The view from our headquarters (Photo: Rajni George)

Letter to Our Future Readers

Dear Readers,

How do you start a community publication in a town that is going through prolonged economic stress, watching a national crisis from afar, but with immediate repercussions for those close to home? Through storms, cyclones, poor connectivity, and lockdowns, as well as the demands of social distancing, around 50 of us planned, shaped and contributed to this pilot issue, Zoom meeting after meeting, dropped call after dropped call, in and around Kodaikanal—and, across the world. (One well-wisher attended her first virtual meeting ever, to join this conversation—hopefully we will get her back, soon!) 

We made time to create The Kodai Chronicle even as many certainties shifted around us. Perhaps this made the need to communicate and set things down for posterity even more profound. Perhaps we were crazy. 

It helped that this was already a surreal time. Professionals helped to train students and young people who had returned to visit family, in between their regular gigs and jabs; adoptive aunts and uncles dedicated time to crowdsource resources and be fact-checkers; new friends stranded outside town reported remotely by coordinating with long-term residents, as they cared for ailing family and friends in the city.
 
Some of us were new to town, some of us had been here forever and not ventured out of our circle. Some of us still haven’t met in person. Together, old, new, and former Kodaiites wrote in and volunteered time, expertise, and contributions, in classic Kodai fashion—through networks of trust, love and camaraderie. From those who helped us plan and shape this early on, to those who pitched in to help with layout and editorial as we closed this issue, there have been too many supporters to name here. We take this opportunity to thank them all.
 
These are early days and we are very much a work-in-progress, looking at how to expand the scope of our activities. For instance, we want to give you more stories in Tamil, and seek to create robust engagement with biodiversity. We are now taking The Kodai Chronicle to a larger group with this pilot edition, to expand the conversation.
 
With this in mind, please write in with your feedback and/or submit your story idea for consideration (see ‘Contact Us’). Also, do please sign up to subscribe or advertise.
 
Thank you for your time, 
 
Rajni George

Rajni George

Rajni George is founding editor and acting editor-in-chief of The Kodai Chronicle. She has worked at Penguin Random House, Granta and The Caravan. Her work has been published in The New Internationalist, The New York Times, and Mint Lounge. She works remotely in climate change adaptation, and lives on St Mary's Road.

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