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Covid-19 has driven Indian authors to publish their stories on Twitter instead of going through the famous publishers like   Bloomsbury, Penguin, and Juggernaut.

When Twitter user Shiv Ramdas wrote a lengthy thread about his brother-in-law buying a truck of rice, his posts received 77,000 retweets and 3 lakh likes  (a hundred thousand) within days. That’s how starved people are for a quick, interesting read on social media.

Let’s be honest, it’s practically impossible to get through a 500-page book today when you have to respond to every text, Instagram forward, and see every video on Facebook or Twitter.

Anyone can tell a funny, evocative, romantic, or thrilling story on Twitter — 280 characters at a time. All you need is snarky vocabulary, internet inside jokes, and concise sentences. Each tweet becomes a chapter, and each thread, however long you may want it to be, becomes the tale.

“The universe is made of stories, not of atoms. And when you’re living through a historical moment, such as the Covid-19 pandemic, stories can help you ride the storm,” said poet Muriel Rukeyeser.

On 3 September, author Shiv Ramdas’ brother-in-law accidentally ordered an entire truck-full of rice, in an earnest attempt to avoid going out and buying a new packet every few days.

When the rather large consignment reached his front door, he realised what a colossal mistake he had made. A truck is not just the size of a big SUV, but a “literal lorry”.

The story of the rice-purchase gone wrong was admittedly quite banal. But the way Ramdas narrated the story made his Twitter ‘audience’ sit at the edge of their seats, waiting to hear what happened next.

The universality of the ‘characters’ made the story that much more enjoyable — an over-enthusiastic brother-in-law, a smooth-talking boss, a well-meaning but unhelpful father, a bossy mother, and a cameo from a nosy no-mask neighbour.

Threads like these aren’t new though, they have been around for a while. But with soaring anxiety levels making it harder to read entire books during Covid, more people than ever have joined in on the Twitter fiction bandwagon.


Source: The Print