Wait till I tell you

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It was the year 1992. At the end of a very difficult and challenging first year, in School of Architecture, A’bad, I went to Calcutta, in summer vacation, a bit unsure and apprehensive of what the future held for me in my career. [That I went on to later achieve a gold-medal in my final year and establish a successful practice, is a different story altogether.] I had visited the Indian Museum there and saw a lot of struggling artists arduously sketching the sculptures on display. That gave me immense reassurance and moral strength, that like them I would finally make it in the profession of my choosing. I decided that in future, if I do any social service or philanthropy it will be for artists in any field of art: literature, theater, drawing and painting.

One such dream seems to be finally coming true. I have got together upcoming authors from all over India, and have teamed up with Moment’s Publication, to publish a collection of their stories and poetry. It is a non-commercial self-publishing venture with the sole purpose being to encourage people to write.

The authors are of different age-groups from around 20 different cities in India. The stories span a wide spectrum of genres from Love, Romance, Mystery, Suspense, Fantasy, Horror, LGBT, Slice of Life to Folktale retold. The authors include seasoned writers who have previously published their own books, to authors published in various anthologies, to many authors who are being published for the first time.

What started as an ambitious ‘editing’ exercise, made me realize that if I put in lots of my inputs and words in the stories, they would lose the voice of the author. So after some rigorous initial editing, I became lenient. I have let some author’s work retain much of its original charm, like some college love stories, which are written in much detail by the authors who have had these first hand experiences. Mostly towards the end of this collection are stories that have remained untouched. Similarly Pearl Shah our youngest author studying in standard three, has penned two beautiful stories, that are maybe, full of continuity errors or plainly written. I have intentionally let them remain in their original form to a large extent, as improvising them would strangle them of their naive charm.

I would like to thank a few people who helped me during this journey. First of all my family who believed in me, and let me take time off my professional commitments to pursue my passion, without doubting my creative endeavour, “Wait Till I Tell You”.

Secondly co-authors like Shilpa Pitroda, Debolina Coomar, Geeta C. Yadav, Tulika Saha, Ranjana Tripathi, Ravindra Singh Thakur and Dhruv Sharma, who helped me in one way or other, from putting up posts on Facebook, to making posters, to reviewing the stories and giving suggestions. I see it as a total group exercise.

Lastly I would like to thank Suraya Dewing of New Zealand for having mentored me for almost a year in story writing. A part of the title story ‘Wait Till I Tell You’, was first published on her website TheStoryMint.com. The end story in it (about lady from the sea) was suggested by Ashutosh Shukla, which was based on a drama “Saagargheli” written by his father Late Shri Yashwant Shukla. And of course a big ‘Thank You’ to the publisher Mr. Prashant Gandhi, who taught me quite a few things about publishing.

We have stories all around us, many of them eagerly waiting to be told. “Wait Till I Tell You” is a collection of such offbeat and unusual tales. It is a banquet of a variety of delicacies waiting to be savoured, which will delight the palette of the reader, who will be left asking for more.

Vatsal Shah

30/03/2017

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