains above Colca, Peru. They are included; they are without stories of the other, without a chance to understand but through glimpses of news and gossip and brief interactions. But North Americans, Europeans, Australians, those who consider themselves at the forefront of the world, are the same. Educated, willing to learn and listen, but without proper channels to encounter what to them is unknown.
As much as one would love to generalize a people, the Arab Spring through which we are passing proves that no nation is the sum of its government and figureheads. Even the smallest have voices and stories that influence their actions, families who support or suffer; every single person has their own background. It is trying to understand the masses that will give us the most hope to move forward in our relations with the world. It does not matter what country we are from, we will always find something different and new that we do not understand.
These anthologies are meant to be a window into the Other, a way of understanding individual people who, together, make up a whole of a nation or a population. Their viewpoints and pasts will be varied, different, and foreign to even each other. This is simply because they each have their own history, community, and family on which they have drawn to compose the human that they have become. Because of that, these stories will challenge how you see these nations and communities and, hopefully, allow you to humanize and empathize with their individual trials and triumphs as you read.
Please enjoy these stories, be they of elephants and buffalo, memory loss, dangerous balconies, family, or marriage (I will not spoil anything for you!). They are short, carefully selected, and to the point. They convey the life of the person who wrote them and have real sentiment and emotion behind them. The authors lend their own voice with minimal editing to the story so that you, the reader, can be introduced to who they are.