The writing workshop conducted by Jugal Mody was on the third day of the Lit. Fest. Jan 21st .We were told by the organizers to 'Be There' at 9 'Sharp':) Sitting in Amchi Mumbai 9 sharp doesn’t sound like an ungodly hour. We are the people who catch 7.52 super fast.
So on the cold morning of 21st, in the Pink City of Jaipur where even the sun was reluctant to show his face before ten, Rashmi Dhanwani and I marched to Diggi palace- the venue for the workshop. And I am glad we did.
The workshop was planned for anyone above the age of 18. The number of participants was limited to 25 and there were a few complaints about it, as the response to the workshop has been so tremendous that the management had to turn away lot of people. Jugal wanted to keep the number small so there could be time for interaction and feed back. Finally, extra participants were allowed to join, and the final count was 32. I could see a few familiar faces of other caferatii .
We all sat there, huddled under our sweaters and shawls waiting for our esteemed moderator to start.
Jugal- the moderator explained to the participants that he was not planning to teach them anything , but share with them a method of thinking which will help them to write better.
And we launched into the workshop.
For next two hours, we followed the moderator’s directions, pencils flying all over our papers, read aloud for every one to critique. Slowly even shy one lost their stage fear and opened up. The suggestions and comments were flying all around and Jugal running from person to person with the mic in his hand got a good work out. After a while people stopped waiting for their turn or the mic and started giving their comments eagerly. The atmosphere was charged with an excitement of the participants who were discovering that they could write. The moderator had made writing seem easy :)
There were all levels of writers. From skilled ones who had obviously done some writing before, to the very fresh ones, who were still discovering thrill of putting their thoughts on paper.
By now people had started walking in to watch what was happening. A few of them pulled paper and pen out of their bag and joined in. One of them was a French lady who had written her exercises in French but obligingly read it in English for our benefit.
After following up on all the exercises, everyone realized that what we had in our hands was a complete story. All day long I kept meeting these participants on the fest grounds. They now smiled at me like old friends, we had shared something fun an enjoyable.
The workshop ROCKED. Like everyone else, I too am planning to hold on to my notes on the exercises. There is a story in there.