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Literature Studio’s Advisor Geet Chaturvedi gets Krishna Pratap Katha Samman

Posted by on Sep 9, 2015 in General Reading, News, Short Fiction | 0 comments

We are proud to share that Hindi author and member of our advisory board Geet Chaturvedi has been awarded the prestigious ‘Krishna Pratap Katha Samman’ for 2014 for his collection of stories Pink Slip Daddy, published in 2010. This was announced by the convener of the awards committee, Shri Narendra Pundarik. He said, the jury found the stories associated with the corporate world, enthralling; and many people can find glimpses of their story in these stories. These stories are ample evidence of Geet Chaturvedi’s mastery as a storyteller. His taut poetic language has a certain exotic shine and sharp freshness, and an abundance of dreams and thoughts, he added. Often regarded as an avant-garde, the 37-year old poet-writer has been nominated several times as one of nation’s best writers by various periodicals and newspapers. He was awarded the Bharat Bhushan Agrawal Award for poetry in 2007. Geet Chaturvedi has authored five books till now and his writings have been translated into nine languages, including English, Russian, Spanish and German. He lives in Bhopal. Geet Chaturvedi was one of the guest authors at the Te Aroha – Literature Studio Writers’ Retreat and has been a member of our Advisory Board since November 2014. In person, Geet comes across as someone who is humble and grounded. A powerhouse of talent, this young writer has the ability to leave his audience stunned with his mesmerizing readings. He will receive this award in November this year in a ceremony....

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“My Glass of Wine” – an overview by Gary Robinson

Posted by on Aug 31, 2015 in Book Reviews, General Reading | 4 comments

My Glass of Wine: the expanded edition by Indian poet Kiriti Sengupta is a small book written in a hybrid style of prose and poetry consisting of eight chapters or autobiographical tales (though the poet decries categorization for causing a clash between writers and readers), plus two additional chapters of reviews and an interview with Dr. Sengupta. My Glass of Wine follows a similar style found in The Reverse Tree, a book I had the pleasure of reviewing. Dr. Sengupta’s eight chapters are complemented by short poems that function more than in a mere ancillary role. The poems are sparkling illuminations of the prose. They enhance each other. But this book is above all a series of tales. I would compare My Glass of Wine to a salon that one wanders in where a friendly voice greets you and before you know it a delightful vignette springs up before your eyes. I enjoy learning something about a poet and Dr. Sengupta is a most accomplished raconteur. The eight prose pieces do have the feel of a memoir without ever excluding the reader who has not shared the same experiences as Dr. Sengupta and may even be from a completely different culture. I would say the most remarkable and salient feature of My Glass of Wine is how one is so very well entertained by accounts as disparate as dentistry, Christianity, southern Indian cities, and shoes. There is a universal need that we have, as fellow inhabitants on this blue planet, to learn about one another and Kiriti Sengupta takes center stage in My Glass of Wine, though he introduces in a generous and completely unselfish spirit other characters such as his wife, his son, his guru. Could another Indian poet, or scholar for that matter, speak so informally on a variety of topics, always maintaining the keen interest of the reader who may have only a superficial knowledge of India? I think the key to it is that Dr. Sengupta paints himself as an everyman, a guide without pretences or affectations, someone with a genuine desire to reveal himself as no different from anybody else. Of course each person is different, otherwise we would suffer mass ennui, and Dr. Sengupta kindly asks us to listen to his particular stories. But there is not an ounce of conceit to him. At all times I felt a great warmth emanating from his words. Here is a poet who merely wants to tell us something about himself. What makes one person’s confessions different from another’s? I can think of nothing other than sincerity. It is rare to meet a sincere human being. Life beats us down, after all, and we are often rendered cynical and embittered. Yet there isn’t the slightest taint of falsehood to My Glass of Wine. I sense only an honest man, a poet, discoursing on aspects of his life, family, and friends. The Great Russian masters, Dostoevsky and Tolstoy, believed a man had to explain himself. One sees the same influence in modern day writers like Roberto Bolaño and Gabriel García Márquez. Maybe all literature is an attempt by a writer, through the characters created in books and short stories, to offer an explanation to the reader. “I am writing this to explain to you something of myself,”...

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This Raksha Bandhan, Gift Your Sibling an Opportunity

Posted by on Aug 29, 2015 in General Reading, News | 0 comments

Happy Raksha Bandhan to All, Hope you have all bought your rakhis and the sweets. Many of you would still be searching for that perfect gift for your sibling. Clothes, accessories, chocolates – you have exhausted all these possibilities. None of these make your sibling’s eyes sparkle. You need something unique. So here is your chance. You can now Gift an Opportunity to the person with whom you have shared some of the best days of your life. On the occasion of Rakhi, Literature Studio is pleased to offer a 20% discount on some of our most popular courses. The discount can be availed by anyone who wants to gift a Creative Writing Course to their sibling. Discount is available on the following courses: Fiction Fundamentals  – Literature Studio’s “Fiction Fundamentals” is a course custom tailored for busy homemakers and retired personnel. If you want to enhance your skills as a writer, but children and family keep you busy, you can take this course that has been scheduled keeping your convenience in mind. The 10-hour-long course will be spread over 5 days and would cover the following concepts of fiction writing: 1) Plot 2) Characters 3) Settings 4) Dialogues 5) Types of Points of View and Narrators Through inspiring readings, engaging exercises, and constructive discussions, you will take your first steps towards imbibing these techniques in your writing. The course will be useful whether you want to write flash fiction, short stories, novellas, or novels.  Short Story Writing –  Unlike a novel, a short story doesn’t offer an author the luxury of space to carve a plot, develop characters, and build up a climax. A short story is, never the less, a very powerful tool that says what it has to say in limited words. A writer has to make each dialogue, description, and action count. This programme takes you through the process of writing your own short story and will help you master each aspect of short story writing, one at a time. Through a reflection on several published works, you will start your own journey towards becoming a short story writer. The programme is designed to be effective and interactive. The focus is not only on teaching but also on getting you started as a short story writer. The course is delivered face-to-face or online over 12 classes, one class per week. Short Non-Fiction Writing – This short course aims to equip you with all the skills required to write quality non-fiction. Through intensive reading and writing exercises, assignments, and in-depth critical discussions, this course will be with you as you discover your own style, your core strengths as a creative non-fiction writer. The course is delivered face-to-face or online over 7 classes, one class per week. Travel Writing – Travellers are explorers. They dare to go where others don’t and they tend to see what others overlook. Each travel story deserves to be immortalized not only for your ready reckoner but also for the generations to come. The world as we know it today is changing rapidly. It is up to us travellers to preserve and leave a legacy for generations to come. What can you do to make your travel story special? How can you become a sensitive traveller and an informed travel writer? This short course will take you through this unique journey in which you will discover...

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Breaking Free || Short Story by Lily Sperber

Posted by on Aug 28, 2015 in General Reading, Short Fiction | 0 comments

Standing on my terrace early that afternoon, I look out at the palm trees and blue skies that surround me. It is past noon, and the sun is shining directly above on this hot summer day. Today, just like most days here in Los Angeles, cars pass, children play outdoors and many people are coming in and out of my apartment building. Among those who are coming in is my roommate Adam. No matter how many reasons I give him to leave and never see me again, he always comes back. I hear the front door open and close, and moments later, Adam is standing next to me. “Hi, Anna,” he says with some hesitation. “Hey,” I say. I know why he has been acting so quiet and strange around me lately; it is because of what had happened a few days ago. He got me out of two troubling situations, and it wasn’t the first time. I think he is seriously beginning to question whether or not helping me is the best thing to do. Whatever he has been thinking, he has been very careful not to let me know about it. “Adam, I’m sorry for the other day. I never meant for that to happen…” “But it still happened. And as always, I helped. But you never seem to appreciate that, or to make an effort to stop making these mistakes,” he sighs. “I just wish you would pull your life together and…” He is interrupted by the doorbell. He stands perplexed and walks back into the hall. We aren’t expecting any visitors, so who can this be? Moments later, I follow him inside, just as he is opening the door down the hall. ~ I wish the doorbell hadn’t rang just now. I was finally talking to Anna about the issue. I don’t know why my heart is racing as I open the door. And… before me stand two police officers. They hold up their badges and look past me into the apartment. Part of me wonders what Anna has done now, but I’m sure I’ll find out soon enough. “We are here for Anna Young. Is she home?” One of the officers asks. I look behind me and see Anna watching from down the hall. She has a shocked expression on her face and I wonder why. If the police are here, she has obviously done something wrong; she should’ve been expecting them sooner or later. The police seem to see her as well, and shove past me into the apartment. “Anna Young, you are under arrest for the act of arson and for endangering people.” What? Anna has done something seriously illegal this time. But arson? Endangering people? Since when does Anna do that? “You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law. You have the right to an attorney. If you cannot afford an attorney, one will be provided for you. Do you understand the rights I have just read to you?” The officer continues. While the officer is informing her of her rights, the other officer is handcuffing her. Anna looks like she is close to tears and looks the most frightened I’ve ever seen her. She doesn’t respond...

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The Blaze

Posted by on Aug 25, 2015 in General Reading, Poetry | 10 comments

I’ll be born such, the trees won’t get hurt, and the birds can freely fly   I’ll be born such, the ants will rejoice in the tiny holes in earth; the horizon is set ablaze  no birth anywhere around   I’ve no mortal frame The earth has its share of dust and the transferable odour of lonely madmen   A river bears the moon within as it rests over the sand I’ll be born such, someday   I’ll be born such, like someone who has no birthday And like death I’ll be born eternally time and time again. (Translated by Kiriti Sengupta from its original Bengali titled “Dau” by Bibhas Roy Chowdhury) ***** And here is the original: দাউ এমন জন্মাব, যাতে গাছেদের আঘাত না লাগে আকাশে পাখির ডানা স্বাভাবিক থাকে, এমন জন্মাব এমন জন্মাব, গর্তে গর্তে পিঁপড়ের উৎসব দিগন্তে আগুন দাউ … নেই যেন কোথাও প্রসব আমার শরীর নেই… ধূলিকণা আছে পৃথিবীর আর আছে গন্ধে-গন্ধে নিরালার সমস্ত পাগল একটি নদী ধীরে এসে চাঁদ খেয়ে লুটোয় বালিতে… এমন জন্মাব আমি… এমন জন্মাব কোনওদিন এমন জন্মাব আমি, কোনও জন্মদিন নেই যার… মৃত্যুর মতোই আমি এমন জন্মাব বারবার! ________ কাব্যগ্রন্থঃ অনন্ত আশ্রম (পৃষ্ঠা ৪৭) সিগনেট প্রেস, জানুয়ারি ২০১৫ Bibhas Roy Chowdhury was born in the year 1968, in the terminal town Bongaon of West Bengal. His poems bear the characteristic features of the language of love, turmoil of the life of a poet, Partition of Bengal, and resplendent light of the lost lives. Although he has received many awards, he prefers to keep private. Kiriti Sengupta is a bilingual poet and translator in both Bengali and English. He is the author of three bestselling titles, My Glass Of Wine, a novelette based on autobiographic poetry, The Reverse Tree, a nonfictional memoir, and Healing Waters Floating Lamps [Poetry]. Kiriti’s other works include: My Dazzling Bards [literary critique], The Reciting Pens [interviews of three published Bengali poets along with translations of a few of their poems], The Unheard I [literary nonfiction], Desirous Water [poems by Sumita Nandy, contributed as the translator], and Poem Continuous – Reincarnated Expressions [poems by Bibhas Roy Chowdhury, contributed as the translator]. Reviews of his works can be read on The Fox Chase Review and Reading Series, Muse India, Red Fez Magazine, Word Riot, and in The Hindu Literary Review, among other places. Sengupta has also co-edited three anthologies: Scaling Heights, Jora Sanko – The Joined Bridge, and Epitaphs....

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“My Glass of Wine” Creative Writing Contest

Posted by on Aug 21, 2015 in General Reading, News | 0 comments

Literature Studio and Hawakaal Publishers are very pleased to announce an exciting “My Glass of Wine” contest on the occasion of the launch of Kiriti Sengupta’s book My Glass of Wine. PRIZES UP FOR GRABS: Out of all submissions we receive, we will be shortlisting 5 entries. Those 5 contestants will get a chance to read their work at the launch event of My Glass of Wine on September 18, 2015. One of these participants will be awarded a book deal with Hawakaal Publishers. Two participants will win free creative writing courses worth Rs. 10,000/- each. Two will receive a gift hamper from Tathya. SUBMISSION GUIDELINES Interested candidates are requested to send their entries along with their biographies and profile pictures to info@literaturestudio.in. The entry should be your own unpublished creative work. We are looking for entries that belong to the genre “Hybrid Literature”. Other genres will not be accepted. For more information on “Hybrid Literature”, please scroll to the bottom of this Event The entry should be between 600 to 700 words in length. You can either send the entry in a word document or paste it directly in the body of the email. The subject line of the email should state “MGOW Contest Entry”. Each contestant can submit only one entry. In case someone happens to submit multiple entries, the last one will be considered. Decision of the judges will be final and cannot be contested. The contest is open to citizens of India only. The contest is open only to those who haven’t yet published a book traditionally. DEADLINE: All entries should reach us by September 10, 2015, 11:59pm. SELECTION AND DECISION PROCESS Out of all entries received, our jury will shortlist five. These contestants will then be invited to read / present their entries during the launch event on the 18th. In case, you cannot make it to the event, you can let us know and we will arrange for someone to read your entry. During the event, the winner and the runners-up will be decided on the spot by the members of the panel, in consultation with the publisher. The results will be declared before the end of the event. WHAT IS HYBRID LITERATURE? In simple terms, Hybrid Literature is a piece of writing, short or long, in which the writer breaks free of the boundaries imposed by a single genre. The writer may choose to intersperse prose with poetry, accentuate text with graphic elements, such as photographs, caricatures, etc., or intermingle fact with fiction, and biographies with memoirs. Following are some examples of Hybrid Literature: Example 1:  An excerpt from The Reverse Tree by Kiriti Sengupta. This excerpt marries poetry and prose.  ***** I have been an ardent fan of the poet Sumita Nandy’s works. She is subtle, yet she is strong, and she writes sensuous Bengali poetry. It was with her Desirous Water (that I translated from its Bengali original, Ichemoti) where I could easily sense that she used a male voice in some portions of her poetry. She even confessed that in Ichemoti she wrote like a male, although I have found a mix of both the sexes in the book. Is this what we refer to as a third sex or gender? Here is a poem that I wrote as I read Sumita’s Desirous Water: I...

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5 Questions to Kiran Manral

Posted by on Aug 17, 2015 in General Reading, Inspiration and Opinions, Interviews | 6 comments

It is always lovely talking to Kiran Manral, Author of All Aboard, The Reluctant Detective, and Once Upon a Crush. And when she recently disclosed that THREE NEW BOOKS written by her are coming out this year, within a span of a few months, we had to know the secret behind her amazing efficacy. And with someone as warm and welcoming as Kiran, we thought it would be better to ask her directly, and also take this opportunity to extract some bonus pieces of wisdom. So here goes: ********** Vibha: Three of your books are coming out this year. Wait! Are you kidding me? How on earth did you make it happen? Kiran: Trust me this just happened, all three books were written at different points in my life, in three different genres and submitted at different times to three different publishers.   If anything, this is complete proof of how disorganised I am and how I can’t make things happen because any sensible person would have planned it out, I just tend to go with the flow and let life happen as it does. Vibha:  Serious question. So far, you’ve written mainstream fiction, chicklits. How do you classify your upcoming books? Can you share a bit about them, if possible? Kiran: Book 3, All Aboard which is being released end of August from Penguin Random House is pure romance, chicklit, commercial fiction—a light, fun read. It is the story of a girl, who has been ditched practically at the altar by her fiancé and goes on a Mediterranean cruise with her aunt to cheer herself up and finds herself terribly attracted to someone on the cruise who seems to tick all the boxes that she does not need. You know, we’ve all been in that situation sometimes where we’re attracted to someone who seems so wrong for us but just can’t resist ourselves, that’s what this book is all about. Book 4, Karmickids being published by Hay House, is a book based on my parenting blog, which was also called Karmickids, basically is an anecdotal, first-person account of bringing up my son from age 0 to age 10. It is funny, poignant, and something I think every parent will identify with. My Book 5, The Face At The Window, being published by Amaryllis, is something completely different from what I’ve had published earlier, it is a more serious book, the story of an old Anglo-Indian retired school teacher living alone in the foothills of the Himalayas, waiting for her life to end. They’re all rather different from each other, and each was absolutely delightful to write. Vibha: Some authors write in spurts, some every day. What works for you? Kiran: I believe in the discipline of writing something every single day. Even if it isn’t fiction, even if it isn’t creative writing, even replying to a questionnaire like I’m doing now, or putting up a blog post, or writing out my column. Writing is like a muscle you need to keep exercising, until it becomes almost like an involuntary muscle, where you can put your fingers to the keyboard and feel the words flow out without having to stop and ponder and retrace your steps and lose your thread of thought. If you write and if you read every single day, you have done all you must do...

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Chhimi Tenduf-La’s ‘Panther’ || Engaging Story, Intelligent Writing

Posted by on Jul 26, 2015 in Book Reviews, General Reading | 2 comments

How often do you come across a book that appeals to you at several levels? Not too often, I assume. When I picked up Panther by Chhimi Tenduf-La from Harper Collins’ office I definitely expected to read a good book, but not one that would leave me spellbound for days and one that I would think about over and over again. The book is set in a war-torn Srilanka, recovering from a long conflict between a Tamil terrorist group called the Panthers and the Sinhalese. It is a story about the challenges of rehabilitation, about postwar trauma, about the conflicts that exist even after the war has ended. Prabu, a young Tamil who has spent several years training at a Panther camp, is now trying to get his life back. Having lost his family, he seeks a sense of belonging with his friend Indika’s family. A gifted cricketer, Prabhu manages to find a place in one of the best schools possible. But has he really been accepted? By everyone? And has he really left his past behind? These questions will haunt you till the very end. And perhaps even beyond. Two separate narratives run in parallel in the book, and the author expertly uses different voices and different narrators to set the two narratives apart. While the story of Prabhu in the terrorist camp is told using a strong second person narrator, that of his attempts at reintegrating with the society is told using a guileless, naive third person limited narrator. And the fact that the author manages to give each character a unique voice speaks volumes about his skills. Consider the following dialogue, for example: Indika extended his arms out by his side. ‘How’d you know I’d be here?’ ‘You told.’ ‘Did I? Honestly can’t remember.’ ‘I think maybe you have been take the many alcohols. You told to me also and Gayan, Rajiv and Gish.’ ‘Yeah I told them, but…’ Indika closed his eyes. ‘Okay, okay, now you’re here, sit, sit.’ A girl with wet hair, tan highlighted by a white bikini top, skipped up to Indika. ‘Oh. My. God.’ She grabbed his wrists. ‘It’s been too long.’ Laughing, Indika pointed at Prabu. ‘Fiona, meet my new, what would I call him, friend?’ Prabu offered his hand. ‘Pleased to be meeting you.’ Resting her hands on Prabu’s shoulders, Fiona leaned forward to kiss him on either cheek. Prabu froze, feet stuck in the grass, jaw locked. He’d heard foreign girls were forward, but kissing him before she knew his name? Wow. He straightened his back, combed his hair down into a side parting, deepened his voice. ‘My name is called the Prabu.’ ‘Pleasure,’ she said. Even without the speech tags you can easily make out who is speaking what. With his wide-eyed observations of his new life, Prabu comes across as a very convincing unreliable narrator – we look at the world through his eyes and are able to make out that his friends are making fun of him, even though he himself remains blissfully unaware of it. The characters, with their positive traits and flaws, are delightfully round and realistic. For someone who teaches creative writing, this book is pure delight. The storyline is full of unexpected twists and turns and you can never be sure of what is...

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Kiriti Sengupta’s “Healing Waters Floating Lamps” || Review by Ananya S Guha

Posted by on Jul 13, 2015 in Book Reviews, General Reading | 15 comments

Kiriti Sengupta’s poems are at once lonely, spiritual and a mystique of the open wide world punctuated with existential questions, In Healing Waters Floating Lamps the poet holds constant dialogue between what is signified — call it God, a moral question or retribution, or even a pantheistic credo. The persistent reference to water, the sea and the ethereal connote a world that is sacrosanct, such as the invocation of a holy city, or a Tagorean utterance of God and a hushed mystical world. Throughout the poems there is a defiance of the ordinary as the poems catapult into an emblazoned extraordinary world. Yet the poems are not reductionist, they are structures embedded in a philosophy of humanity which is God-centered. The cultural stance that the poet takes is culled from everyday situations such as the apparent ordinariness of a fish depicting a cultural symbol. The Tagorean impulse dominates some of the poems: “Have you seen the floating lamps in the river?” (“Evening Varanasi”) Or “My Master enjoys the stage” … (“Unravel”) While “Eyes Of A Yogi’’ ends with a crescendo “The mother changes to sky.” These poems are not arid intellectualism. They are poetry of the heart, the spirit. Yet they are complex interfaces of existence. They are not subject to one interpretation. Such interpretative dimension imbue these with fine, subtle qualities. Throughout the poems there are reverberations of the infinite pinned down by a finite well-ordered reality. But the subversive elements dominate the poems- this well ordered reality should be transcended into the metaphysics of life. It is a Meta world we live in. The poems reveal this intensity of grappling with prescient but not foreboding truths. Always there is light, not darkness: “I reach the sky While I draw a circle in the water Looking at the image I take a dip” (“Beyond The Eyes”) The poems militate against arid intellectualism. They open out the citadels of love, they are not susceptible to one interpretation, they are rather interpretative and multi-layered. They are irreducible statements not of the cerebral, but that of the spirit. This breaks new grounds in Indian English poetry. The power of Sengupta’s poetry lies within, not without. The images are retained inwardly and inner senses cry out for something, somewhere: “I have seen my mother Preparing Ghee out of milk- She never used butter To clarify it further…”  (Clarity) “Clarity” here assumes an ambiguous connotation. Do we have it in what we say and do? Sengupta’s poems rest continuously in such clever word making and imagery. Let us look at the images in his poems: eyes, water, tears, river, yogi are some of them. The sacred city of Varanasi is another one. The poet is subsumed by a quest for the ordinary transformed into extraordinary metabolic desires. This gives to his poetry a pugnacity, barring any raucousness. The voice is always quiet, meditative, it is never sentimental or maudlin. If there is a cry for God, then it is an act of surrender. In fact surrender is one of the dominant themes of these poems. But it precludes any kind of overt religiosity. Sengupta’s poems are no ontology, they are direct references to life, the rustic world and sometimes to relationships. They may be direct statements, but their innards are complex and philosophical....

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Braving the rain for the 2nd meet of Writers’ Circle – Central Delhi Chapter

Posted by on Jul 12, 2015 in General Reading, News | 0 comments

The 2nd meet of the Writers’ Circle – Central Delhi Chapter was scheduled for Saturday afternoon and it seemed that weather was determined to play spoilsport. It had been raining continuously since the morning, so I decided to start early for the event. I started at 12pm for the 2pm event. It was perhaps the most difficult drive. The rate at which the rain was falling was much higher than the rate at which my car’s windshield wipers were able to wipe off the water. And as a result, I could hardly see anything. It was such a blessing that I didn’t find any traffic jams en route. But I was worried for the participants and wondered whether they would take the pains to step out of their homes in such a weather. I could do nothing but wait and watch. But as the clock struck 2, people started pouring in, and in the end, we had 10 participants excluding me for the event, which wasn’t bad on such a day. I silently applauded the participants for their courage and determination. It was a fun mix once again. We had a tech entrepreneur who is also an artist, an artist who is also a columnist, a columnist who is also an author and businesswoman, a businessman who is also an aspiring writer, an aspiring writer who is also a blogger, a blogger who is also a Hindi poet, and some very talented college students. Each of them had their own unique styles and genres and personalities and that added variety to the readings. There wasn’t a second of boredom. In many ways, the group was very much like the Noida Chapter, especially where Chetan Bhagat is concerned. One mention of his name is enough to cause an uproar in the group and then you can rest assured that you will need to wait it out for at least 10 minutes before you can interrupt and bring the focus back to the readings. So I am planning to add another rule from the next time onwards. Words like “Chetan Bhagat” and “Amish Tripathi” and to some extent “Durjoy Dutta” and “Ravinder Singh” can only be uttered during the break or after the readings are over. They are too much of a distraction. 🙂 The next meet will be held in the first half of August and will be posted on our various platforms. If you want to be a part of this wonderful group, send an email to info@literaturestudio.in....

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