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Friday, 30 September 2011

Tweet, Tweet and a Fairy Tale Weaves.

Image source for this picture

The story was ‘The fiery sun’ and before the team started; they decided that copyright would not belong to anybody.

I saw them weave their story on Twitter and was amazed at how the story was unfolding. Four tweeple (I was not sure if they knew each other- but I assumed they were friends) were tweeting a story. The story was for Pratham books that had enthralled the blogger world with their write-a-thon to celebrate the International girl child with ‘The upside down story’.

On the twitter, they had invited tweeple to create one story and Asmita had taken up this challenge.

She put up her tweet-request to make a team and like a relay, each one wrote 5-6 tweets and then passed on the writing baton to the next participant. Asmita kept track of the story with a handle #swpb (story writing for PrathamBooks) which she would collate and post it on her blog.

I was following the story and was very impressed with the talent out there, Ratna wrote:

I reached the tree, bent down to pick 1 stone. To my surprise, it wasn’t a stone at , but a tiny, ice-cold blob of sparkly jelly! I put it in my mouth – silly me? – and it melted instantly into a mouthful of delicious, cool coconut water. I quickly gobbled 20 mouthfuls till my thirst was gone. Then i lay down under tree – a cool, dark place that smelled faintly of vanilla & dreamed.

Although the story was expected to be completed in one day with 100 tweets, it tweeted on for three days. The participating tweeple came in their own free time and tweeted the story, passing on their writing baton to the next person after their turn. I had decided that I would give my feedback at the end of the story but the story was so amazing that I could not wait no more. I wanted to cheer all the writers whom I knew.

My twitter chat with Asmita

Me: Loved the way your story is shaping out

Asmita: Would you like to add to the story?

Me: Ah! I wish I had joined in earlier, now your story is in its last leg, no? It’s truly lovely and you are doing good

Asmita: Even if we are at end you can join up, continue the story or end it. It is a collaboration effort- no hard and fast rule to it.

Me: Thank you so much, I am so very tempted to join in but it doesn’t seem fair to me to butt in last minute – maybe next time.

I slept off after the chat but in the morning I had change of mind and decided to give it a try.

Me: On the second thought- maybe I should, it sounds fun, pass me the baton please. And I was in…..just for few tweets. I wrote:

I looked closely at the gold handle, turning it upside down, round and round, examining each part running my finger over it. It was smooth. Too smooth, what a strange handle? The picture of that delicious map has shown that it was attached to the tree but I couldn’t see any hook, how will it fit on the tree, and how do I find that tree? Maybe Jin might know. The animal-shaped plants had said that he helped everybody, maybe he is somewhere around.

“Jin, Jin, where are you there? Can you hear me? Please help me.”

I looked around waiting for Jin to appear. There was no sign of Jin. Silence everywhere except those faint distant sounds of ‘“tabala tabala hiri hiri boom” I kept the handle aside and then saw those pair of rose-colored spectacles. They looked so pretty and I tried them on, suddenly …

No, I couldn’t end the story…there was much too much excitement to it…I tweeted only as far as my images clicked into my mind (was still warming up) with just about 8-9 tweets only and passed on the writing baton to the next one….and before I realized the story had swirled around into such a beautiful story somersaulting my imagination.

I have memorized every scene. Now I wait to catch hold of a child, straddle him on my lap to relate this story..and experience the bliss of story telling

To read the full story, please click here

Monday, 26 September 2011

Dear Vodafone and Crossword, Do You Really Care…..??

When the event in a remote area where there is no proper restaurant in its vicinity, it is important to have a cafeteria where one can soak their dry lips.
Last week I was invited for Vodafone Crossword Book Awards 2011 by my friend, Dipti at NCPA.

Normally whenever I go for any event I always make sure that I have eaten enough so as to not crave for food but on that day, being a Ganpati festival, I went visiting few places before going for this event and didn’t get much time to eat. (I don’t call sweets and Prasad as food and sweets are normally No! No! I avoid sweets)

So, I was hungry.
The event began, with Lillete Dubey as the host, presenting the show. I started to rummage through my purse to find something to eat and found a small packet of dry fruits. Pleased that I had something to munch on, I watched the show.

The show was quite interesting, with the 7-year-old Keshav’s beautiful performance on tabla, (Remember Kehsav, the one who had performed at “Rhythms of India”, the opening event of the Commonwealth Games (CWC) opening ceremony?) He never fails to enthrall the audience.  This was followed by the poetry performance by his mom- Ms Gopika Dahanukar and then of course the main event itself –VodaphoneCrossword Awards 2011.

I earnestly wanted my friend Annie Zaide (who was nominated) to bag that 3 lakhs money prize for her non-fiction work ‘Known Turf’ but it was not to be and I was disappointed.
My hunger grew stronger.
Dipti and I walked outside the auditorium looking for a cafeteria. A big buffet table was set with neatly arranged tables and chairs but (wait a minute) ONLY FOR THEIR ESTEEMED GUESTS. The waiters walked in and out of the kitchen with shiny silver trays laden with exotic snacks and I looked on hungrily like a starving street child. I tried to enter the dining area but the volunteers blocked me, asking me for a white-dinner coupon. White-dinner-coupon? Huh? I looked into the invitation envelop, nopes..there is no such coupon! I have been discriminated!!! There was no food, neither a drop of a drink for a commoner like me. I had no idea that my invitation card did not have the dinner-coupon. I offered to pay for the dinner but they refused. I did see some of the ‘esteemed guests’ begging for dinner coupons for their ‘commoner’ friends but I was not about to beg for such invitations. 

This was too embarrassing for me.  
How much does the dinner cost anyways? huh?  If, considering that more than 20 lakhs have already been spent on this event (that includes prize money, auditorium booking, participants, publishers and readers) can’t they spend extra few pennies to make dinner available to all the attendees, those who remove time from their busy life and honor their show? After all its going to be common people who will give them business, isn't it? Of the 1000 people attending the show, there must have been only 100 commoners like me. Is it so expensive to cater to those too? Why so much stinginess on hospitality?
Dear Crossword and Vodaphone, Thank you very much!! This is what I would call penny wise, pound foolish!!!
It was late evening and I was too tired to go to any fancy restaurant, I just wanted to eat something to stop those restless hunger pangs. We decided to go to a vegetarian restaurant opposite Churchgate station. It was closed. We looked for another restaurant inside the station, it was closed too. We started to walk towards the train and on the platform there was a tiny, sleepy kiosk, selling wafers and snacks. I bought two Samosas for myself and I almost puked because of the stale oil.
Bad day indeed!
I had a noodles soup for dinner at home.

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