A unique anthology of words and pictures from contemporary India has this week been published worldwide in e-book and paperback.
The collection was created by 10 young writers and a roving photographer from all corners of the vast country and published by award-winning editor in the UK.
The book of poetry, prose, and black & white photography captures modern life and humanity in Kolkata, Delhi, Chennai, Jaipur, Bhiwandi, Cuttack, Kerala and elsewhere.
The project took eight months to complete, with all contributors working through the pandemic lockdown restrictions. Two members of the team were hospitalised during this period but are now both fully recovered.
After 28 years in UK newspaper and magazine journalism multi award-winning editor Nic Outterside set up his own publishing house Time is an Ocean in 2017.
Nic said: “I began editing and publishing books by Indian writers right from the outset of my company.
“A highlight was the widely acclaimed Asian Voices anthology in early 2019, which included 20 writers from India, Pakistan and Afghanistan.
“The idea of doing something more current and focused by young people from India came from one of the readers Neelakshi Sharma from Jaipur.
“Neelakshi was just 17 and still at school when she shared her idea. Now she has followed it through over 22 months to publication.”
“Spiced Dreams and Scented Schemes has been a true labour of love and I hope everyone who buys our book revels at the diverse writing and the wonderful photography.”
Inspirational student Neelakshi says: “Working with Nic and all these amazing poets and a very talented photographer was something I never imagined. I am beyond happy to be a part of this book.”
Bhavani Krishna, a computer graduate and published author from Chennai in south east India added: “I always wanted to work with Nic after reading Asian Voices and when I got the chance to be a part of this anthology, it’s nothing less than a dream come true moment for me.”
Ayesha Saleem, 20, an English Literature and Philosophy student from Bhiwandi, near Mumbai said: “It has been a great experience to work with Nic and the other Indian poets. I am grateful to be a part of this successful project which we all worked so hard towards.”
Rachel Vincent, 23, an editor and writer from Delhi said: “I have loved working with people from all different cultures and backgrounds and am obliged and overwhelmed for an opportunity to be published internationally.”
Arpita Priyadarsini, a 21-year-old statistics graduate from Cuttack in eastern India added: “It was an amazing experience as I got to work with Nic for the second time. “This book is really close to my heart and we all have tried our best to bring forward everything that will touch your hearts and leave an impact on your life.”
Economics graduate Trijya Garg from Ghaziabad said: “I am a 26-year-old dreamer, and this book has been better than my wildest dreams that have come true. I am humbled to be one of the Indian daughters that poured her heart and soul into words in this book.”
Yusrah Shaikh, an English Literature undergraduate from Bhiwandi said: “I’m honoured to be included in this beautiful book. Through this anthology I got to know many other poets in my own country. It was such a great experience to be part of this.”
Deblina Bhattacharya, 21, an undergraduate student of English literature and published author from Kolkata said: “It has been my immense pleasure to have been a part of this anthology as well as this incredibly supportive community.
“Working with Nic, who has been a long-time friend and the young poets from all over India has been a highly cherished experience.
“I almost missed out on this opportunity when I was abruptly hospitalised amidst all the proceedings, and there wasn’t a day I didn’t cry to have it back.
“It seems it was fate who brought me back to this amazing book once again, a book that is a dream come true; a collection shaped by our struggles, tears, blood and sweat, and our indomitable hope.”
Spiced Dreams and Scented Schemes is available as 6”x9” large format paperback and as a Kindle e-book from most Amazon global portals:
Paperback priced at $8.23 (602 IR) (£5.99)
Kindle e-book priced at $4.11 (300 IR) (£2.99)