In the world where we began to write, there were no paid writing workshops; unlike the one we now inhabit – no Creative Writing programs, no Master of Fine Arts degrees in poetry or novel writing, no grants for the genius. There were other things that took the place of formal classrooms in creative writing – college canteens, College Street Coffee House, the portico in Presidency College, roadside tea shop, half-lit second hand bookstores.
These were the spaces where we congregated to read each other’s write-ups, to argue over them, to tear them apart. These were the spaces which enabled us to see our names in printed letters for the first time, to feel that we are parts of something bigger – something bigger than ourselves. We grew up and came of age as writers and we often stepped out of the boundary of the language or the medium in which we first wrote, but we stayed within the spaces that were generated by the little magazine movement in Kolkata; spaces that, by and large, were nurtured by a healthy disdain for, and distance from the professionalization and commercialization of writing.
We would like to begin Aainanagar with that distance in mind. This is a space not for professionals, a space for those who are not the resident writers of any degree-granting institutions. In its pages, we want to recreate that arrogance – the special kind that only amateurs and non-professionals can muster. Professionals are welcome, but in order to get the hang of this Little space of ours, may they leave their professionalisms behind for a while.
For Aainanagar –