The original series was American. And the one you see stacked in city bookshops, ‘fully’ Indian, no regrets. With a slew of desi editions of the inspirational Chicken Soup for the Soul series, readers have a lot to slurp up.
And if it’s cooking, oops, contributing, that you prefer, many more titles are on the lookout for stories — Chicken Soup for the Indian College Soul, Bride’s Soul and Single Soul, to name a few. In fact, the publishers plan to come up with a new one every 6 to 8 weeks.
But are we ready for the schmaltzy surge? “In the West, they have about 200 titles. There will never be an overdose because there are niche societal segments that each of these heart-warming titles caters to.
We understand that there are issues and problems pertinent to one particular section, so the more specific, the more interesting. All the titles released so far have done well,” says Deepti Talwar of Westland-Tranquebar, who has edited the Indian series.
And the need for a desi version, in itself, arose from the vast cultural difference between the West and East, she further explains. “It’s not that we have consciously included Indian words, but the perspective is Indian.
The experiences and situations are unlike what they face in the West. Take, for instance, stories that deal with mother-in-laws, extended families and second cousins.” The enthusiasm of contributors only goes to prove her point further.
“I have already received several hundreds of entries for the College Soul title, and unlike what we think of college-going kids here, they are forthcoming about their grief, love, failures and despair,” says author Arti Jain, who is compiling the forthcoming book, slated for a release later this year.
Ahmedabad-based author Raksha Bharadia, who was behind the pilot Indian edition — Chicken Soup for Indian Soul, is receiving entries galore for titles still in the pipeline. “There are great writers in every city — I was amazed at the kind of pieces that came my way!” she says.
Arti adds: “When amateurs write, it’s like a breath of fresh air, unhindered, unfettered by too much self-editing or a show-off of literary prowess.” So get those fingers going, and tell the country your own little tale.
Titles already on shelves:
Indian Romantic Soul
Indian Teenage Soul
Indian Spiritual Soul
Indian Armed Forces Soul
A 2nd Helping of Chicken Soup for the Indian Soul
Titles in the making:
Indian Golden Soul (for those above 60 years of age)
Indian Bride's Soul
Indian College Soul
Indian Single Soul