Posts made in September, 2014

Book Review|| ‘Play with Me’ by Ananth

“I walked over to her side, knowing fully well that if it came to the inevitable, I would give in meekly.” Welcome to the highly conflicted world of Sid,the protagonist of Ananth’s debut novel, Play with Me. As one of the founders of Alpha, a boutique ad agency, Sid has everything an entrepreneur can ever hope for – money, a job worth waking up for, a reliable car, a corner office with a view, overseas clients, and beautiful girls throwing themselves at him. Unapologetically “lookist” and “weightist”, Sid has an affair, a fling, or at least a brief electrically charged encounter, with every girl he comes in contact with. But this is where Sid is the most vulnerable, too – the man doesn’t demonstrate a shred of restraint in the face of temptation – and as a result we never see him take a single hard call. Decisions for him are made by the ladies in his life, most of whom seem to have him wrapped around their little fingers. Starting from Kay, his first girlfriend, to the ethereal beauty Cara, and the warm and nurturing Nat, women walk into and out of his life as per their convenience, and the poor soul continues his journey without ever learning a lesson. All of us have come across someone like Sid some time, somewhere, and part of his charm lies in his flaws. It is easy to see why Nat chooses to “mother” him. The quality of writing in most places is good, though some passages spent on internalization could probably have been edited down. They do nothing but state the obvious and slow down the otherwise pacy narrative. The style is bold and dabbles with symbolism – I would in particular like to mention the borrowed umbrella that Nat forgets to bring back to the hotel on the night when she and Sid share their first kiss. Both Sid and Nat know that the kiss was a borrowed moment, and both must go back to their everyday lives, where the kiss should ideally be nothing but a memory. But their world, just like ours, isn’t ideal and, therefore, they had their dinner by a glass window that “overlooked a brick wall.” Now, go figure. The book stood out for me for several reasons, and one of them is the cover. Conceptualized and designed with care, the cover is simple and still manages to catch your eye. And wait till you run your fingers along the jacket on the hardcover. It feels like velvet. The book is also the first erotic fiction I have read that manages to transcend into the territory of literary fiction at places. I will also remember the book because before this I have never read an erotic fiction where the protagonist is a man. If there is one thing that I would definitely change in the book, it is the name of the protagonist. “Sid” has been so overused in recent fiction that all the Sids kind of merge into one another after a point....

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Techies at their Creative Best at IIT Delhi’s Literati 2014

Literati 2014, the annual literary festival of IIT Delhi, is on right now, and the organizing committee invited Literature Studio to hold a creative writing workshop for their students. In this workshop tailor-made for the future engineers, we gave ourselves a couple of hours to stimulate the brilliant minds and enable them to complete a short story right there, within the workshop. And the results were beyond our expectations. Through structured interactive exercises, we took the students through the various elements of a short story and they slowly built up their plots, leading to stories that were creative as well as fulfilling to read. These versatile techies demonstrated imagination, open-mindedness, and a natural talent to weave a story. Several of them volunteered to read out their stories at the end of the session, eliciting spontaneous applause from their audience. We were delighted by the enthusiasm and curiosity of the students and hope that the workshop managed to fulfill at least some of their expectations. We may publish some of their stories on our blog in a few days, so that you can see for yourself what these young minds are capable of. Even with tremendous study pressure and busy student lives, they managed to take time out for a creative workshop designed to stimulate their right brain instead of the left. We hope that as time passes and as they go through the various phases of life, they keep the creative sides of their personality alive and thriving. They have all the talent required. It was a delight to interact with the students and we would like to thank the organizing committee, especially Praneet and Saksham, for getting in touch with us for the workshop and then ensuring that the event concludes without any hassles and issues. God Bless!  ...

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