​Terribly Tiny Tales – Writing workshops that knock on the heart

TTT – a tale of its beginning

It was a sickeningly hot summer afternoon when I had to pry myself away from the oasis of my home and travel in the deadly Delhi heat to give my friend K some company. She had invited me to a writing workshop conducted by the famed Terribly Tiny Tales (TTT), and I must say I was intrigued. All I knew about TTT were those short stories etched digitally on a black background that had won hearts on social media. No wonder TTT call themselves the ‘world’s most celebrated micro-fiction platform’.

The workshop had a huge attendance. People kept trooping in well past the scheduled time and everyone had to scooch over to make more space. It was held right next to the bar at Hyjack Restaurant & Bar. Such a heavenly concept. Not that I indulged in a bit of a tipple, but immensely enjoyed the notion that I could. Every time I’d get bored of host Joel Thatton’s face, I could turn and reboot myself. Which wasn’t often. The chief curator of the TTT app had us transfixed on his session.

Got a seat with the bar in my line of sight

One thing that made me very happy was that the workshop started on time. For a person who almost always ends up waiting for friends and family alike, witnessing an event start on time gave me goosebumps.

So many people!

The workshop kicked off with a brief introduction from Joel, who walked us through the art of writing–for TTT–really well that afternoon. He began by asking how many identified themselves as writers, and then proceeded to question those who said no. Everyone can write. With patience, dedication, practice, and skill. TTT, which encourages varied stories from all walks of life, covering a range of emotions and ideas, can truly be seen as an enabler of writing.

Joel, armed with a power point presentation, underscored the many facets of writing, of the necessity to be relatable to our readers, spinning stories with some craft and adding a surprise element somewhere. It always goes a long way to be remembered in the minds of readers. With the age being one of information overload, it’s not just necessary to know what to consume and what not to, but to promote the information in the right manner.

Writing Tips
One great tip Joel shared was to catch hold of writing prompts from everyday life. To be quiet and observe other people, notice their actions, their facial expressions, to try to eavesdrop on conversations in the metro, and most times one cannot help overhearing personal conversations between people.

Word associations also help a lot. This is true with me. Whenever I am stuck at a point, or suffering writer’s block, word associations or associating various words with one, take me off on a tangent and most times I nosedive into an inspiration. Take ‘rain’ for example. It’s not just about nature or a life process, but related to ecology or sadness or romance, or something completely imaginative. The choice is yours.

We were encouraged to work on some examples, and even submit on the TTT app. Here’s one of mine that I submitted. The prompt was ‘I finally opened the door’.

I finally opened the door.
But a strong invisible force swung it shut.
Your time has not yet come, a booming voice spoke.
Sometimes, some doors are not meant to be opened.

Of course it’s clichéd and nothing out of the ordinary, but the thing is, I don’t practice much when it comes to writing different formats. You’d be surprised what we can achieve with a little practice. The above example is a 140 format. Post this exercise, Joel explained two more – the ‘short story’ and ‘open letter’. While the short story was interesting, the ‘open letter’ got me thinking. I don’t know why I had never thought of trying my hand at this, and just this once, I want to give it a shot. Hopefully, I’ll have something to share with you by next month.

Workshop in progress

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Explore more often

While I may be in the age of the millenials, I still have a stubborn side to me, the old-school idiot. Growing up on a steady diet of novels, to witness micro-fiction become a rage, and not just that, turn into a profitable organisation is quite a feat. And taking it ten steps forward, TTT is creating a whole, new community around it. With their app, they intend to not just cultivate a growing audience, but encourage writing even from those who have stories to tell but are unable to put them into words.

​Also, with their app, on chic black background, TTT through their workshops are nurturing a community that shares numerous stories, and with due consistency in submission and garnering traction on the app from other members, they curate it on their feed. It’s a smart way to not just nudge people into writing, but also share stories from all over the world for over twelve million readers.
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Sushi eating competition – What was I thinking?

​We’ve all seen at least one episode of Man Vs Food, where Adam can be seen taking on insane challenges to wipe his plate clean in a very short window of time. I always wondered what I’d do if I were ever in his place. Would I win?
Of course I wouldn’t. It’s now crystal clear. My first ever tryst in a food competition, well, let’s just say I lost royally. My good friend R told me about the sushi eating competition at Guppy in Lodhi Colony. Naïve as I was, I thought why ever not? Guppy was the restaurant where my initiation into Japanese cuisine took place, where I had tasted my first sushi, nibbled on enoki mushrooms for the first time, and sipped sake like I knew I wanted to the rest of my life. I love Guppy. And so, on International Sushi Day, over fifteen people came together, ranging from primary school kids to parents, partaking in this celebration of the traditional Japanese meal.

The competition was simple. An assorted platter of sushi had to be completed by each participant, and the one who did it in the least amount of time was named the winner. IF I had known the winner was to get a bottle of sake, I would have swallowed the entire plate whole. Alas, I lost my way, and instead started to pig out on the delicious rolls in a dream-like haze. I particularly remember one with slivers of mango. So refreshing. Also, getting to enjoy a plate full of sushi at just 500 rupees seemed like a steal.

Among the various types of sushi was the uramaki sushi, the ‘inside out’ maki roll. One was with mango. The ‘Battera sushi’ was also included, and the diced cubed versions were pressed into perfection. Alas, I was so stuffed I had to leave behind the nigiri. While it broke my heart to do that, I just couldn’t finish them.

I just love the play of colours at Guppy

The best part of the competition was its participants. Of course the platter was delicious, and the chefs had taken immense pains to put this together. Each and every piece had to be created minutes before the competition began. It’s not something that can be cooked hours beforehand, but has to be prepared just before serving. All hands must’ve been on deck. Most of the participants weren’t connoisseurs of sushi, but now they would appreciate it better. Such events bring us closer to interesting experiences and help us broaden our palates, minds, and our horizons.

All in all I’m glad I went for the competition and did not stick my lazy ass at home to watch The X-Files. I may not have won the first prize, or the runner-up, but I surely enjoyed myself to the hilt.
PS: Apologies for the dingy pictures. I wish I had a fancier smartphone.

Doofus Diaries – A Photography Challenge 

So earlier this year, I had made a really long laundry list of things to do, places to see, books to read and food to eat as part of a resolution for the year ahead. Completing a photography challenge was one of them. It took me six months to actually get down to doing it, and I must say, a month-long challenge made me introspect more, going through my pictures or daily clicking everyday pictures around me made me ‘stop and stare’. If only for a while. And it helped me appreciate and be grateful for what I had.

 

I chose Instagram as my medium of choice considering pictures would be the main showcase. Here are some of the images I put up, the ones I love the most.

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The Connaught

Glitzy streets and neon signs, psychedelic showroom windows and bustling crowds, Connaught Place emits quite the fashionable aura post sundown. It took me almost four years to land a job in the heart of city, and I am ever so happy. The centre of bustle, a choice shopping location, ample bars and restaurants, packed with happening sights and locales, and at stone’s throw distance from most areas, working in Connaught Place is very eventful.

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Hostel memories

My favourite corner

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