There have been moments in one’s life when time seems to pass one by, coupled with the stark realisation of mortality and maturity. Often, such moments serve as times to introspect about one’s identity, importance and self-worth. Especially more so if one is in a position to act upon such moments of self-awareness.
There are also days when many things go right while many things idle or do not go right as per imagined or determined plans. The act of self-correcting oneself upon realisation of mistakes or moves not made, serves the best place to unlearn or relearn new healthy habits.
The opportunity to read is a precious one indeed. In today’s world of constant change, clarity and focus is power, while distractions are not. The ability to stay abreast with current affairs and their meaning for one’s own life is often found paired with our need to make sense of the world through stories. Lots of Stories.
Today, at Bangalore Insider we speak to Radhika Sethi and Nandini Sethi, founders of Beyond The Panaroma (BTP) to understand the uniqueness of the platform that has found traction with budding writers and readers alike. Below are the excerpts to our conversation.
Is it right to say that BTP started as a passion project and has now caught a life of its own? Please elaborate about the exact series of events that led to BTP.
Yes, it indeed started as a passion project from real life experience of absolute dearth of good short stories availability. The options were to either read an entire book, which of course has its own process of selection and allocating time or what we commonly understand as “blogs”. Most of these “blogs” are either “how to” or advises on relationships, spirituality, productivity, and so on. So, we started publishing our own short stories which were consumed primarily by family and friends. However, the idea and concept soon caught on and more and more people started not only enjoying these short stories but also started contributing. Not just young writers but middle age and old people also got rejuvenated and said that they had stopped writing as there was no means to make their work reach a larger audience. What followed was absolutely amazing and we built a sustainable platform for stories (all genres) by real and common people who may not be “established writers” as we commonly understand that term/designation.
Human beings are wired to be receptive to stories and indeed today the media landscape (especially OTT platforms; who want to cater to every emotion in every audience segment on the internet) is all about video, video and video. In an age of diluted attention spans, do you believe BTP can help people reclaim a semblance of sanity so to speak?
When TV came, people said that’s the end of radio, when internet came, people said that’s the end of TV/cinema halls – but each platform has learnt to make its own space and contribute in harmony. There is enough space for each medium.
This is one of the common phrases in the BTP team – what we hear we forget, what we see we remember and what we do we understand. Reading = Doing, reading is not passive. Stories/information watched on video (and a whole lot of them) is visualization of a story/script of someone else. Reading enables one’s own visualization of a plot.
So, in the age of diluted attention span, this concept of short stories which may be anywhere from a 5 min to 30 min read is custom built to cater to that segment of readers and influence to get back to reading which may perhaps be the most effective method to not only get the attention spans back but also to gauge one’s attention span
The same goes for writers. People may not have the tenacity to write an entire book these days. It takes a lot. So, contributing short stories is perceived to be much more do-able.
How do you see the BTP community evolving in this year and beyond to 2022?
Seeing the growth of BTP community in a short span, we are convinced that this concept is going to grow exponentially. Our focus is to invite and encourage writers for quality content and induce enhanced readership by advocacy. This may be a slower approach but a much more sustainable and non-commercial in perception.
What are the most favourite genres being read by people on BTP?
We have not seen specific preference for any genre. what we have experienced is that good quality content is enjoyed and read by people of diverse interests as the time investment in consuming a short story is quite less. People have enjoyed good stories across genre types and appreciated the innocence in the storytelling. If we were to point out a particular genre, we have seen keen interest from writers and readers alike in poetry.
What does your most ideal day look like and what part does BTP play in it?
BTP has become an inherent part of everything we do. With the storytelling platform and the social media agency business, my ideal day includes lots of creative brainstorming. Whether it’s meeting with clients to discuss new campaigns and content or chatting with the writers and poets about new stories and plots. Paneer Biryani from Meghana’s and gelato from Milano would definitely be a part of our ideal day! I usually end the day by reading a short story or two.