Language, Place and Words: Ashoka’s literary journal makes these come alive

There are two categories of students at Ashoka University:

  1. Those who write under pressure of deadlines because they don’t want to fail. These are the students who will procrastinate up until 12 hours before the deadline.
  2. Those who write because they love to write.

Plot number 2 is for all those lovely Ashokans who write to be heard.

A Glimpse of Plot Number 2

Q: Tell us more about Plot number 2

Ailin (in a literary preaching mode): It is an online undergraduate literary journal. The idea is to find works that are sensitive to place and language. As Indian writers, every time we write something, we are in some sense translating because our thoughts don’t flow in one language. We want to bring out multi-lingual works because this is absent in the literary journal scene. This is inaccessible to budding writers. We want it to bridge the gap between language and place because both of these shape identity. *Analyzes how she has been very metaphorical and artsy in explaining this to me*

Suvanshkriti: At this point in our lives we want to find out where we stand with respect to everything around us. We are curious to find out how our past affects our present. The idea of Plot number 2 is also to find works which relate your past and your future to your present in terms of place and language.

Q: Why do you think only women are heading the team?

Suvanshkriti (with all her sass and humor): Duh! Because women are smarter than men. Nah, I’m kidding, we can’t say that’s true because smart women need smart men. Saying anything further would be sexist.

Himali: It’s just a coincidence that we got together.

Suvanshkriti (analyzing the true scenario): It’s actually a distinction in the languages department itself. I think that creative writing has much fewer men than women. Even literature. It is actually surprising.

Q: Why do you think are there more women than men in literature departments?

Halak: I think that women have less prodding from parents to get a degree and to get a job. Not just any job but a well-paying job. So I think that might be a problem.

Suvanshkriti: I think that is a tragedy not just for men but for literature because we are losing out on all that great literature that men could have written. Look at where Shakespeare is. (*Almost with stars in her eyes*)

Halak (giving out Professor Madhavi Menon vibes): But will we presume Shakespeare’s gender?

*Feels supremely proud of this joke*

Q: What makes plot number 2 different from other literary journals?

Himali: This is an only undergraduate literary journal and it combines place and language.

Ailin (Being artsy again): I like to see it as an act of rebellion. I like the idea of seeing different scripts on the same screen because visually it is jarring. There is a certain amount of discomfort when you see a script that you don’t understand or a language or even a community that you don’t understand! There is a lot to learn from such discomfort. We want people to familiarize themselves with such discomfort.

From left to right: Himali Thakur, Halak PandyaSuvanshkriti Singh and Ailin Jain

Q: Are all of you literature majors?

Halak: Literature major and creative writing minor.

Ailin: Literature major, math and creative writing minor.

Suvanshkriti: Literature minor.

Himali: Literature major and I’m not sure about the minor.

(So everyone on the team is doing literature in some way.)

Q: Any tips for writers to get published in Plot number 2?

Suvanshkriti (Non-fiction head): I think that the common tip would be to write honestly because that shows. Irrespective of whether it is fiction, non-fiction, or poetry.

Halak (Poetry editor): Writing should not only sound beautiful but it should also have meaning. You need to engage a lot with the politics of what you are writing about because nothing is divorced from political ideology.

Ailin (Fiction head): I think that real writing comes with the act of seeing the world around you. You can’t not see the world around you and be a good writer. You have to be sensitive to realities.

Himali (copy editor): *zones out*

Q: Who are your favorite literature professors?

All of them (being very diplomatic in case some professor is reading this). We love them all!

Q: How would the articles published be different if men were heading the team?

Suvanshkriti (Analyzing the political stand in the question): Is that a deliberate attempt at being controversial or just a difficult question?

Ailin: I’m not sure gender has a relation. I think it would depend on the men.

Himali: No difference.

Halak: Men do come with this tendency to bray. *starts laughing*

Q: Are literature majors more romantic than other majors?

Halak (who claims she will never find love): I think they are the most disillusioned.

Ailin (who claims to be single): I think that we see that most of our obsessions are the product of our history and we don’t have the liberty to be romantic after that realization.

Suvanshkriti (who claims to be happily married to her work): I guess we allow ourselves to be romantic and despite knowing that certain things are constructs, you allow yourself the illusion. (starts making literature references which no other student would get)

You can send your submissions to Plot Number 2 here:

All pictures are clicked by our photographers: Viraj Malani and Sanjna Mishra

Edited by Priyanka Shankar