Saturday, October 25, 2014

How To Build A Fictional World?

As writers most of us love being more in our own worlds rather than the reality. So do many of the readers when they actually try opening a locked door with "Wingardium Leviosa". But what exactly in the stories is the element that makes the world believable? We can relate to that world which is not ours as well as we relate to ours. We even learn those languages, spells and name people we dislike as Lord Voldemort. What makes some stories like Harry Potter, The Lord Of the Rings or The Matrix so profound that they though talk about a very different world are immortal through generations?

In this talk Kate Messner who writes fictional for children beautifully describes the process  of writing fiction, the points to think about etc. the video as is with all Ted Ed Talks is beautifully aided with graphics to explain you the process that will stay in your memory for long. Start playing....


Sunday, October 19, 2014

Nostalgia: Diwali A Time For Family #GharwaliDiwali

I love family gatherings especially the festive ones, mostly because family to me means meeting my grandparents and elders who would teach me a thing or two about our mythology, culture and religion, which I had previously unknown. This year being a final year of my PhD I shall not be going home for Diwali and so here is my tribute to the ones I spent earlier especially the childhood times with my maternal grandmother.

             (image courtesy: www.webneel.com)

The Fun:
As a child my utmost enthusiasm was in buying the crackers and just to prove I was the bravest amongst my cousins buy the most dangerous ones, only to be scolded by may parents again. But the earthlings started contaminating the planet and therefore me and my brother educated other people years ago not to use crackers and so that fun went away. But I still miss the fuljhadi, chakri and rocket. Rockets are nasty and you can really scare people by flying them.

The Food: The next part comes the sweets and while mom makes a few of them really well, my cousin aunt makes some more out of the world. The head of the gang is my maternal grandmother who can even make shrikhand, jalebi's, and Gujrati khajas very famous in surat). Being a child that has spent most of the time studying in hostel, Diwali time is nirvana for the soul. The other dishes my grandmother makes amazingly well is Khandvi (lovers of gujju food I am sure your mouth is watering), Khaman, Dhokla, Patra, Undhitu, Fafda, etc. Well my Jijaji came to India from the USA during Diwali and they put on 10 kgs in 2 months so you can imagine how delicious and irresistible her food is.

The Puja:  Our Kuldevi is Bhavani ma, a version of the Ma shakti or Parvati, the goddess of power. On the Kali Chaudash day we celebrate it with decorating the entire temple with diya's and sing thaal dharavanu bhajan , other bhajans and the most important one being the main aarti. The temple looks amazing and when the aarti begins you are transformed into another world. One of the purest forms of divine intervention I felt on this day. I love this puja over any other in the festive season obviously.


This year since my family is not with me we shall be celebrating it with friends and all time party partner #Pepsi. Check how you can always celebrate with pepsi https://www.gharwalidiwali.com/

I understand that Pepsi tries to bring people together through this video and I wish it was always possible. My grandma is now is in Australia and there is no way I can reach her. The Diwali was in our ancestral village where nobody lives now so cant go back. In the urban world, living our modern lives I miss on every festival the togetherness our simpler lives offered which is elusive now. I am not sure for how long world will be same, things here will be similar but as much as we can try to make the best out of times spent with family, they never come back in the same setting, either its a different place or a set of those people have gone to another world.

A very Happy Diwali to everyone reading this post.

This Post is for Indiblogger #GharWaliDiwali activity.




Sunday, October 12, 2014

#Celebrate Blogging by BlogAdda: The Game Of Blogs

An experience of team based story writing #ScribblersOrchard:

Blogadda this September came out with a very innovative concept "The Game of Blogs" wherein they made a team of bloggers (10 bloggers per team) and gave them five characters. We had to spin a tale around it. I joined it because I wanted to take up the challenge of writing a story. Being a blogger poplulary blogging about books and consulting for some publishing houses it was always a dream to write one myself, however the fear of landing up in mediocrity, of not being a good one in the first attempt stopped me. However this was a way to challenge the fear of failure and so I filled the form.

This activity was to be judged by a panel of six eminent authors with Ashwin Sanghi and Ravi Subramanian, my favourite Indian writers judging the writings of ours, novices, was thrill and kept the pressure on to write better each time. I was allotted a team where like every other team there was a difference of opinion from point one- the team name. We made a facebook group and I believe even a whats app group existed (I couldn't be a part of that as my cell phone was snatched from my hands on Delhi roads and stolen, I was very sad then and without a smart phone). However as all of us were on facebook we decided to discuss everything there. 

Coming to the team name, I wanted something on the lines of The Game of Thrones as The Game of Blogs was inspired from there. However be it any competition I am stuck with people who have unidirectional thinking so "The Big Bang Bloggers" a cooler name (I think) couldn't be our team name and we were now the Scribblers Orchard. This name was thought of as the lead character of our story was a journalist and also we were writing a story so scribbling. 

The other interesting thing that happened was our POC left the team the very first day due to some unforeseen circumstances and our tenth member didn't respond. Blogadda replaced her with another blogger who responded initially and then alas! two days before the deadline of round one she quit. While we all had to write this was one huge problem and that too at the last minute. However Blogadda considered it and had a criteria of minimum seven posts, plus we weren't given a negative rightfully as it wasn't our fault.

Now came the discussions, we had thought of four plots for round 1 and out of them was finalized based on voting of course. I being a PhD student in Biological Sciences am someone who is extremely difficult to convince and so plot 4 had to be revised and rethought an re-revised before end of round 1.  All of use had different comfort in terms of timing and availability but most of us always were involved in the ideation and that was the strong part. Also we critiqued ourselves thoroughly which I feel was the USP of our team. 

Our real story was formed at the end of round 1 where we gave each of our team mates the freedom to take the plot ahead as they wanted and I lived my dream of creating the ultimate, invincible supervillian Acharya.  He is a character inspired by the amalgamation my love for comic books and Dan Brown. Our story post round 1 was really strong and we were confident of getting through to round 2 only to realize sadly that all the teams were sent to round 2. 

The true challenge was Round 2 now, the ideation here was simpler as we already had the plot in mind. We followed a simple strategy "Divide and Write" . i.e.  We divided the story to be disclosed per round and gave each one a part they would love to write. Thus went by round 2 peacefully. We were extremely overwhelmed to be on position 2 (with three other teams), so technically 4. I was happy but there was lot to be done to reach the position 1.

Our collective writing had been beneficial so far but where there are vessels they are bound to collide, and round 3, the grand finale where the climax had to set was the point. In the beginning we had to form the road leading to the climax which took two nights of thinking (post 14 hours of PhD slavery in my case). We had a couple of endings however some people felt a moral ending was the best one. I personally do not agree with the end that we have written as it didn't give me a high and I do not think stories have anything to do with morals, if that was so The Game Of Thrones once again could never be a good story. I sadly couldn't convince my team and so what we wrote in my opinion is a no so interesting climax but moral. I am not sure if morals are valued in real life but now since we have written that Voldemort never made the horcruxes as it was immoral, I sure as well hope we win. Fingers crossed.

Having said that it was good learning experience and I could happily say i gained from it . I am better at story telling now. I also have a better understanding of the mindset of Indian audience so I know what will sell in this country if I ever write a book. Also though I think too many cooks spoil the broth, and nine was huge number, I am happy for those that didn't participate actively.I am happy for the ones that did were very sincere (despite our difference of opinion). Managing to write within those office hours, sneaking during lunch time, correcting work multiple times (we had 7 revised versions of the final document for heavens sake, yeah that crazy) were the qualities that got us so far. I hope everyone enjoyed each part as much as we did. 


Thursday, October 9, 2014

The Scribblers Orchard Part 29

The part before this one is here...http://www.fewmiles.info/2014/10/the-scribblers-orchard-part-28.html
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They say all is well that ends well, but is every end a full stop? Sometimes it can be a comma post which there is a new and different beginning. The nation that lost one of the greatest Prime Ministers, a man whom they elected with such a huge majority wavers at the thought. Some sad for the progress and the promise he showed now left for the incompetent scavengers, many shocked at the revelation of his true identity and many for whom it will still be time till the truth seeps into them for their love for him was blind.

After the roller coaster ride of the past few weeks Jeniffer returns back to her home in Kochi. She now feels a new zeal towards her profession, it saved lives after all. Arjun's team is appreciated for their efforts is solving one of the greatest murder mysteries of the decade. Though more medals are added to his existing records, he feels his responsibility growing towards his nation. He has no time to ponder for a next life waits to be saved, another mystery to be solved and another perpetrator to be caught.

Shekhar is just more than happy to be re-united with his family especially his child. He is more careful now and sometimes wakes up many a times in the night to check on her. Even Tara realizes that her daughter means everything now. She has one true relationship with her daughter, unspoilt by time unlike the others that have and will change even end with time. She feels the world when she sees her sleeping safely in her bed each night and wonders why the child that went through the most in the whole process is least scared.

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Tara takes an off that weekend. It has been just a lot of news, the incidents with her family and her father being in the centre of it all. Shekhar decides to take her to the nearby temple which has lush green gardens. The holy smoke of the havan kund rises to purify the negativity around, the atmosphere is divine with the chants of the sadhus performing a yagna. They enter the temple and Tara and Shekhar bow down to the idols of the various gods and goddesses. Suddenly they don't find Roohi around. Shekhar's heart misses a beat and he starts frantically searching her. Tara is extremely scared and begins asking people if they saw a little girl and then at that moment her eyes fall on a little child with folded hands sitting amongst the sadhus with concentration of an adult, praying to the one true God that she has found her faith in "Fire".

To be continued............
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 “Me and my team are participating in ‘Game Of Blogs’ at BlogAdda.com. #CelebrateBlogging with us.”


Monday, October 6, 2014

Poetry: A Journey Into Adulthood

Along the road I walked believing that the hand that held mine will never let me fall,
that the hand shall always be the same;
that it will always help me even if I did afterall,
I hated when there was none and cursed them all;
I hated to be alone on a dark alley alone,
I complained when lonely and cursed when hopes seemed to have ended once and for all, 
but somewhere I stoop up and leart to walk, this time tall, 
Unwavered by life's odds I rose above everything,
for life is a circle and today I am the hand that helps a toddler walk
‪#‎TheJourney‬ ‪#‎IntoAdulthood‬ ‪#‎JustAMetaphor‬