Have an English story or poem in not more than 150 words and not less than 75 words? Online platform Our Own Poems and Short Stories (OOPSS) is just the space for you.
Launched in September this year by friends Jayesh P and Rajat Sikder, it was inspired by certain things they observed during lockdown. “People were doing a lot of things, writing/posting about it online. Some were writing about it very well,” says Jayesh. While Jayesh is a marketing communications consultant/event management professional based in Thiruvananthapuram, Mumbai-based Rajat is an advertising professional.
The decision on the word limit was the result of research which showed that people preferred to read (online), short, crisp content over the lengthy. “People want to consume more content in less time, so we discussed short reads that can be read in two or three minutes,” says Rajat. When things get back to normal, they believe people would keep coming back to short reads.
YouTube tutorials helped them create the platform, friends chipped in with logo design and fine-tuning the website. Word was spread by sharing a poster announcing OOPSS to their friends via WhatsApp. The response has been overwhelming, they say, with enough content in the bank. They post one piece — either a story or poem — every day. “We are getting many new authors,” Jayesh says.
Jayesh and Rajat want these writers’ works access to “a wider, relevant network with people who have a genuine appreciation for the content,” says Rajat. The idea is to get people with a similar interest together, while creating a space and encouraging reading.
The duo’s friendship goes back more than a couple of decades, to Lucknow where their fathers worked with the Indian Railways. They lost touch after Jayesh moved to Kerala, but reconnected years later.
Conversation between them, during lockdown, led to the formation of the platform. “We have always wanted to do something together,” says Jayesh. OOPSS is part of Ddruid Creative Platforms, through which they intend to do more creative work together.
They have been getting a large number of entries for publication but are strict about the word limit, “Anything less than 75 is too less and more than 150 words is too much. It might be easy with verse, but telling a story in 150 words is not. There are takers for it, contributors are making an effort to tell their stories within that space,” says Jayesh. “We couldn’t tell the OOPSS story in 150 words!” he jokes.
An editorial board selects the content, no copy is edited except for grammatical errors. “We send back copies that exceed word limit; sometimes writers don’t want to change anything, other times they rework the copy,” says Jayesh. The platform is free, and so designed that contributors can either write on an interface or send in their works as an attachment.
What about other Indian languages? “We would love to go into other languages, but that would require a different team and online infrastructure…we have only started. There is time,” Jayesh says.
(For more information log on to oopss.in)