NPS: New Plot Syndrome

As of last night, I’ve moved past my Post Manuscript Syndrome stage with Squiggle, part 2 – yes, it is a GO and I couldn’t be more thrilled and excited about moving a step closer to the crucial design stage for this book. Meanwhile, I’ve plunged headlong into writing the next History Mystery. Well, not quite plunged and not quite headlong and not quite writing as yet… it’s more like gasping, wheezing and choking as I attempt to come up with a plot and characters. I’m calling it NPS: New Plot Syndrome (I’m less daunted by character creation). My head is swimming with the research I’ve done on Aryabhata. Theorems float like fishes blowing bubbles at me and spheres have developed scary faces, inhabiting my every waking hour, through day and night, since insomnia is here to haunt me, yet again. I’m back in college before my final exam (I majored in Math). Sheafs of paper that have been scribbled upon litter my table. I have flowcharts of plot-progression and what-ifs. I have sheets with possible riddles, post-its in a multitude of colours, highlighter pens that have run out of ink and possible plots that are weaving around and going… nowhere! Aargh! It’s scary. It’s frustrating. It gives me an upset tummy. Strangely, it’s also immensely, phenomenally exciting. It’s a new beginning, a whole new world, a new adventure and a new challenge to myself. It’s thoughts flowing fast, often faster than I can pen them down. I’m crying out in pain when I bang into walls. Somewhere, I have to believe that whatever story gods exist will come to my aid and fill my...

Mosquito and mice poetry and why you must keep writing

In 2010 I wrote a bunch of poems, collectively titled Tadpoles On My Toes and Other Experiences of a City-fied Kid. My first book Icky, Yucky, Mucky! wasn’t even published back then. The collection of poems centres around the thoughts, experiences and interactions with the world for a child growing up in urban India. It grew to close to eighty poems and I hoped and prayed that someone would turn the lot into a book. It hasn’t happened so far. I’d started off with the knowledge that publishing poetry can be notoriously difficult. But that’s the thing about being a writer. You have to write what you want to and often need to. You have to get the thoughts out of your system and onto paper. You hope that it will all come together and turn into a book. Sometimes, it works out. Other times, it doesn’t. While you hold onto the hope that a publisher will love what you’ve written, that it will fit in with their publishing direction and list, that publishing poetry will really not be as difficult as you are given to believe, you have to keep writing alongside. You don’t wait for your piece to get signed on before moving on to writing the next thing. You especially don’t stop writing if a piece doesn’t make it into a book. I filed away Tadpoles On My Toes and got on with putting pen to paper/fingertips to keys. Ever so often, I opened up the file and tweaked a word here, a line there. Five years and eleven books later, two poems from that collection titled Mosquito...

History and mystery at my book launch at the Kala Ghodha festival

‘Pa-pa-papa-pa-papa-pa-paaaaa!  Dham-dham-dhadha-dham-dhadha-dham-dham!’ sounded out Kitab Khana bookstore yesterday at the launch of my new History Mystery series with Akbar and the Tricky Traitor and Ashoka and the Muddled messages. About the trumpets and the drums. Bring together a bunch of enthusiastic kids, make them jump into history with the makings of a mystery and they’ll trumpet and beat out the rhythm anywhere. As we pa-paaed and dham-dhammed together, it was time to reveal the strange ways of a writer’s mind. It was time to bring on to stage … THE THING! Kept carefully in a wooden box, covered with a regal red cloth, a brave soul came forth to hold the tongs (for it was rather doubtful whether THE THING had been washed in a  while) and pulled out … … THE SOCK! (At this crucial point, the photographer froze in shock and missed clicking the all important photograph. Be thankful … for the stench, even over the web, might have made you faint.) Ques: Where did the sock come from? Ans: A bag full of props at a Duckbill reading workshop. And then? Well … socks relate to feet that relate to footsteps that connects to the mystery in the Akbar book. I cannot say more for fear of giving the mystery away, but you can learn more about the books by clicking here. The children giggled through the introductory video to History Mystery. We followed it up with trick questions on the Super Six and the Tremendous Ten investigators and I read out the first chapter from Akbar and the Tricky Traitor. We then went on to the...

KALA GHODHA ARTS FESTIVAL takes over!

Every year, February comes around with the promise of much excitement. Chock full of birthdays and anniversaries in my family, it is a month of celebration. The weather is always brilliant. It is still early enough in the year to hope to stick by new year resolutions. Then of course, there is the Kala Ghodha Festival. As with many Mumbaikars, the festival takes over 9 days of my life and has been doing so since the last few years. Be it readings I am conducting, sessions I am ferrying my kids to, attempting to jostle my way through increasingly maddening crowd to get my fix of a kala khatta or a khao suey on Rampart Row, admiring the many installations or oohing and aahing over the quirky merchandise on sale, the Kala Ghodha Arts Festival is really like no other. I do hope that if you are in Mumbai you are planning to head that way on some days. And for those with children, the Children’s Literature Section has really come into its own over the last few years. Do bring your children to be a part of the fun that the black horse whinnies in every year! If you would like to attend any of my sessions, here are the details: Writing workshop: Punctuation fun Wednesday, Feb 5th, 6:00pm, Kitab Khana.  Join me with your kids for an interactive writing workshop. There are no papers or pencils in this writing workshop! Listen, laugh and enjoy the fun. Get the first peek into my soon-to-release book ‘Squiggle takes a walk’. (Age 7+) Register by sending an email to litkidskgaf14@gmail.com with...

Rooster Raga at Auxilium, Carona- Aldona

Rooster Raga at Auxilium, Carona- Aldona. Found this post about an absolutely fabulous session around Rooster Raga conducted at Auxilium in Goa. Thank you Sheena for selecting the book and to bookworm for sharing the details of your session. I am going to take pointers! For teachers, librarians, book clubs – here is a quick recap of the session: As the children entered the library, each had to pick a chit with a sound word written on it. They had to find other children with the same word and form their group. Imagine a class full of meows, quacks, moos and grunts! They sang a song, ‘I am special’. Here’s the Rooster Raga song ready for use at the session. [soundcloud url=”https://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/123479546″ params=”color=ff6600&auto_play=false&show_artwork=true” width=”100%” height=”166″ iframe=”true” /] She read out Rooster Raga accompanied by the many animal sounds all through the book. My favourite part – each child then wrote out what they think is special about themselves and what they are good at. I’d even create a class list and have them put down a word or line about what they like about all the other children in the class. The teacher could collate it for each child. What a lovely list to have! A few years ago, my father wrote this for my son. It is still on our board, and probably time to make a new one, but what better way to celebrate your children and the wonderful things they do each day. In the spirit of saving the best for last, it had to be his hugs that we so look forward to. Share...