I am a fan of Pixar’s storytelling style. I don’t know if you have ever read their famous 22 rules of storytelling? If you have not, you must. Some of the tips are really super useful to newbies like me who are fascinated enough by the magic to want to be a magician. But for now one has to be grateful that I am getting to read the magician’s book of spells before he returns. I make a quick note of rule number 2 in the Book of Spells.
Apple and Samsung trade charges of intellectual property infringement. But you have never heard of anyone stealing the culture of another company. Culture is a proprietary secret that is hard to hide because every employee knows what it is. Yet, even after you know everything about a company’s culture, it is impossible to replicate.
The shelf marked Indian Fiction has been a comparatively recent happening. The list of Indian authors is growing. One could argue that the authors who write in English have had a little more visibility. Translations to English are getting popular. It is fair to say that the great Indian middle class has taken to writing and getting published in a big way. That’s a terrific thing to happen. The world […]
The story finds mind space amidst the clutter of data and information like the toddler who finds a space to play even in a crowded train. Everyone likes a good story. No one likes information and chunks of data thrown at them. People want that information to be conveyed in a manner that will linger on long after. You heard the story of the hare and the tortoise years back, […]
We have all grown up in a world that clearly values rationality and rational behavior. Being emotional was frowned upon. Whenever someone displays emotions in public view it makes news (Think of Maradona’s expressions as the team played and lost) and the world turns its cameras to look at the person who just “lost it”. When I studied Science in school, I was told by my teacher that if there was something that cannot be explained by Science it was not worth knowing and that it was obviously irrational. Such was the vehemence with which I was nudged towards being rational. As I grew to develop my own view of the world, I got fascinated by the limitations of rationality. Rational stuff had a logical sequence and clearly activated that part of my brain that I had difficulty accessing. You try this one and you got to do this real quick: A bat and a ball cost $1.10 in total. The bat costs a dollar more than the ball. How much does the ball cost?
Write down your answer. If you said that the ball costs 10c, then you are part of the majority. That is the good news. The bad news is that the correct answer is 5c. Shane Frederick, Prof at MIT Sloan posed this question to more than 3,000 students at eight different universities. Fewer than half gave the correct answer. The trick is to not go by your instinct which gives the wrong answer, but to take a second more and reflect on it. Shane has developed a 3 question test – that question is one of the three – that can be almost as accurate in predicting characteristics that other tests like the SAT, ACT, or the Wonderlic Personnel Test. He also found that those who do well on the cognitive reflection test tend to be more patient in decisions between smaller sooner rewards and larger later rewards. They are also more willing to gamble in financial domains.
It is truly a magical moment when you read the manuscript and suddenly feel that there is nothing more left to add or to take away. If you add stuff you will feel the need to trim the fat and you cannot take away a single word without leaving gaps in the mind of the reader. It is that moment when you feel the most self-confident. You are ready to take the book to a publisher.
Abhijit Bhaduri, Human Resources (HR) director of Microsoft India, has chosen to spin his novels around the HR profession rather than any particular industry. A graduate of XLRI, Bhaduri set his first novel, Mediocre But Arrogant, in the ‘Management Institute of Jamshedpur’ , from where his hero graduates to land his first job in HR.
His second book, Married But Available is about the protagonist’s early years in Balwanpur Industries, an Indian company that’s been taken over by a multinational. The book is sprinkled with HR gyan and Bhaduri, who has worked with Tata Steel, Colgate and Pepsico, says it gives his characters credibility: “The professional and personal lives of my characters aren’t separate, they’re wholly meshed.”
Yes, all the stories are based in Assam. Although now I have lived more than half my life outside Assam, I found when I began to write I returned to the landscape of my childhood, of my origin, as if it were the most natural thing to do. Place, for me, is a powerful influence; it shapes and moulds a person in a way at once subtle yet all pervading. The landscape of Assam is for me the landscape of affection, of memories; against its wide sweep of misty blue hills and majestic river most of my family’s lives (and mine) have played out and that is where I wanted to set my stories.