Monday, November 22, 2010

Creative Writing Workshop in Mumbai on 12th December

Soulpen: The adventure of writing.

How would you like to write a novel? Or a play? Or a script?

How would you like to dip into your own well for ideas, for short story, novella, novel or movie-script?

Have you ever felt that you have a classic inside you? That all you need is to catch the illusive thread from your bundle of thoughts and keep puling gently. Maybe you sat with a pen in your hand and tried to write a story. And maybe your bundle got tight and the thread snapped. Untangling that bundle can be a delicate, at times painful, but ultimately fulfilling creative process.

Anyone can write. Those who have the patience to deal with the tangled bundle will definitely come out with a novel.

Those who don't have it, come sign up for Soulpen. We give you the fevicol that will stick your bottom to the writer's chair.

The next creative writing workshop is scheduled on Sunday, 12th December, 2010.

Timing: 10 am to 6 pm

: Rs. 1,600/ (writing materials, tea included)

Venue: Andheri West, Mumbai, and ONLINE* option is available.

Eligibility: Preferably over 16 yrs old and a love for writing or reading or both.

Focus: The aim of the workshop is to dig out the blocks that hamper the sprouting of the creative juices and fuel the love of writing towards an intense and natural discipline. It will help the beginner as well as the writer who is stuck in the middle of a book.

Register : 09945192862 or mail

* ONLINE : If you are not in Mumbai but would still like to attend, we can meet through Skype. You will need a computer with a microphone, speaker and camera with a net connection and you are almost here. An online participant can hear and see all the participants and be seen and heard too.
Please mail me if you want to attend online.

Flow chart:

Re-discovering the creative impulse.
Why do we write? Because we need to tell the story. As children, all of us are born creative. When we learn to talk, there is no difference between imagination and reality. Education encourages us to develop our logic and the creative process takes a back seat. The glimpses of the muse are short and sweet: She comes visiting, she leaves a line and takes back the novel.

Missing the muse, the creative angel, is the writer's block. We shall begin with an exercise, an ice-breaking ritual for overcoming the writers block. Then we get familiar with the source of all the art within: your well. We shall do some techniques to dive in with a torch and unearth the gems, the pearls or the bullets.

Nurturing the creative impulse.
How does curds set? First of all, you need a pot. The structure of the story. The American classical structure and the Indian traditional original masala formula from the Natya Shastra. The navarasas. Then it needs milk.

Characterization. We shall understand different approaches to creating your characters. The purpose of all these exercises will be for all the participants to complete a short story. And to fuel the love of writing towards a natural and intense discipline of sitting with a pen and paper.

Author's profile : I am a recently published novelist of A Grasshopper's Pilgrimage. This book should be available in most of the Crosswords and Landmarks. You can read reviews of this book on this blog. Just type the title in the search box. I am also a film maker. I was trained at the Film and Television Institute of India, Pune in Film Editing. I have made several documentary films, and taught the various aspects of film making at NID (National Institute of Design), Ahemedabad and also at the FTII. I have conducted several creative writing workshops at the Srishti School of Art and Design and Times of India : Nalanda group, Bangalore . I write for the creative outlet, deep fulfillment and clarity of mind that sometimes comes as a gift with a good session of writing.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

don't just crib, make a complaint.

Government of India has developed an 'Online Grievance Forum'

The government wants people to use this tool to highlight the problems they face while dealing with Government officials or departments like Passport Office, Electricity board, BSNL/MTNL, Railways etc. Many of us say that these things don't work in India.

Couple of months back, the Faridabad Municipal Corporation laid new roads in his area and the residents were very happy about it. But two weeks later, BSNL dug up the newly laid roads to install new cables which annoyed all the residents. A resident used the above listed grievance forum to highlight his concern. To his surprise, BSNL and Municipal Corporation of Faridabad were served a show cause notice and the complainant received a copy of the notice in one week. Government has asked the MC and BSNL about the goof up as it's clear that both departments were not in sync at all.

So use this grievance forum and educate others who don't know about this facility.

This is one way we can raise our concerns in India.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Bangaloreans, a rare treat for us

Seeking the Beloved

A Festival of Sindhi Sufi Poetry


Shah Abdul Latif Bhitai

21 November, Bangalore

What –

A festival of poetry by 17th century poet Shah Abdul Latif Bhitai – featuring folk singers from Kutch, poetry readings and evocative story telling of the love legends which feature in the Sufi poetry.

Where –

Sophia School Auditorium, Sophia High School, 70, Palace Road, Bangalore 560 001.

When –

6pm-10 pm, Sunday, 21 November 2010.

The poet –

Shah Abdul Latif Bhitai (1689-1752) is one of the greatest Sufi poets along with Rumi (1207-1273) and Mir Dard (1721-1785), but relatively speaking lesser known. His poetry draws on the power and beauty of Vedanta and Islam melding the two philosophies into one poetic and spiritual vision. His major work is the “Shah Jo Risalo” and his poems thrive today as a vibrant oral tradition being widely sung, quoted and loved by both Hindu and Muslim communities in the Sindh region on both sides of the Indo-Pak border. He takes the popular love legends of the region and speaks through the voices of different woman protagonists. Sometimes he is Sasui, sometimes Moomal, sometimes Sohini and sometimes Marui… and through their journeys of seeking the Truth he expresses his own. His poetry creates a tantalizing dance of expressions between the sensual yearnings for the earthly Beloved and the deeply meditative yearnings for the transcendent Beloved.


my veins throb


he remains silent

my beloved butcher

soothe me

only you

can pacify my soul


she jumps in

to choose safe waters

is the path of imposters

those who love

take on the mighty river

(translations by Anju Makhija & Hari Dilgir, from “Seeking the Beloved”, Katha, 2005)

Disciples and followers of Shah Abdul Latif Bhitai gather from all over the world annually at an Urs at Bhitshah in Sindh, Pakistan, where the poet spent the final years of his life.

The performers –

In the festival on Nov 21st, the poetry of Shah Latif will come alive in two distinct musical genres. One is the Kaafi form of singing prevalent amongst the bhajan singers of the Meghval community of Kutch. This style will come alive in the robust yet lilting voice of Mooralala Marwada, a folk singer from Janan village in the Khadeer region of Kutch.

The second is a deep, meditative musical form known as Waee which is also the name of the style of poetry created by Shah Latif. This style is prevalent across the border between India and Pakistan. The festival will present the last exponents of the Waee form of singing in the Indian Sindh region – Mitha Khan Jat and Sumar Khan from village Bagadia in the Banni region of Kutch.

The poems and love legends –

The music performances would be interspersed by evocative story telling of the folk love legends and poetry readings by Mumbai-based translator & poet Anju Makhija and filmmaker Shabnam Virmani.

Also –

A sampling of traditional Sindhi cuisine will be available at the venue along with stalls of films, music, books, T-shirts inspired by the poetry of Shah Latif and Kabir.

Organized by –

The Kabir Project, Sindhi Culture Foundation and National Centre for Biological Sciences.

The Kabir Project is housed at the Srishti School of Art, Design and Technology in Bangalore and has been engaged for the last 8 years in understanding and sharing contemporary expressions of the 15 century mystic poet Kabir. Currently the project has begun a similar journey of understanding the Sindhi Sufi poet, Shah Abdul Latif Bhitai. The Sindhi Culture Foundation was founded a year ago with the commitment towards researching and creating awareness about Sindhi culture and history.

Donor Passes available at –

KC Das – St. Marks Road, CMH Road, Wheeler Road, BTM Layout, Marthahalli, JP Nagar,

Sampige Road, New BEL Road.

Bulchee – Garuda Mall, Forum Value Mall -Whitefield, Cosmos - Whitefield, Total Mall - Sarjapur

Sigma Mall, Cunningham Road

Prism – The Bookshop, 11th Main, 4th Block Jayanagar 080-26637527

Inside Bharati Vidya Bhavan, Race Course Road (10.30-5.30)

Supermarket – 5th Avenue, Brigade Road 080-25581248

Pecos R & B – Near Ramaiah Hospital, New BEL Road 080-40905168

PecosBrigade Road, 080-25586047

MOJO – Residency Road (near Ballal Residency) 41142038

Stones Pub – Indiranagar 41481574

Favourite Shop – Commercial Street, MG Road, Jayanagar, Indiranagar, Marathalli, Forum Value Mall, Whitefield, Mantri Square

Soch – Forum Mall, Koramangala, Commercial Street, Forum Value Mall, Whitefield, Mantri Mall

Contact & Information –

For more information log onto

The artistes will be available for interviews and interaction from 20 November.

Contact – Aruna Madnani Mob: 9740066219