Storytalking with Lakshya
Storytalking with LakshyaJan 22, 2022
"This is not a love story"
It's been a short while since my latest limited audio-series "Silsila Ye Chaahat Ka" ended, so in this episode of Storytalking With Lakshya (#119) I give you a spoiler-filled breakdown of how that story and podcast came together! Also I might have teased my next podcast in this one. I'm writing this description a couple days after recording it so I'm not sure.
"You are a character in my story"
Writing dialogue is my thing. Monologues are a lot of fun, and that's where all my recent podcast work has gone due to external factors, but writing two people talking is my first love. And the thing about writing two voices talking to each other is that I know they're both coming from my head, but they don't know that. To them, they're real people with real and often opposing feelings. So how do you turn voices in your head into real people who know themselves just like you know yourself?
That's what I talk about in this episode of Storytalking (#118). If you have any questions about writing and stuff, you know how to find me!
"How does the end begin?"
I have two creative voices - the English Lakshya, and the Hindi Lakshya. For the past year, the Hindi voice has been really active, leaving the English voice dormant and feeling neglected, which drove him straight into a writer’s block. He’s back now, and he has a story to tell. About how he got his voice back - and it has something to do with... a romance with endings.
That’s what I talk about in this episode - the first episode of season 4 of Storytalking With Lakshya. If you have an answer to my question, you know where to find me.
"We're hoping for fiction"
"How do you go from hopeless to hopeful?"
2020 has been unexpected. The unexpected, by nature, comes unannounced. Isn't that hope's shtick too?
In the season 3 finale of 'Storytalking with Lakshya' (#116), I recap some of the planned vs unexpected things that happened this year, along with some behind-the-mic stories from writing and recording my lockdown audio-series "Tumne Kisi Se Kabhi Pyaar Kiya Hai?" and "Pal Bhar Ke Liye Koi Humhe Pyaar Karle". Happy new year listeners, and I wish you hope for 2021!
"Love is understanding"
"Kisi ko poora samajhna hai, shayad yahi pyaar hai". This episode of Storytalking with Lakshya (#115) is the end of this mini-BTS-series about "Tumne Kisi Se Kabhi Pyaar KIya Hai?" - and in this one I tell you all about the process behind the last 3 episodes the show, and I also reflect back on what this journey has been like. Plus, some teasers about season 2!
"Love is unnecessary"
"Pyaar bekaar hai." In this episode of Storytalking With Lakshya (#114), I continue to break down the plot and process behind select episodes of my ongoing audio-series "Tumne Kisi Se Kabhi Pyaar Kiya Hai?" (all episodes of season 1 now streaming on JioSaavn). This episode covers parts 13 to 18 of the show. I also use sports analogies and talk about time travel and multiple choice questions.
"Love is an illusion"
Hear-ye hear-ye, in this episode of Storytalking With Lakshya (#113), I continue to break down the plot and process behind select episodes of my ongoing audio-series "Tumne Kisi Se Kabhi Pyaar Kiya Hai?" (which is currently playing exclusively on JioSaavn). This episode covers parts 7 to 12 of the show. Do not listen to this if you haven't heard them yet!
"Love is a long story"
Back after 8 weeks to give you episode #112 of Storytalking With Lakshya! This one is all about how my new show “Tumne Kisi Se Kabhi Pyaar Kiya Hai?” (now streaming exclusively on JioSaavn) came to be during this global lockdown. I also break down the writing process behind first six episodes of the show (parts 1 to 6). Spoiler Alert: listen to this AFTER you’ve heard those episodes, obviously.
"You, my love, stopped improvising"
Creativity in the time of quarantine. We're living through uncertain times, and being creative during this time requires focus and patience. So in this episode of Storytalking With Lakshya (#111 btw) I talk you through my quarantine-schedule to stay creative while still being on the right side of sane. The episode title, btw, is from a line I wrote for my WIP novel which I talk about in the episode!
"I'm creating a marriage using google sheets"
I'm in the first phase of working on my book - which basically involves a lot of "rulemaking" and "structure". So following some great advice I received from bestselling author Ashwin Sanghi - I'm using an excel sheet to create the groundwork for my book. And since the story is about a marriage told over six scenes over 20ish years, I'm basically creating a marriage using numbers. It's really fun. Tune in to listen to the process, as well as some updates on my other shows - "Play Me Life", and the newly announced "Natakshala"!
"I think I'm going to write a book"
Play Me Life launch. One More Night With Meera hits 10,000 listens. Jaipur Literature Festival 2020 memories. Oh and by the way, I think I'm going to write a book. Listen in.
"This is a Tale of Partition, Love, and Aloo Paranthas"
I'm starting off 2020 with a very eventful January, so this is a jam-packed episode (#108!) of Storytalking With Lakshya, where I first give you updates on all our shows (Jaipur Bytes, Poetry Darbaar, Play Me Life), AND then I have a chat with two super talented storytellers: Varud Gupta and Ayushi Rastogi, who have created a truly unique graphic novel titled "Chhotu: A Tale of Partition and Love". You can find it on Amazon, it's worth it. Also, Play Me Life's first audio-play is coming out on January 17! The trailer for "One More Night With Meera" is out now, listen here.
Learning and Unlearning in 2020
A year ago, at the end of 2018, Launchora had just one podcast - this one. We're ending 2019 with five podcasts produced - Storytalking With Lakshya, Jaipur Bytes, The Vision-Nari Podcast, Jazz India Circuit Podcast, Poetry Darbaar - with a total of 230 episodes released so far. AND, in January 2020, I'm finally going to launch our sixth podcast: my long-time-in-the-making audio-play series "Play Me Life". So in this episode (#107) of Storytalking With Lakshya (the final episode of 2019 / season 2) I talk about what I've learned as a writer / podcaster / storyteller in 2019, and what I hope to learn and unlearn in 2020.
The This and That of Writing the Opening Scene
“You’re this, but you’re also that.” How you start a story requires a lot of attention, especially if you want your audience to stay till the end. Another #AskLakshya special, in this episode (#106!) of Storytalking With Lakshya, I talk about how to write the opening scene of a story that draws in your audience immediately. Using my current work-in-progress audio-play “Subconscious Uncoupling” (still a working title!), I reframe the whole story using the opening scene, which in this case is a monologue and very crucial to the rest of the story. I walk you through the process of writing this 3 minute scene, which will end up taking days and maybe weeks to get right. if you’ve ever struggled with how to open a story, this is the episode for you. Keep sending in your questions, listeners!
Talking About Writer's Block... (An #AskLakshya Special)
You asked, I listened, and then I talked... this episode (#105!) of Storytalking With Lakshya is all about how I deal with writer's block. A listener asked me earlier this week about how I manage to find my way out of not being able to write. I had a lot to say about this (as you can tell by the episode length!). But really, this should be of use to you if you've ever been afraid of a) not being able to write anything new again, b) not being able to write anything "good" ever again, or the worst: c) not being able to write anything ever again. Spoiler alert: you're not alone, and yes, it can be fixed. Also, send me more questions! Tweet, DM on Instagram, DM on Launchora. I'm going to call this the #AskLakshya series. Maybe.
The Audio-Show Must Go On
Returning from a four-week hiatus, I've got a lot to share in this mega-episode #104 of Storytalking With Lakshya. First, there's some writing-and-producing talk regarding "Play Me Life" and "Play Me Zindagi" - where we are on the scripts and basically all my fears. Then we jump into the behind-the-scenes of our latest show "Jazz India Circuit Podcast" - and how I've barely managed to release each of the 3 episodes so far. And finally we end on what's on the horizon - including the much-storytalked "Poetry Darbaar".
Thinking, Feeling, Writing... In Another Language
The language a character speaks isn't just representing their thoughts - it's telling us who they are. So what happens, when you take a story and re-write it in a new language? How does that change the character? How does that change the story? How does that change the message behind the story? Those are just some of the questions I attempt to explore the answers to in this episode (#103) of Storytalking With Lakshya. Why am I asking these questions? Because Play Me Life, Launchora's upcoming podcast of audio-plays, in English, written and produced by me, is now being simultaneously created in Hindi as well. I explain why and how in the episode too. Also revealed in this episode is what *new* podcast we're producing (and I'm hosting) that will be coming out in just a few days!
The "Don't Forget This" List
Picture this: you’re 17 years old, and today is the last day of school, EVER. Tomorrow, you’re no longer going to be a “school student”. You’re on your way to proper adulthood. And the person you’ve been dating for the last two years decides to use this moment of your life - the last day of your childhood - to break up with you. How are you going to react?
That’s where this episode (#102) of Storytalking With Lakshya starts, as I break down the latest audio-play I’m writing for the work-in-progress-we’re-going-to-bring-radio-plays-to-the-digital-age “Play Me Life” podcast. What else is jam-packed in this episode? How I came up with and plan to execute a HUGE TWIST in this story, why that twist means that this story will have to be in two parts, some writing advice I received from the magically humble writer André Aciman (author of “Call Me By Your Name”) which led me to double-down on this story, and a writing trick I came up with this week as I was writing this story that I like to call the “Don’t Forget This” list.
A conversation with UC San Diego Chancellor Pradeep Khosla
This is a really special episode (#101), so it deserves a different kind of description.
So whether you’re a regular listener, or this is your first episode of Storytalking With Lakshya, I want to tell you something about me (Lakshya) that you may not know. When I was 17, I moved from my home in Gurgaon, India to San Diego, California to study at the University of California, San Diego. I was a student there for 4 years, graduating in 2011 with a B.Sc. in Management Science. I loved living in San Diego, and even after I moved back to India in 2014, I still go back as often as I can - because of one reason: my campus. I call UCSD my campus because it’s where I grew up. it’s where I became me. For me, UCSD isn’t just a location in space, it’s a location in time.
I’m proud of being a Triton - that’s what we call ourselves - based on King Triton who is the ruler of the Sea from Greek Mythology, and if you grew up in the 90s like me you probably know him as Ariel’s dad from the little mermaid…
My point is, I’m proud to call myself an alum of UC San Diego - it is one of the top educational and research institutions in the world. And my very special guest in this episode happens to be the captain of the UCSD ship - sticking to the aquatic metaphor - Chancellor Pradeep K. Khosla.
He is an internationally renowned electrical and computer engineer recognized for his seminal contributions in secure software, intelligent robot systems, and design. He's now leading a campus of more than 38,000 students within six undergraduate colleges and 11 academic divisions and graduate schools. Professors at UCSD have called him the best chancellor the university has ever had. And here’s just one of the reasons why - when he began his term as Chancellor in 2012, he set an ambitious goal: to raise $2 billion to transform the university physically, intellectually and culturally in 10 years. UCSD has already hit that goal, and it’s only been 7 years.
Dr. Khosla became the Chancellor a year after I graduated, so I never got to meet him as a student, but I had the pleasure of meeting him on his last visit to India a few months ago in Mumbai where I was the local host of a UCSD event. And when I was in California earlier this summer, he was nice enough to invite me to his office on campus to have this chat. We talked about a lot of things - as you’ll hear in this episode - from what he wanted to do with his life as a teenager in Bombay, to his work as an academic, to his time at DARPA, to what brought him to UCSD, and how he leads our campus and continues to learn...
I wanted to have him on my podcast so he could share his story with you, because he’s lived and is living an inspiring one... AND he’s helping thousands of students figure out their own stories... AND he just also happens to be a great storyteller.
Hope you like this conversation. You can learn more about Chancellor Khosla at https://chancellor.ucsd.edu/chancellor-khosla
The Milestone: 100th Episode / 30th Birthday Spectacular
I started recording this episode (#100!) of Storytalking With Lakshya at 23.30pm on September 19, 2019, which meant I had 30 minutes left on my birthday. So of course I spent it with you, talking about stories. The stories that I have made up and lived these past 30 years as a person, these past 10 years as a writer, these past 5 years as a not-amateur writer, these past 2 years as a podcaster, and... the ones I haven't even come up with yet. And because this is a milestone episode, I had to do something ridiculous which I thought of mid-episode: finish the episode as close to midnight as possible, and then export, upload, and publish before midnight. Made it with 1 second left on the clock. This episode is basically its own Mission: impossible movie.
Feeling Everything That Is, Forgetting Everything That Isn't
Harry Potter was 11 years old in the first book. Harry Potter was played by an 11 year old in the movie. But, Harry Potter was not written by an 11 year old. Adults have been pretending to be kids, teenagers, young adults in fiction forever. Obvious observation? Sure. Everything is obvious once you know it. But what about the things we learn, find out, experience for the first time? How do we process those things? How do we process "new feelings"? In this episode (#99!) of Storytalking With Lakshya, I'm working out a new story about teenage love - the beginning of it, and the end of it. As usual, the way I do it won't be obvious. I wanted to write about something familiar, but from the eyes of people for whom it's completely new. So I talk that through with you in this one. And yes, this story I'm working on (working title: Subconscious Uncoupling) is the 8th audio-play for the upcoming "Play Me Life" anthology series that Launchora is producing.
Where and When to End the Story
Characters don't stop existing after the audience leaves the story (exceptions: murder and other forms of death, obviously) - so how do you know when and where in the story they should stop being typed? That's on the agenda of this week's episode (#98) of Storytalking With Lakshya. The story in context here is called "Dad, We Need to Talk." - which I've spoken about in episodes 95 and 96 - a one-act audio-play for the WIP "Play Me Life" podcast. I'm done writing this story, and already working on the next one (which is the topic of episode #99!). All that - along with a bunch of updates on which authors I've interviewed and am scheduled to speak with for my other podcast (Jaipur Bytes) - is revealed in this episode. Two more episodes till I'm a proper podcasting professional.
A Writer's Detox
Do you ever find yourself thinking something that you know you shouldn't? Something you would never, ever share publicly? Well, if you're like me - you don't just think that stuff, you write it. In this episode (#97) of Storytalking With Lakshya, I tell you about how I went from editing "Dad, We Need to Talk" (what I had written so far) to "type-barfing" (not the title of a story, but the term I've coined for typing stuff that doesn't fit or belong in your story and/or is too dark for public-sharing) to then actually finding the plot of the next audio-play I'll be writing (working title: “Subconscious Uncoupling") for the upcoming "Play Me Life" audio-play series. The moral of the episode is (spoiler alert): there might be gems in the junk you think.
Putting the Meat on a Skeleton
Metaphorically speaking, skeletons aren't unique - It's the meat on them that makes them so. In this episode (#96!) of Storytalking With Lakshya, I use this meat-and-skeleton metaphor to break down how I took the skeleton of the "Dad, We Need to Talk." story (which was the topic in episode #94) and worked through adding in the meat, i.e., the dialogue on it. I also talk about how to identify and/or create the "heart" of this body / story - basically the thing/moment/scene/line that gives life to the story. Same metaphor, different usage. And yes, we're still in the I'm-writing-audio-plays-for-my-upcoming-"Play Me Life"-series phase of this podcast. I'm enjoying this part so much... I may never stop writing this show.
Navigating a Blank Map
What an adventure it is, when you know you can go anywhere, do anything - but you also have to make up all the "wheres" and the "things". In this episode (#95!) of Storytalking With Lakshya, I take you for a deep dive into a brand new audio-play story called "Dad, We Need To Talk." that I just started writing last night. The title refers to the text a daughter sends to her dad, and the conversation they have at a restaurant later that day is what the listeners will hear when this story is all done and ready. A little-bit drama, a whole-lotta life - All that and more of the story's creative process is revealed in this episode. For those keeping a count, like I do, this story is the 7th one I'm writing for my in-the-making "Play Me Life" audio-play series.
0 to 5,600 Words in 45 Minutes
Who even talks on the phone anymore? People stuck in traffic was the answer I got, so I wrote a whole story where just that happens. One man. 3 women. 12 calls. His past, present, and future - all is at stake (not really though) in this 45 minute ride through Delhi traffic. In this episode (#94!) of Storytalking with Lakshya, I tell you about the unexpected series of fortunate events that led me to start, write, and finish a brand new original audio-play, titled “ETA 45 Minutes”, for my upcoming audio-play series “Play Me Life”. "The attack of the words" would probably be an equally apt alternate title for this one because these words figuratively assaulted me so they could come to life.
Plot is a Condiment
You start at the beginning… and then eventually… you make it to the end. And then you realize - sh*t… this ending needs a better beginning. In this episode (#93!) of Storytalking With Lakshya, I tell you about the whirlwind journey that it has been to finally finish writing "The Temptation" (for the upcoming audio-play series "Play Me Life"). But this end, which comes at the end of writing every story, wasn't usual. This one required starting again from scratch. And - humblebrag alert - I think it's the best thing I've ever written... and let's double down - it's the best story-talking I've done... yet.
The Temptation of the Last Sentence
"The more I write... the more this story doesn't want to end." - That sentence pretty much sums up this week's episode (#92!) of Storytalking With Lakshya. But, since I already have your attention, I'll give you some more info / context. This past weekend was a creative roller coaster (in the dark too, like Disneyland's Space Mountain) - I wrote a lot, got super confident about how the story was turning out, decided to make it a two-parter... and that's when everything went... well... dark. You'll have to listen to know how dark. P.s. The story is (still) called "The Temptation" for the "Play Me Life" audio-play series... coming... soon... ish.
The Scene List
I was stuck. Like, embarrassing-myself-because-I-cannot-write-more-because-its-not-going-to-be-good stuck. And then the solution literally came to me right before I was about to enter the night-dream-land. In this episode (#91!) of Storytalking With Lakshya, I speed-tell you about the last 24 hours where I did a lot of creative things but also got stuck in a writing rut and then right before the episode got recorded - figured it all out! If there was ever a legit "live" episode of this show, this one is it. Oh, and by the way, the story in conversation is "The Temptation" for the "Play Me Life" audio play series I'm (still) writing. Also, I share some updates on another upcoming show that I'm hosting/producing called "Poetry Darbaar".
The Five-Years-In-The-Making Episode
I started telling a story five years ago. Today, marks the end of my part in writing it, as it begins to writes itself from now on. In this very special episode (#90!) of Storytalking With Lakshya, I talk to you about Launchora, which started as a dream 5 years ago with just me, and is now home to over 200,000 storytellers and has entertained 9 million readers. I then go into what the next 5 years could be for this story. And I also give you an update on 'The Temptation' - an original audio play I'm writing for Launchora's upcoming podcast "Play Me Life". Plus, a happy 5th birthday to Launchora. And also a happy (undisclosed) birthday to my dad.
Writing Out Loud
Is the temptation to cheat, the desire of the act and experience, as bad as going through with it? That question is on the agenda in this episode (#89!) of Storytalking With Lakshya. It started with a repeat viewing of a fave movie, and turned into the plot of an upcoming "Play Me Life" audio-play episode. I talk through the latest update on that, while taking you through my first set of unfiltered thoughts of "The Temptation" (working title) as I "write it out loud".
Finding The Wandering Lover, Again
You have a starting point. You have an ending point. You know what milestones are along the way. You’ve made this journey happen once. Now, you have to do it all over again, but along a completely new route, while still hitting all the same milestones and keeping the “essence” of the journey same. That’s what this episode (#88!) of Storytalking With Lakshya deals with, as I talk about the process of re-writing / re-visiting / re-finding / re-loving The Wandering Lover, one of my most personal stories, for the upcoming “Play Me Life” audio-play series.
Dressing Down the Dialogue
A Writer's Limbo
Some people go to a place of worship. Some do yoga or meditate. When I need to recharge, or "center myself", I go to the movies. In this episode (#86) of Storytalking With Lakshya. I talk about how watching movies has always saved me, helped me think, but also been my crutch. The Writer's Limbo is a real place... and I hope to get out of it soon... by talking about it.
The Never-Heard-Of Story
In this episode (#85) of Storytalking With Lakshya, you will hear me talk about the stories I grew up with, some I’d never heard of until I started seeing them, how that has shaped my writing over the years, and how wanting to give you (my audience) that experience of a never-heard-of story helped me finish a script for the upcoming ‘Play Me Life’ show.
From Script to Stage(ish)
Oh, you’re going to like this one. Maybe. Probably. Hopefully. Please like it? I know you will. Because in this episode (#84), for the first time ever on #StorytalkingWithLakshya, you’ll be hearing a live performance / table-read / reading / rehearsal of an audio play I've written called "One More Night With Isabel" (working title) for our upcoming show "Play Me Life”. Just press play already, so you can hear and experience “me life". Wait, I don't think that word-play worked just right... FML... I mean, PML.
Same Beginning, Different Ends
A new learning + writing schedule leads to new and surprising revelations. In this episode (#83) of Storytalking With Lakshya, I share a recent experience of revisiting old characters I had created, and re-writing them to be new people. When you re-write characters to be the same but different, what affects does that have on the story? Join me on this short 24 minute journey as I travel into the history / past of these characters to find new things to talk about.
The Storyteller Who Can't Lie
I've struggled with lying my whole life. Basically, I can't lie. When I was a kid, I thought "making stuff up" = lying, and therefore I'm never going to be a writer. Obviously, over the last decade things changed. In this episode (#82) of Storytalking With Lakshya, I break down the writing process from the perspective of a storyteller who can't lie. And as usual, I also talk about other things such as what stuff I'm writing right now, what other podcast shows I'm working on, and the new podcast app this show is available on! (Spoiler: it's called 'Himalaya').
Healing through Art with Sukriti Vadhera Kohli
Artist, teacher, mother. Sukriti, aka the Doctor of Happiness, uses art to express herself, and also heal. In turn, her art has helped others who feel and connect with what she has to say. In episode #81 of Storytalking with Lakshya, listen to Lakshya’s conversation with Sukriti Vadhera Kohli, as she shares her journey, from childhood drawings to advertising to teaching to motherhood to healing. Check out her illustrations @docofhappiness on Instagram.
The Art of What If-ing
Over the last weekend, I got to be a part of a lot of ideas, discussions, and stories as a speaker and mentor at Startup Weekend Amsterdam 2019. In this episode (#80) of Storytalking with Lakshya, I break down what I learned over the weekend, and why I chose to learn what I have learned over the last 5 years of running Launchora. And it all starts with one question...
Writing Vs. Typing
Live from Amsterdam, I present to you episode #79 of Storytalking With Lakshya, where I talk about the difference between writing and typing, how much I’ve done of both during this trip, why traveling is like experiencing “alternative narratives”, and how I write and put together a speech or talk (something I will be doing this Friday, March 29 in Amsterdam during Techstars Startup Weekend).
Co-writing Stories with your Past Selves
I spent this past week in the deepest depths of the storytelling multi-verse. Along with me for this ride are a bunch of movies, some screenplays, and a couple of my past selves. This episode (#77) is quite literally "Storytalking with Lakshyas".
The (Wedding) Gift of Words
Theatre, improvisation, reliving stories from your life from someone else's perspective, new words for old stories, writing a new story for old friends - there's quite a lot to unpack in episode 77 of Storytalking With Lakshya.
Writing Songs of Love & Pain with Gurpreet Saini
Dual Stories III: Love is a Virus
"Maybe love is a virus. And we're the carriers." I'm back (because I wanted to be) with a new episode of our (that's you and I / hum tum) ongoing Dual Stories series where I talk to you about how I'm putting together a story. Some big decisions are made in this episode (#75 of Storytalking!) - including the structure of the dual stories, the *final* (mostly) rules of Universe 1, and (surprisingly) how exactly the story in Universe 2 will work. I also contemplate if the universe we live in right now is immortal and just how insignificant we (and all our actions) are.
Talking Theatre with Quasar Thakore Padamsee
“Theatre is about energy. It’s about the audience being curious and generous to the actors… that’s how the magical moments happen.” In episode #74 of Storytalking with Lakshya, I sat down with Quasar Thakore Padamsee, aka 'Q' - renowned theatre director and producer, co-founder of QTP (a theatre and arts production company), and curator of TATA Literature Live. I ask Q about how he got into theatre, what led him to co-create QTP and Thespo (a youth theatre collective run by people under 25, which just celebrated its 20th anniversary), how he chooses the stories he wants to tell, what makes theatre the most authentic medium for a storyteller to use to communicate with their audience, and how the art form is being reconceptualized, and recontextualized, by the playwrights of today.
'Killing Time In Delhi' with Ravi Shankar Etteth
“Good journalism is about bringing down people in power who have done wrong things. But ironically, good journalism makes you very powerful.” My guest this week, Ravi Shankar Etteth (who said the above quote) is a seasoned journalist and author. I sat down with Ravi at his house in Delhi, to talk about his latest novel ‘Killing Time In Delhi’. We talk about how Ravi got into journalism, what drew him to writing fiction, how the idea of this latest book came to him, how he finds humanity in his characters, and how he manages to have fun while doing all of it. You can order Ravi’s book on Amazon.
Dual Stories II: The Vulnerability of Immortality
Is vulnerability a strength or a weakness? Is love a problem or a solution? Is immortality a gift or a curse? Those are just some of the things I talk about in this episode (#72) as I take my ‘Dual Stories’ concept to the next level and work on my characters, their backstories, and why their journeys are worth following. I also share some of the first draft of dialogue I wrote. Come for the writing process, stay for the fun of thinking about what it would be like if you were immortal.
Bhagwaan Ke Pakwaan: Food Of The Gods
“This book is an homage to our country’s rich culinary heritage and diversity.” - Shashi Tharoor said that about 'Bhagwaan Ke Pakwaan: Food Of The Gods’. In episode #71 of Storytalking, Lakshya sat down with the authors of the book, Varud Gupta and Devang Singh. The authors talk about their individual journeys that led to this milestone in their lives, how they pitched the book to Penguin (their publisher), what led to their multi-city, multi-culture, multi-cuisine tour of India to create the book, how they created the unique recipes and photography featured in the book, and what they hope to make their readers feel when they experience this book. 'Bhagwaan Ke Pakwaan' is now available for pre-order on Amazon, and will be in bookstores at the end of January 2019.
Motion capture technology has given us movies such as Wonder Woman and Beauty and the Beast, television shows such as Game Of Thrones, and realistic video games such as Assassins Creed and FIFA. In episode #70 of Storytalking, Lakshya sat down with Parth Shah, director of Centroid Motion Capture (who are responsible for the tech used on all the titles mentioned above) at their Mumbai studio to talk about how his company has been pioneering motion capture and performance capture technology for the last two decades to give consumers seamless experiences.
I’m not going to lie (because I’m bad at it) - this is a weird one. Weird, but 99% fun. In this first-time-for-me episode (#69), I (Lakshya) talk to you, my listener, about not one, but two stories that I’m going to write - together. But just like my stories, the entire episode is made up on the go, as I think through story and writing decisions pretty much live and in the moment. I talk about what exactly are ‘dual stories’, how the two stories will be connected, character traits choices, world-building, character back stories, where to start a story - while also exploring several tangents because that’s where the best ideas come from. If you want to hear the controlled madness that consumes a storyteller, this episode is for you.
What Kind Of Year Has It Been?
How would you describe your 2018 - a year of happiness, or a year of learning, or something else entirely? In episode #68 of Storytalking, Lakshya talks about the many, many things that happened in 2018 with Launchora, how he had a creative epiphany the other night, and where he hopes to take the platform (and this podcast) in 2019. There’s also a major surprise announcement near the end of the episode that you wouldn’t want to miss - hint: it involves a city famous for its color and one giant festival every January.
Sarita wants to help create and nurture more storytellers. In episode #67 of Storytalking, Lakshya chats with Sarita Shukla, co-founder of Kalamanthan, about what drew her to writing poetry, how she started Kalamanthan, and why she thinks stories help people.
Charu Madan (@ecstatic_being) wants you to find comfort and confidence in your own words. In episode #66 of Storytalking, Charu tells Lakshya about how she got into writing poetry, what got her on the stage, why she finds herself writing poetry about women empowerment and social issues, and what advice she has for young girls who want to express themselves creatively.
Aditi Agrawal wants to make our students - the future leaders of business, arts, social service - future-proof. And she has a plan in the form of 'School Of Future' that will surely get us there. In episode #65 of Storytalking, Lakshya speaks with Aditi about what drew her to the education sector, why she wanted to start School Of Future, and she hopes to give students the skills of the future.
Mehek (@giggling_monkey) is a visual artist, spreading joy, positivity, and truth with her work… with a dash of giggles. In episode #64 of Storytalking, she tells Lakshya about her creativity-fueled childhood, how she found art and her distinctive voice, what her creation process is like, and what advice she has for budding artists.
What happens to a person when their entire childhood, their 'bachpan', is storytelling? Tales of kings, martyrs, heroes, a lantern, a storyteller, and a child... that was Faizi's upbringing. Listen in as she talks to Lakshya about how that childhood shaped her, and how and why she started creating her own stories as an adult.
Karuna Ezara Parikh
“Every word is like an unnecessary stain on silence and nothingness.” That quote by Samuel Beckett just about sums up Lakshya’s conversation with Karuna Ezara Parikh on this week’s episode of Storytelling (#62). Listen in for some writer-to-writer discussions about where our words come from, and why we choose to put pen to paper. You can check out Karuna’s poems and other works by following her on Instagram @karunaezara or visit her website at www.ezarawrites.com.
In episode #61 of Storytalking, Lakshya speaks with Aditya Gautam, author of ‘Pornistan: How to Survive the Porn Epidemic in India’. Aditya shares stories of how he was drawn to stories as a kid, how he found himself volunteering for the Aam Aadmi Party as the assistant editor of their newspaper ‘Aap Ki Kranti’, and why he decided to write and publish a book about sexuality in India.
In episode #60 of Storytalking, Lakshya does another solo-sesh as he literally talks about a story he is experiencing while he's recording the podcast... riding on his horse into the wilderness of the Old West in 1899 in Red Dead Redemption II.
In episode #59 of Storytalking, Lakshya sits down with Sandeep Dutt, a serial entrepreneur, school coach, founder of ‘Learning Forward India’, and Chairman of the trust behind The Fabindia School. Sandeep shares stories about his school years, how the ‘Duke of Edinburgh's International Award’ program changed his life, how he stumbled into becoming an educator, why he joined the Fabindia School, and what he believes is the future of learning.
In episode #58 of Storytalking, Lakshya sits down with Radhika Mittal, the founder of Super School India, a nonprofit educational organization dedicated to providing english learning skills and sexual education to underprivileged youth in India. Radhika shares stories about her upbringing, moving to another country and learning a new culture, how she got involved in social entrepreneurship, how she uses creativity to teach, and where she wants to take Super School India.
In episode #57 of Storytalking, Lakshya speaks with Kriti Vij, a Mumbai-based actress who has appeared in shows such as Baked, 2 by 3, The Good Vibes, and the upcoming What The Folks Season 2. Lakshya and Kriti talk about how they went to the same school, how she used to express her creativity in school in debates and dramatics, how she stumbled upon theatre acting, the journey from theatre to the screen, and what it’s like to be an actress during TV’s digital revolution.
In episode #56 of Storytalking, Lakshya does another solo-talk about how to open up and like your own voice, how to define 'who you are' with storytelling, and how he's cooking up a story about a Chef.
In episode #55 of Storytalking, Lakshya speaks with Sabika Muzaffar, a former RJ and producer at Radio Mirchi and now the co-founder of ‘Sense Of Self’ - an organization aiming to be your partner on your emotional health journey. They talk about Sabika’s early escapades with creative expression and performing, why she believes that writing is a beautiful way to deal with depression, how practice doesn’t really make an artist perfect, her writing and editing process, where did the ‘Sense Of Self’ come from, and what she’ll be teaching at the ‘Become Your Superhero’ workshop at Launchora’s Creative Hub this Sunday, Sept 30.
In episode #54 of Storytalking, Lakshya does a solo episode to talk about a lot of things - what’s new with Launchora, turning 29 which led to this week’s Listen, why he wrote about ‘growing as a storyteller in this week’s guide, and of course - being Spiderman.
In episode #53 of Storytalking, Lakshya speaks with Sana Sabah, co-founder and CEO of Shurua(r)t - a wonderful platform for student artists in Banaras to showcase and sell their work. Sana and Lakshya talk about Sana’s introduction to the world of storytelling through short films, how she went from an intern at Shurua(r)t to their CEO within a span of months, why they started ‘Let’s Start Art’ - an art program for primary school students, and what she’s learned about being a social entrepreneur along the way.
In episode #52 of Storytalking, Lakshya speaks with Rashmi Datt, who is is one of India's top Emotional Intelligence facilitators and coaches who accompanies people on their soul's journey to fully harness their purpose and passion. Rashmi shares her experiences with how she got started on this journey, what role creativity and storytelling have to play in helping people realize their full potential, what makes Millennials and Gen Z better equipped to adapt to these methodologies, and how ‘psychodrama’ works along with examples of it in action. You can learn more about Rashmi’s work at www.rashmidatt.com
In episode #51 of Storytalking, Lakshya speaks with Neel Adhikari - a musician with all the talents - he sings, he writes, he plays guitar and ukulele, he composes films and TV series. Neel has been making music for over two decades now, and Lakshya and Neel discuss all his greatest (and almost-great) hits - his first song, the bands he was in, the gigs they did around the country and the world, how he got into composing films, how he collaborates with different kinds of storytellers, and all the shows and films he’s working on right now.
In the 50th(!) episode of Storytalking, Lakshya speaks with Brooke Shaden - a person who fulfills every possible definition of an ‘artist’ - she’s a US-based photographer, a writer, an educator, a speaker - she does it all. She talks about her creative process, how she finds inspiration and motivation to create something new every day, why she shares the behind-the-scenes of her work, how she uses social media to connect with her audience, how perfectionism isn’t a goal for her as a storyteller, why she mentors aspiring artists, and how she came about creating a nonprofit movement called ‘The Light Space’ in India.
In episode #49 of Storytalking, Lakshya speaks with Ruchika Nambiar, an almost-26 year old artist / writer / designer / illustrator from Bangalore, India. Ruchika tells Lakshya about how she got into writing, how she found her creative voice, what it was like to be in Art school (she went to the Srishti School for Art & Design in Bangalore), how she finds the work-artist balance now that she’s an Interaction Designer, and how she conceptualized and wrote her graphic novel memoir: ‘The Breadcrumb’ - which you can read for free on her website www.ruchikanambiar.com.
In episode #48 of Storytalking, Lakshya speaks with Sanjoy Roy, a National Award winner and Managing Director of Teamwork Arts - the company behind over 25 art and culture festivals including the ‘Jaipur Literature Festival’. Sanjoy tells Lakshya about how he got involved in the theatre community in India, what lead to the creation of Teamwork Films and Arts in 1989, what contribution technology has to the arts, how cultures feed the creativity of a country, and how he and his team brought Indian arts and films to the world stage.
In episode #47 of Storytalking, Lakshya speaks with Ruchir Arun, a National Award winning director and screenwriter, who is currently working on the shows What The Folks, and Little Things - season 2 of which was just picked up by Netflix. Ruchir shares stories of his first experiences with a camera, making short films with his friends in school, what it was like to study at FTII Pune, how he put together his final thesis film ‘Mandrake Mandrake!’ which won him the National Award for best short fiction, what it is like to be a director in ‘Bollywood’ in the digital landscape, and how he collaborates with writers and actors on his TV shows.
In episode #46 of Storytalking, Lakshya talks to you about his experience with education and learning, why he got into teaching, how he imagines an ideal student-teacher relationship to be, and how the concept of 'learning together' can be applied in every day life.
In episode #44 of Storytalking, Lakshya speaks with Venkat Ramachandran, a ‘multi-story-teller’, who does a lot of things related to storytelling, such as running ‘Mandram’ - an organization to promote Tamil language and literature, and teaching workshops about the possible futures of storytelling. Venkat shares stories of how he got into studying storytelling, why he uses the Mahabharata to talk about it, why he considers himself to be a ‘bad storyteller’, and what he believes makes us humans ‘storytellers’ and ‘information architects’. You can read Venkat’s articles on Linkedin.
In episode #43 of Storytalking, Lakshya speaks directly to you in another solo session. The episode is called ‘Creative Hub’, but it could also be called the ‘Launchora Birthday Special’. Listen in to hear about Launchers Fest, why we’re starting the Creative Hub, what it hopes and goals are for it, and where Launchora is going from here!
In episode #42 of Storytalking, Lakshya speaks with Sidhanta Mathur, creative producer at Pocket Aces | Dice Media, who is behind TV shows such as ‘What The Folks’ and ‘2 by 3’. Sidhanta shares stories of how he went from studying Genetics to an internship at MTV, what goes into conceptualizing and producing a web series, what exactly does a ‘creative producer’ do, and where he thinks this over-the-top online media industry is headed. To watch all the shows mentioned in this episode, find the ‘Dice Media’ channel on Youtube.
In episode #41 of Storytalking, Lakshya’s guest is Arka Mukhopadhyay - a theater teacher / performer / director based in Kerala, India. Arka shares stories about growing up in Kolkata, his early exposure to theatre and performance art, acting in school, engineering and dropping out, performing and directing theatre, training and workshops, where his creativity comes from, why his practice is about the human body, a dance/workshop he created named after Hamlet, and how he helps his students find truth in their own creative work.
In episode #40, Lakshya talks to Amyth Banerjee from Mumbai, India, who is currently working as an AI Evangelist. Amyth tells Lakshya about his interests and fascinations with technology and science growing up, how he tried and quit engineering, why he got into digital storytelling via marketing and filmmaking, how he discovered his mission of re-imagining a better tomorrow, the ‘demystifying theory’ that defines his career, and how he became an evangelist for artificial intelligence.
In episode #39 of Storytalking, Lakshya speaks with George Simons, an American in France, an intercultural expert, and the creator of ‘Diversophy’ - which aims to help people and organizations work with others from different backgrounds and cultures via games and workshops. George tells Lakshya about how history, culture, religion are just stories, and how a story is like a vehicle, it can be used for both good or evil. George is a teacher and a master-storyteller with over 5 decades of experience, so there is something to learn for everyone in this episode! Check out George’s games at www.diversophy.com.
In episode #38 of Storytalking, Lakshya chats with Amar S, aka Comedy Wala Amar, a stand up comedian from Gurgaon, India. Amar tells Lakshya about his upbringing and education and ‘corporate life’, how he found stand up comedy, what it was like to get on stage for the first time, how he writes his material, the books he’s writing, and how he’s found own happiness in making people laugh. Check out Amar’s work at amarvani.in
In episode #37 of Storytalking, Lakshya does a #solo talk about one of his most favorite things ever: interactive storytelling in video games. Things you'll hear him talk about: his first ever experience with immersive storytelling back in 2000 with Metal Gear Solid on the Sony Playstation, his lifelong obsession with Playstations, his favorite game series (Grand Theft Auto, God of War, Uncharted, Red Dead Redemption), decision-making in interactive games and consequences, the new game ‘Detroit: Become Human' that he's playing, and why and how he wrote his own interactive story called 'She v/s Him' (which you can play on the Playground!).
In episode #36 of Storytalking, Lakshya speaks with Francis Laleman, who Lakshya describes as ‘the agent of and for curiosity’. Francis is a university of knowledge, and he shares several stories about his life and career. From growing up in Belgium and studying Indian culture and languages, to moving to India and becoming a teacher and trainer, how he got into instructional design and the agile movement, how he learned a lot by just walking behind curious children, and why he considers himself to be less of an educator and more of a potter.
In episode #35 of Storytalking, Lakshya speaks with Iska Mayu, one of our very own featured storytellers! Iska talks to Lakshya about her childhood, what it was like to grow up in two different cultures, how she got into writing, why she writes about her personal life and experiences, and where she finds inspiration. You can find Iska’s audio story called ‘I’m Still Alive’ on Listen, her Guide is called ‘Giving Your Thoughts Justice’, and you can also read her story ‘To Miss You more’ in the Spring 2018 issue of The Storyteller.
In episode #34 of Storytalking, Lakshya talks to Narendra Goidani, motivational-speaker-extraordinaire, and founder of ‘Life School’, ‘Keep Moving Movement’, ‘WOW Parenting’. Naren shares inspiring stories about his life, how he translated his energy and positivity to become an agent for creativity, how he puts together KMM sessions across 60 cities which trains 25,000 students per year, and how he uses storytelling to teach problem solving.
In episode #33 of Storytalking, Lakshya speaks with Abhimanyu Bhardwaj, who just completed his masters degree in Strategic Design from Politecnico Di Milano, and is now working at Ernst & Young in Milan. He talks about how he started his career with Mathematics, how he was drawn to creative and design thinking, how companies can leverage creativity, why he’s inspired by real people like Warren Buffett and fictional people like Don Draper, and what he’s learned about himself along the way.
In episode of #32 of Storytalking, Lakshya talks to Darwin Leonard Prakash, a 24 year old opera singer / performer/ music prodigy. Darwin shares stories of singing in his church choir as a kid, how he got ‘discovered’ by his future singing teacher, what it was like to train and audition for the Royal Academy Of Music in London, his love for opera singing, and how he deals with stress, uncertainty, and ambition.
In episode #31 of Storytalking, Lakshya chats with Anirban Bhattacharya, Founder of The Painted Sky (art-based corporate training initiatives) as well as Founder of UBQT Design Thinking School. They talk about how art and creativity can be used to solve real-world problems and improve business practices, how art-based methodologies can help people introspect and discover new things about themselves, how creativity is at the center of all innovation in any industry, and how the future belongs to people with empathy and emotional intelligence.