Inspiration and Opinions

Kosi, me, and the Kairos || Story by Ninad Parikh

The stage was set, characters were defined and audience awaited. I was the audience. Show was to commence. The curtains of twilight were raised to give way to the uncanny fraternization of subtle darkness and silken moonlight. Homecoming of the birds was suggestive of the fact that it was time to return to the place where I belonged. The place, the state of life where ecstasy thrives. The place where one loses oneself and in the process reclaims the divinity of the moment… Everything in the vicinity appeared interwoven. The water conversing with the stones underneath, the wind whispering in the ears of the sky-scraping trees, the mountains shaking hands with the horizon, the misting of moonlight on the earth and the aura of that moment. I was contemplating the phenomenal swiftness with which the birds were dramatizing their acrobatics in the animated sky. The freedom they luxuriate bequeaths them with the ardor to speed up, the ebullience to live on and to fly away to the resplendent glory. A bird parked itself on a hulking stone. He gaped candidly into my eyes. I was surprised not at the fearlessness but at the calmness he flaunted. He seemed to be sure of enduring till I uttered something. But I felt as if I had been talking to him for eternity. There was no obligation to be prim and ask him about his identity on this earth and sky… I eventually asked him, “How does it feel to harmonize with this timeless aura of creativity?” He looked at me with unaltered tranquility as if he had expected such a question from me. He panned his sight towards the horizon and after a few prolonged moments, replied, “Mate, One always belongs to his own creation.” I was astonished not because of the unfathomable answer but at the ease with which he addressed me as “Mate”. “One always belongs to his own creation,” I said to myself and kept saying it for a while. “What do you mean? Is it you who has fashioned this aura?” I asked. “Partially.” “So you are suggesting that you have been instrumental in creating a quantum of this aura….” “Absolutely. Even you are a part of the same.” That didn’t exactly give me the sense of belonging I was craving for, but it did raise a flutter of hope within my mind that I am still there. I asked him, “Can you elaborate on your and specifically my role in this unimaginable creation?” “Well, there is no single entity that has scripted this aura and painted this panoramic picture. We all make it happen. We all are doing what we are best at and incidentally everything converges in a distinguished moment. A moment that lives for a life time. A moment that paints you in happiness and fills you with a perpetual sense of belonging. I am an avian. I live because I fly. And when I fly I fly with such pride and zest that this world falls in love with my flight. That’s the partial aura I am referring to.” “But how do I become a part of this…what have I accomplished?” I asked. “Some minutes back you would have felt that the mountains are shaking hands with the horizon…the winds are whispering something in the ears of those tall trees….That was a surreal feeling you created. Mate, the mountains don’t shake hands with horizon. It’s the perception you sculpture in your heart that transposes it into a prodigious entourage. You were the creator of that moment when you heard the whispers of wind. Now you will write about the...

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5 Questions to Kiran Manral

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 to help yourself as a writer. I think of it as a daily riyaaz—one doesn’t expect a sportsperson to perform well if there hasn’t been rigorous practice, nor a musician, nor any person from any other skilled profession. Why should writing be any different? You need to practice the craft,...

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The Case of the Vanishing Bookshops

It is no longer a secret that with the onset of ebooks and online shopping sites, the bookshops are vanishing at an alarming pace. Sector-18 market in Noida that at one time in not too distant past boasted of at least four charming little BookStores, now is left with only one. Galgotia’s, miraculously, still survives but has been reduced to one dingy basement. Most book stores in North-West Delhi and West Delhi are also suffering the same fate, with huge players like Reliance TimeOut being pushed to shut their shops. Book stores in South Delhi are only slightly better off. Some have closed down whereas others are seeing a highly diminished inflow of customers. The owner of a bookshop in Defence Colony market thanked me so profusely that it made me feel guilty about all the books I have bought online. And what is most unfortunate is that this is happening when reading as a hobby is obviously on an upward trend in India, with 73% of Indian Youth literate and increasingly turning to books for leisure-reading. And youngsters as more attached to books than we ever were. One particular young lady, all of 9, I had met last year started sobbing in her mom’s arms when she was told that her favorite book store has shut down. I, myself, was devastated upon learning that Cafe Turtle and Pages book stores in Noida and Crossword and Reliance TimeOut in Rohini have shut down. This is the kind of love we harbour for our favorite bookstores. And in spite of this, the book stores are shutting down, and we can do nothing but watch. Today I Eulogise my favorite book store Pages in Noida Sector 18: Pages, the book store in Sector-18, Noida, made all my visits to the crowded market worth it. I don’t remember a single visit when I came out without purchasing anything. Unpretentious and simplistic, the layout was just perfect for my taste. The staff was always eager to help and one particular old uncle ji did everything he could to find the book I was looking for or the one he thought I should read. When the store closed down, it left a void in the market and in my life. I wish some day I will wake up to find that this was all a dream and that the store never closed down. If one of your favorite bookstore has closed down recently and you wish to eulogise it, leave the eulogy in a comment on this blog post and we will share it on our Facebook Page for others to read....

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So You Think Writing for Children is Child’s Play?

“But will this establish you as a serious writer?” a well-meaning friend of a colleague asked her when she confessed that she was working on a children’s book for her debut as a writer. And this is really the standard assumption about children’s literature. Very often, it is dismissed as simple, non-serious, and easy to write. But  anyone who takes out time to read children’s literature – and many adults do so simply because it is gratifying in a literary sense and fun to read at any age – would know that there is much more to this art and it absolutely deserves to be respected a lot more. It isn’t only about fairy tales and lessons in morality. It is much, much more. To begin with, writers of children’s books carry huge responsibilities on their shoulders. Their writings introduce children to the world of books and God forbid if it is uninteresting, it may put the little ones off reading forever. And children are smart, they expect a lot from the books they read. One 8-year-old girl I sent one of my stories for review got back to me with comments like “the story is interesting and kept me engaged”. They can sense dilemmas, conflicts, and struggles the characters of the stories deal with and are smart enough to see through any loopholes the writer may have inadvertently overlooked. Whatever you do, you can never take these young readers lightly. And you also have to be careful of the content you are presenting to the kids. Smart though they are, they are still too young for some topics. Moreover, something that is suitable for a 6 year old may be too childish for a 8 year old, and a young adult or a teenager may look at the literature meant for younger children with disdain. So a writer who takes up writing for children needs to be sure which age-group he or she is writing for. But one also has to be vary of dumbing down the story too much. Children are more perceptive than we give them credit for, and a simplistic, didactic book may not make the cut with them.  Mortality and grief are as real to them as to us, and tougher. Occasionally  an accomplished children’s writer comes along and deals with these subjects with such finesse that readers are left in awe. One such children’s writer is David Almond. He has written several books that deal with complicated issues such as bereavement, loneliness, grief, abandonment, and isolation, and all in children’s books. His book My Name is Mina is one such intriguing story. Click here to read my review of this book. We often forget our childhood concerns and issues as we grow up. More often than not we do not remember the little things that gave us joy. So the challenge lies in making the world you create for your young readers as realistic as possible. You have to put yourself in their shoes and experience the world as they experience it, to be able to make your readers relate to your writing. Your protagonist needs to be of the same age group as the reader for your reader to be interested in his or her journey. Writings of Paro Anand demonstrate this beautifully – her characters, their journeys, challenges, and victories are all very real to her intended readers. But then Anand writes well for both children and adults – a feat not too many can boast of. Children can be brutally honest and they will never say anything just to make you...

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