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caferati
A collaboration over too much coffee.
coffee and pen

21 December, 2004

Nyah-na-na-na-na!

The sunset was awesome, and we witnessed it silently, marveling at how caferati has grown from an idea on a lazy afternoon in one head to meetings of like minds across six cities (and growing every month!), an opinionated well-read group that converses and exercises online, a publishing effort that has four hundred plus stories waiting to be judged, a blog that is so active it changes shape every passing hour, sponsors who want more from us, and dreams and visions that suddenly seem to be coming together...

This read meet was different! So different, we have been promised an article and a picture in the next week's issue of Tehelka, the newspaper.

This time the meet was small, but oh, what a meet! The reporter from Tehelka (another of Sunil's bright ideas) was there to find out more about the Stories At The Coffee Table project. She found out that this was more than just what she suspected, it was not a mere effort to get published! It was the face of something that has never been attempted before. An effort to make a dent in the system! The views flew across the room with such brilliance and speed, we had to slow it down with coffee! Everything from,"Whoever says short stories are not marketable has not seen the four hundred entries to SATCT!" to "As long as the corporate sponsor respects our editorial judgments how does it matter what the color of his money is?" to "Did you know who was interested in becoming editor of our next book!" to "maybe we should make it a full-scale production!" was discussed.

Needless to say it was turning out to be more meet than read, but those who missed it, missed a wonderful session of dream weaving. Dreamers who have their heads in clouds and feet firmly planted in reality. I hope the photographer had large enough lenses to cover the breadth of our dreams!

And now that I am writing about it (waited for Max or John to write the report in their inimitable style, but General Pete's orders, what to do!), I am so glad I did not miss this! John read out a piece previously published about a boys' first crush on Shobha teacher. Although it made for a great listen, I would be less than honest if I did not admit that I was distracted (and so were all of us) at some point or the other into thinking about the Shobha teacher in our own lives.

The discussion that followed was very helpful to the rest of us: the whys and hows of when 'description' becomes 'exposition', how one could 'show' character development rather than 'say' it.

Max read...yes...Max was in Mumbai for work and he could not miss the meet! That's the amazing part of Caferati, methinks. No matter which city we are from, we belong! Max was not carrying print-outs of his story, but had a CD! My laptop behaved as though demented and it took General Pete himself to tame it. Max created a great portrait of a picky landlord with rooms to rent. He made us chuckle, made us grimace, made us nod in agreement...It was as good as Max's poetry!

Max allowed us comment and we had a lively discussion about the use of adjectives in a narrative. (If that sounds like a dull classroom, I apologise for my pathetic reporting style!)

Arjun Chandramohan Bali read his color piece. The reading style suddenly and sharply brought into focus the person behind the piece. He related how being a film director helped him create a writing style. The conversation just flowed from there. Creating pictures for the reader, what an effort! Arjun seemed to be grinning happily into his moustache until the discussion veered him into defending use of expletives and other devices! The clever writer had even incorporated colour (from the message board exercise) into the name of the character in his piece.

Peter asked 'prose or poetry?' The unanimous answer was 'poetry'! We are treated to the sawaal jawaab that has seen the Peter Griffin and Annie Zaidi Fan Club grow to the tribe that you have all seen on the blog. Two writers, in two different cities, have managed to create such a wonderful saga that one is reduced to an inarticulate sputter of 'wow'. Am I glad to be in such august company. Sunil voiced out what most of us felt: this sawaal jawaab was turning out to be very very visual and dramatic...could we stage it?!

No one noticed when the reporter escaped the animated bunch to file her story (she did make one comment though: you have how many such amazing people in your group?) No one cared how long this meet went on! But it dissolved into vadas and sambaar and cake and more coffee!

Personally I loved the intimate nature of this meet, but cannot forget the variety in the last meet when we actually had to keep an eye on reading time, moderate the discussion and the thirty plus gathered, and someone with lots of school experience behind her had to shepherd people away! Before I sign off, I want to apologise to someone called to ask, "So how was the meet?" and got just a childish "Nyah-na-na-na-na!" from me.

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6 Comments:

Blogger jivay said...

To your
nyaah nyaahs
I add my two bit
waaanh waaanhs...

That night
for caferati
I did pine...
Now today
I can
only whigne...

Boohoo booohooo hooo....!
Vijay

21 December, 2004 12:12  
Blogger Sweta Samota said...

Seems I missed a lot of Caferati out there!
-Sweta

21 December, 2004 13:59  
Blogger Anil said...

Manisha..you make me regret not being able to attend a read-meet.This makes me want to put in an extra effort to attend one when I'm in India next month. A beautiful piece of reporting....its nice to see Caferati going places!

21 December, 2004 14:45  
Blogger John said...

Manisha, I don't have words to express how kind you are! Having us a bunch of nuts, and making us seem like geniuses!

That shows the power of your dainty finger tips on your compact laptop.

Great reporting. I was looking forward to your report and you didn't disappoint!

J

21 December, 2004 14:54  
Blogger Max Babi said...

Manisha,
I am blushing.
I guess I'll have to write a report
from my perspective, and to thank you
for being so kind too.
Cheers !

21 December, 2004 22:36  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

manisha ji,
you are most kind. you can make grown men cry!
teri to...%#&*+
;o)


arjun

22 December, 2004 21:17  

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