Sunday, March 25, 2012

DD's Travel Writing Bus - 2

After a string of emails and a few phone calls, about half the original group from the Travel Writing Workshop decided to meet. A Facebook group was floated too, but it got a bit lost after the initial excitement. The actual enthusiasm of the people involved, however, was still very much alive. When we were told that the Mcubed Library was unavailable for our meet-up on Sunday (18th March 2012), one of the participants - PD - offered her home in Thane for the same. @culturelites, @gauravraikar and I made the necessary phone calls to check the final number. Turns out about 14 of us would make it. Super! 

I had decided to take the train from Kurla, along with @AnOddYellow and @loneladysherpa. These two ladies met me at the station's booking counter. Long queue as usual. Worse, the megablock was also on, so there were fewer trains that Sunday. We got into a Titwala* Slow and were subjected to a full body massage in the ladies compartment, all the while being pushed from one side of the doorway to the other. But it hardly mattered to us. My fellow travellers were surprisingly chirpy and even started a sort of a sing-and-dance routine *inside* the train. @loneladysherpa, who loves the songs from Saathiya, was hoping Viveik Oberoi would appear out of nowhere. Alas, that didn't happen. 

Finally, Thane station descended upon us. We had arrived. First, a quick stop at a juice stall to soothe our parched throats (the Bombay summer's here at last!) and then being amazed at how quick the rickshaw queue moved... We were soon at PD's home welcomed by kokam sherbet and a splendid lunch. What a talented cook she is! In the midst of conversation, DD told us how the idea of telling a story is important. The medium may differ, but writing is the most challenging of them all as it needs to re-create the scene for the reader.

And then he proceeded to his four key points:
1. Find a story.
2. Tell the story well. Make the characters in it interesting.
3. Make connections in the story. Nothing in the world exists in isolation.
4. You've got to sweat the details.

A quick exercise followed where we had to silently pick a person in the room, and write a few lines about him/her without mentioning who it was. The others had to guess who we had written about. Quite a thought-provoking exercise. Then all those who did the writing assignment read out their respective pieces. We were asked to write something that connected two different travel experiences. I had racked my brain really hard at this, had come up with a very vague idea, but struggled  and then wrote it out in last-minute panic mode at 2am that same day. The next post will contain my piece.
Strawberry Kulfi & Chocolate Cake

Each reading was followed by feedback from the rest of the group like before. We heard about the travails of packing for Scotland and laughed at the obsession for gas cylinders in Mumbai; on the connect between cows of Switzerland and Haridwar and how travel helps create memories; from a crazy tetris-like train ride to an Indian feeling at home in farawary San Remo and about the economics of tiger tourism. Even about being a 'Jain foodie' (go, figure that!). Diverse, yet enlightening.

A treat of fabulous desserts - chocolate cake and strawberry kulfi made by our lovely hostess - enlivened our session further, while rich brownies brought by MM, another participant, rounded off a Sunday well spent.

A big THANK YOU to all who came. I've learnt so much with every interaction. Hope to see you all next month again.

*Must find out why Titwala is called so.

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