Tuesday, March 28, 2006

The final nomination

The last nomination is another story declared a blockbuster long before it was over. And once again, DJ was collaborating with a blogger. No points for guessing which story this is. So lets hear, errr read it from the editor, Priyangini Mehta.

When after The Independence Day, Deepak's first thriller but the last long story for he year, when he wrote a morose post about not being able to write and wanting to take a break, I was genuinely sad because I missed his writing. I think when almost everyone was understanding and sensitive I was downright unsympathetic and angry. I waited for some time and slowly when he did not write for about a month, I started my nagging. I nagged him on the blog, on YM, on the phone until I think he started to avoid me.

Then to improve his bad mood, I gave him a plot, a comic one because he had not attempted the genre. The plot did not seem to inspire him so one day when I thought of a plot which was about human emotions and relationships I knew it was bang on. I sent it to him and started my nagging again, I nudged him and pushed him to write. He did not budge so I shut up, not wanting to make him hate me. Then came the bloggeratti, I knew that if Meera won, he would write, so I waited. I was going to restart the nagging if Meera won and he still did not write but I did not have to. A couple of days after the Bloggeratti event, he called me and asked me to check my email, rediff was as usual screwing up so I had not received it. I asked him what it was about and he said he had started to write on my plot. After almost two hours of continuous logging into rediffmail I got the email, my first reaction was, "Wow. I would have never thought of partition as the backdrop." I called back and said I liked it. I also sent him an email. I was really thrilled that he was writing again. In fact when I read the first episode, it was so drastically different from anything I had expected or imagined, I instantly realised that this is going to be a DJ story through and through.

In the next mail, Deepak offered me the position of the editor, I readily accepted. Then began the wait every morning for a new episode. I did not edit it episode wise but waited for it all to come. it was a great feeling, the waiting and then getting the word file eager to know what the writer had imagined for the story. His descriptions were brilliant but a few things a bit too filmy so were changed. After he wrote the whole story, it took me two-three days to edit it. I had gone through it with a fine toothcomb but the problem was that every time i read it there was something or the other that I wanted to change, sometimes it was the placement of a scene, sometimes a word and sometimes the grammar. It was the day before the release that we had a 2 hours session on YM about the various changes. We argued a bit here and there and I once had to reprimand him for changing the topic. After that he took over, made changes from his end. It had taken almost two weeks for the story to be ready. I missed the release as it was on a Sunday but on Monday, my heart missed a couple of beats as the page opened. After the release we had telecons almost everyday, rejoicing the great response. It was really exciting but sometimes I felt that it was being released much to fast. Deepak felt bad for not being able to participate online and reply to comments as the when they came but I tried to do a bit of that for him. On the last episode, I felt empty but there was so much I learnt, I need to thank Deepak for it. I have moved on from WTHMTE now but it will remain a great memory for me. Deepak is an exceptional writer, everyone in blogjagat knows that but my wish for him is that some day the world also acknowledges it and when he wins the Booker, I want my name in his acceptance speech: D"

Well, she asked me to edit out what I wanted to, but how could I edit the editor? This time, its actually funny to see that Pri has written so much and DJ so little...

I will always remember this for Priyangini's one-liners she kept adding after editing every episode. After doing one final editing, she used to do every episode and mail it across to me. Each one would hv something or the other. Some funny ones were - 'what is this obsession with heroine's hair' (if u notice, Mamta's hair keeps coming lose at every other instance;-) ) And then inadvertently i wud make Mamta wear a 'red shawl' - Priyangini's comment ' koi aur shawl nahi hai isske paas kya?' There are many more such instances, difficult to write them here, but the one-liners were really interesting, funny and amusing to read. There were lot of silly mistakes that she caught on - eg satyawan was conceived after Mamta-Sudhanshu's closeness, hence he had to be born 'premature', but originally i missed that ... also, Sudhanshu's reason of death was forgotten by me... then, the years had to be worked on, to match with history.

And then he added...

Just a vain pompous thought - I was reading my own story WTHMTE today morning - as ever cant believe I wrote all that! While writing it seems i m in some sort of drugged state where the words simply flow and only jab nasha utarta hai i realise ke itna kuchh likh diya :-)

To ab jaldi se ja kar padho ise yahan pe, for voting starts soon!

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

The third nomination

The fourth nomination is perhaps the only mushy story DJ has written. Kind of Mills and Boon meets Yash Chopra. There are portions of this story shamelessly lifted out of Sons Of Fortune, and even DJ admits as much! Read on...

"Again, thanks to Kaush that Naman Geeta got written. Ok, if she can forgive me, lemme just tell u that the way Naman and Geeta meet is nearly the same way she met her Punju man :-D On YM, i wud keep asking tidbits from her dates, and those got added in the story ;-)) But the biggest surprise (and even she didnt know about it till it got published) - during one such chat she told me about an SMS that her knight had sent her. Immd. I knew that it would be Naman's last sentence... the 'rainbow' dialogue was that one.

Initially, i wanted to write out the film 'Khushi' but readers caught on early, so had to change it from the next episode onwards. Very tough. Because to get inspired or pick up the story progression clue, I even ended up reading Jeffrey Archer's Sons of Fortune all over again! :-

Once, while walking back towards home, I kept playing the last scene in my mind, complete with a background music ... I was nearly running, coz I wanted to reach home and write the full story to reach the climax that was on my mind's screen. Later, that same walk route was converted to Naman's walk back home on New Year's Eve.

The 'Nagarkot' scene was thought of while reading Ashish's TPOL. I always felt that in that story there shud hv been a Shimla scene. While reading Ashish's story I visualised that scene - hero darwaza kholta hai, heroine is semi-naked etc etc. Used it as soon as i got opportunity :-)

Got 300 plus comments - my largest ever. How can i ever miss this story! I still recall Prabha, a reader getting hyper at the growing comments on the story he he"

See, thats a rare occasion where a writer admits to taking inspiration... and naming the source as well... so what does the other inspiration, Kaush have to say about reading her own story?

"You know DJ right? The types where every thing is hunky dory and then all of a sudden, the last line is a jhatka???? yea...so audience ne yeh bahot dekh liya...toh fir I thought Yash Chopra ne aaj tak thriller toh nahi banaya..par apna DJ can make a true, nice, sweet, love story! It did take a while to coax him..a bit of nudging, hinting, and even nagging sometimes...and then talked to him about me and my B..i guess that helped him visualize what he was gonna do! I hadnt read much of it when he posted it and the first episode felt like that movie Khushi..but then again, he managed to do a marvellous job..yash chopra ki thriller shayad flop ho jaati..but DJ did it!"

I liked the story when I first read it, and I read it again a few days back. Well, DJ had said it seems corny now, but I disagree with him.... What about you?

Thursday, March 16, 2006

The second Nomination

This post introduces not one, but two stories. Why is that? Well, after reading the last nomination, which had to be split into two parts, its only apt that two stories be put up back together. After all, we are so used to long stories. Right?

So, the second nomination is a story that had upset me a lot when I read it. I generally don't like stories with tragic ends, but this one was so close to life, that I could actually feel the faces of the protagonists staring out the screen when I read it. As for the author, the story is very close to his heart, one that he was saving for his book. Why is that, you ask? Read on...

Indraprash is a story that scares me, and makes me cry. The central two characters are based on my parents, and picked up from their routine. Even I write these lines, I get goosebumps, ke aisa kabhi ho na...I m too scared, and sometimes feel that i shouldnt hv written this tale. It was written at a particularly very low phase of life - professionally and personally. Two stories came on together-Suryakiran and this one. Sadly, the response on the blog was just about okayish, though it crossed hundred comments. I was clearly expecting more, but i guess the readers prefer happy endings :-) That time, I used to like writing these melancholic ended stories. Still like to, but am now bowing to audience wish more:-D

And that is evident, for the next nomination is a crisp story. It spans about ten minutes, and doesn't take that long to read, but it does provoke a deep thought - How many times have you made vows and broken them? How many times did you do something that you knew was wrong and what did it take to stop you? Well, I thought of this when I read the story today. What did you think when you read The Morning After?

A 'ladies special' - umm, written during office hours :-) Wanted to pen just a piece on a hangover, but converted into a story when the climax flashed through the mind. Honestly, I hv traits of an MCP, but never been one fully. So the ending seemed just right to me as well - dramatically and morally. It got great accolades, esp from the female readers ;-))

Okkkk, so read them here.

Till the next nomination, take care!

Friday, March 10, 2006

The first nomination

The first nomination is the story that was called a hit even before it ended. It drew comparisons with Dan Brown's Angels and Demons and I am sure DJ must've burst with happiness upon reading it. Yeah, I am talking about Independence Day. Here is what DJ has to say about it:

Apart from the sheer bulk, this story is favorite due to the immense research that went into it. It's the first time that I actually visited a location to get the real first hand feel to incorporate in the narration (the museum), and browsed through many sites to get Nepal's history correct. In this story, I used my friendship to the fullest- I simply gave Kaush a brief on what i wanted in terms of North Carolina's geography and her dental office, and allowed her to send me a word file on the same. After that I picked up whatever I wanted. Ashish's help was not only tremendous but pivotal. Again, I just gave a brief, and he devised a bomb that could suit my story.

Funny thing- the chats which Ashish and I used to have at that time. I would go 'Sirji, mera bomb kab bhej rahe ho' or 'arre, lekin india gate ke upar yeh bomb kaise chalega'- if someone had overhead that, they would think some international terrorist organisation was at work ;-p

Ashish unfortunately was unable for comment, but a lot of you would remember the story and a special appearance by a blogger. This is what our Guest star Dr. Kaush says about I-Day:

How did I come into Independence Day? Well, DJ was itching to write again... and he had a written a piece... I think he was inspired after reading Dan Brown and wanted to accomplish something much bigger than all his previous stories. He showed me the first few lines and I got all excited! I always do when he says he is writing! He said this was going to be a thriller...we talked about how things would happen and what should be included and what not. Also, on the side he had been talking to Ashish about it and getting a lot of input. So I threw an idea that ladka NRI hi hai toh usko NC main rakho... i know a lot about north carolina... i sent him some pictures and some info about airport, flight details to india, timing shiming, company names, did background research _ it sounds like a lot but it was really nothing... and then I forced him to promise me that I would be in the story... turns out, he managed to fit me in! hahaha.. we were just brainstorming and I THINK i was just saying aah you could put in a dentist character and then I used my dream of workin in forensics to cook something up and he gave words to my imagination! the office he described was what I want my future office to be ! and then I went off to India and could not read it when he was posting it on his blog .. i also had a copy of it but did not get a chance to read it for a loong time!
How did I feel when I read it?
Well, I already knew the basic plot... so there was no suspense, and I knew what was gonna happen..but when I read it..i was amazed at how well he had actually made the final product! How he manages to tie all ends together at the end is beyond me! I was glad to "see" myself in a guest appearance of course and was also glad that everyone liked it...because DJ had indeed put a lot of hard work into it!

Well, now that you've read all about Independence Day, go on and read the story here. Do remember that you cannot comment on the contest blog yet, so feel free to use the comment box on this page. The next nomination will be up soon. Till then, happy reading!

Monday, March 06, 2006

A contest...

He is the man whom blogsville loves... His stories are super duper hits and their mere announcement is enough to create a flurry akin to a Yash Chopra / Karan Johar release! Yeah I am talking about none other than Deepak Jeswal (or DJ as we call him) whom all of us have voted as the best storyteller at Blogeratti!

One day I read his blog and looked at the impressive (and envious) list of stories on the sidebar... that set me thinking... which one of these is my fav? Couldn't zero in on one and so like any other true blue marketeer, I decided to take an opinion poll!

So here it is....

My Favorite story by DJ contest

The rules are pretty simple. DJ has chosen five of his fav stories. Meera, already a chosen winner is not among them. In the coming days, on this very page, you'll read sound bytes straight from the horses errrrr DJ's mouth. He talks about all the stories and why they are close to his heart. This will be accompanied by posting of the nominations on the contest blog.


Once all the stories are posted, you need to vote. The story with the max votes wins the title of

The Fav story by DJ

Ok, so how do you cast votes? The nominations will be declared (one by one) on the contest blog and you will be given time to read each of them. In this period, you will not be able to comment on the contest blog. (Any comments or gyaan that you guys wanna share with us, or tell an anecdote related to the story… feel free to rant here ppl!) Only after all the nominations are declared, can you start commenting. You need to vote for the story by commenting in the comment section after each story. Your vote should say, "This is My Fav Story by DJ". Simple? Yeah, but do remember that:

1) You can comment only once on each story. If there are two comments on one story by the same person, the vote gets nullified.
2) Since the competition is tough and the selection is difficult, each person can vote for two stories. But that’s it. If you try to vote for more than two, then all your votes will be nullified.

So take that cuppa coffee and get set to read the nominations!

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Bright colours and words of wisdom....

Got this image in a good morning mail from a friend.... just loved the bright colours!

And as my campaign moves on, I believe in these words more and more...

Responsibility, without authority is ineffective,
Authority, without responsibility is dangerous!
whaddaya say?