Poet, Author, Editor, Creative Writing Consultant

Friday, September 2, 2011

Return Encounters of the Class Kind

I am writing this after a long time, have had several classes in between but somehow had not felt like putting it all down, maybe it was just that I was so busy completing my novel. It is done. I am happy, and taking a breather, not thinking about the next stepping stone yet: you got it, the publsihing of the novel!
Meanwhile, to saner things.

The class was back again to being interesting. Good turnout, and the airconditioning  on full to kill all hot and humid feelings from the flesh. What was hot and churning was the brain. The topic for the day was dialogue writing, and there was much to be discussed here. The initial exercise was of a mother telling her 14 year old son or daughter to change his/her clothes which she considered unsuitable and the child’s reaction. This was to be in the form of a dialogue. Some responses were more narration than dialogue, one lady misunderstood it to be a father telling the child off, but apart from such gaffes the exercise had its high points. There was a story of how a girl refuses to take her dupatta to cover her head in the gurdwara, saying she will pick up a scarf at the place instead(a compromise of sorts but also getting her way), another one where the child accepts  being left behind at home rather than change her clothes. In another tale, the child is told  that even though he thinks he looks like Farhan Akhtar dressed for the Tomatino Fair in Spain, such an outfit would not go down well for a grandparent’s birthday party. Here,the mother tells the son he looks like a Holocaust Survivor while he thinks he looks like a film star. She also says that his outfit would not go well with her kanjeevaram saree, so it was a funny one, this one. In four out of ten stories, there was talk of ‘banging doors’ in anger as people stomped out or into their rooms. So we had a discussion on the banging of doors and someone said that in her house they cannot bang doors, and someone said his dog bangs the door for them, another said if the door banged, the walls would fall, and so on. ;)

We then did an exercise where one of the girls, a 9th class student , wearing tight jeans and strappy purple sandals, braces and spectacles, and hair in pony tails, was made to stand in a Shringar Mudra pose (which she learnt as a student of kathak), and 2 of the paritcipants were asked to walk in the garden (imaginative), and chance upon this sculpture. They had to  comment on this ‘sculpture’ supposedly placed in the middle of the garden. The comments were funny to say the least, they were astounded at this post-modernist piece of art with the girl dressed in jeans and adopting a 'shingar' pose.(one hand holding a mirror in front of the face, the other hand putting a mark on her forehead, one leg bent behind the other and a hip stuck out). Then each one wrote the dialogue down as their version, as they thought it would happen, and once again we had some good pieces. There was a conversation between a hip- hop dancer guy in the US who found the statue yuck and funny and not dressed as it should be. He was with and Indian  girl named Shakuntala, called ‘Shat ‘for short , (I squirmed at this),who thought that the hip-hop guy should appreciate a dance form since he was a dancer, even though the dance form (kathak) is not known to him.

We then went into the nitty grity of dialogue writing, the punctuations etc., and this the class found to be a real learning experience. They were busy noting down the points and getting their doubts clarified.

The next class was equally interesting, but that is another story!

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