Tuesday, August 9, 2016



Dear friends,

Happy to share that a new edition of Turtle Dove has now been brought out by Juggernaut Books. :) It's a book of short short stories, mainly about forbidden relationships/sex.

You can download it from the app on their website. I have done a blog post on forbidden sex. You can also access the stories through their blog (Please scroll down to the bottom of t
he page). Special offer: Rs 10/story.

Blog post:

http://community.juggernaut.in/literature-forbidden-sex-divya-dubey/


Direct access to the book/stories:
http://books.juggernaut.in/#/details/2f4e71157197470ebb0175259a211a7d




Wednesday, July 20, 2016

What Authorz Coracle really means to me

When I started Authorz Coracle in 2011, I really did not know where it was headed. As the publisher of Gyaana Books earlier, I had been approached by several aspiring writers for help and feedback (especially, the rejects). I knew I wanted to help; I was confident I could, but at that time did not have the time or resources at my disposal. With AC I could address those people’s problems.

After a while I wasn’t publishing books any longer. I was already stripped of the halo ‘book publishers’ are often bestowed with – and it was apparent in people’s altered attitudes, words and body language. 

Initially, the idea of making Authorz Coracle a literary agency seemed appealing. Editorial services combined with representation made better sense. But I gave up the thought quite soon. I wasn’t cut out for it; it simply wasn’t me. I wanted to teach. I wanted to share what I had learnt simply because, as an aspiring writer I had been there, done that. I could identify with those writers. I had made exactly the same mistakes, done incredibly foolish things, learnt my lessons and moved on. Yes, of course it had been embarrassing for a while, but I proved to be good at two things: laughing at myself and forgiving myself (even if some others didn’t easily). I had learnt to recognize and embrace my flaws the way I recognized and embraced my qualities. Consequently, I had evolved – as a writer, editor, publisher, person. 

Even though AC was fully functional, I had decided against acting as an agent. I wasn’t going to represent authors to publishers and, despite repeated requests, stayed firm on that front.  I did not even bother to advertize my services properly. All I was offering was writing help and feedback to people who were willing to trust my judgement based on my own experiences.

Who would come to me?

Why would they come to me when there were so many other options available? More affordable? Better known?

What kind of a business model was this?

Relevant questions by well wishers, I cannot deny. Except that I had no answers then. I have none now. I did not compromise then. I do not compromise now. Perhaps I was counting on chance. I just knew I had to do it.    

I waited. I had to wait for a long time. The first client came through a friend’s recommendation. The second through another. And the third. It took a while. Months. A year. Two.

I was lucky with the clients who did come. They were not scintillating writers waiting to be ‘discovered’, but most had stories to tell – and they were serious about developing their writing skills. I knew I could help hone them. Few were worried about being published eventually, though of course each would have liked to get there. They simply wanted to write. And they wanted someone to read what they had written. I was willing to do that.

One of my first few clients was a not-so-young woman – an accomplished person in her own field (a scholar and professor), who was very keen on old Bollywood cinema. Unfortunately, the theatricality and histrionics of the films of those times reflected in her writing. She joked that she wanted to win the Nobel Prize for Literature someday. And to be quite honest, I seriously wished she would accomplish her goal.  The project took over a year. There was a great deal of back and forth. Sometimes she was diligent; sometimes childishly impatient. Sometimes I was well in control; sometimes rather brusque. We discussed, debated, argued. She would promise to do the rewrites and send back almost the same script all over again. Then we would go round and round in circles once more.

While she was still at it, her father fell seriously sick. The stories began to grow darker. They also acquired a seriousness that had been absent before. There was suffering, torment, misfortune. I could see a clear change emerging.   And then she vanished. For almost three months there was no word from her. But one day she wrote to say her father had passed away.

She returned to writing another month later – and completed her collection. Not all the stories were extraordinary. One, however, I distinctly remember, was. Not many were even closely enough related to be included in the same collection (speaking strictly from a publisher’s point of view), but I think writing for her had become a cathartic exercise. It was enough simply to be able to write. She talked a lot – about her father, her life, her experiences, agony and anguish. She said she would continue writing no matter where she was and what she was doing.

Over the years I have had several such experiences. Another young woman would keep writing to me again and again. She was a banker and very keen to write a novel with multiple women protagonists. She refused to slow down or compromise on the number of protagonists even though I pointed out the level of complexity it would require. Her novel had the familiar Indian clique most women can perhaps easily identify with: a married woman with childbearing issues; another married woman with marriage problems; a working professional with an ordinary life, and a single woman with her own troubles.

The author could certainly write if she put in the effort, but her mind galloped in too many directions at once. She could not maintain her focus. Humour came to her naturally. So much so that it became a problem. Sometimes, even the most serious situations came across as inadvertently funny the way they had been described. The arcs were scattered in every possible direction until we could streamline the plot and pin everything down.   

There were days when she wrote at top speed and delivered good chapters. There was much detailing. The characters were realistically drawn. At other times she wouldn’t write for weeks. Then she too disappeared without warning. When she emerged again, it was to inform me that she was going through her divorce and would be taking a break from writing for a while.   

Once there was a young woman who, while sharing a personal piece, revealed the story of her battle with her body clock and her deep dilemma and anguish at dealing with the consequences. It was an intense experience and an emotionally draining one.

It was a revelation the amount of their personal lives the writers invested in their writings and how cathartic the process of writing really was for them. It wasn’t simply a matter of writing a book and getting it published. Writing, to them, had much greater significance. And somehow I was playing an important role in that process: not merely that of an editor or instructor but of a friend, philosopher, psychotherapist and healer. It imbued the effort with much deeper meaning. It made the entire transaction far more worthwhile.  

Slowly I realized the difference between the writers who opted for editorial services and those who attended my creative writing workshops. The former were prone to be self-absorbed, reflective, even brooding. The latter were more firmly ensconced in the here-and-now, raring to go, looking for practical tips.

It has been about five years now. I still do not advertize my services actively, though projects keep flowing in somehow. Writers still come to me either through word of mouth or through the AC website they stumble upon (usually) by chance. Some connect instantly and form a bond; others take time to establish a rapport; yet others move away. I welcome those who choose to stay, let go of those who wish to go.

Only last night a very old friend from university reconnected online. At university, though we were friends we had never exchanged much information about each other. However, we began to talk and he mentioned a manuscript he has been working on. He had learnt about AC and wanted to take my help. Once he started talking about the project, perhaps some of his deepest thoughts, secrets and the most personal details simply flowed naturally. He never even paused to think.

I wonder – is this what the process of writing does to you? It seems to open up the ability and willingness to communicate and articulate the most intimate details about one’s life. And that’s a blessing.

It does not surprise me anymore. But it does amaze me.  With each new experience I too learn, grow, evolve as a professional as well as as a person. Authorz Coracle, though on the surface, is just an outfit that offers editorial services and creative writing workshops, but, at another level, is something much deeper, more substantial and rewarding  for anyone who chooses to form a connect with it.     

Friday, January 17, 2014


Guest post by Claire Holt


How to Write your Short Story

Writing a short story is always on the creative writer’s ‘to do’ list. Most will have a plethora of ideas bouncing around inside their heads for months before putting pen to paper, while others can sit in front of a blank laptop screen for days before an idea presents itself. No matter what kind of writer you are, writing a short story should be something to be enjoyed; something cathartic and creative to stimulate the senses – not an unwanted task, like laundry or paying bills. Therefore, these tips can help you in writing your perfect short story.

Keep a Journal

A lot of people shy away from keeping a journal – they find it too pretentious and bothersome. However, a journal can actually be a writer’s best friend. Keeping a note of ideas, thoughts, phrases, words and images that stand out in your head throughout the day prevents them from floating away, like most fleeting ideas, and can also trigger other creative thoughts to come forward. Use the journal like a creative scrapbook, pasting in doodles and pictures to help jog your memory later on when it comes to writing.

Write a Plan

The next step for any piece of creative writing is a plan. This may sound like a children’s school exercise, but writing out a point-by-point plan on the beginning, middle and end can be extremely effective in pacing the story and adding depth later on. With short stories, the word limit is just that: limited, so planning sections around the word count can stop you from running over and leaving out key events from the plot. It can also ensure that certain parts aren’t rushed or forced in.

Characterisation

One of the main aspects of an enthralling short story is the characterisation. The characters are who the reader relates to and what brings the words off the page; they make the tale relatable and more realistic so that the audience can really connect with the story. Make character sketches of each of your characters, no matter how minor. Write bullet points and lists about their looks, personality and lives relevant to the story. Then write lists about aspects of their character that aren’t strictly relevant to the story. For example, think about:
  • What do they eat for breakfast?
  • What’s their favourite pair of shoes?
  • Do they have a phobia?
  • Do they have siblings and if so, do they get along?
  • Who do they have on speed dial?
All these seemingly irrelevant aspects of their character knit themselves in to your, the Author’s, view of them and ultimately helps you write about a unique person. You may decide to add these character traits into your short story, you may not. However, thinking about them will help you see your characters as living, breathing beings, rather than fictitious mass written to fill a space so that you can tell a story.

Finish Strong

The end of the story is often the weakest. This is down the several reasons; the writer will often attempt to write their whole story in one sitting, which is fine for the seasoned, more experienced writers out there but with others it can result in a weak finish. The creative juices have been used up around halfway by a critical point in the plot somewhere around the middle and now the writer is running off of the creative equivalent of dust. If the writer is determined to finish the short story then and there, this is where the planning mentioned above comes in to play. However, the ending has to create an impact, just like the opening. It’s therefore advised that the writer takes a break around this point so that they can come back later. This not only allows them to rest their eyes and minds, but to think up any additional details that can prove beneficial to the story that they may not have thought of otherwise. Leave the story overnight, or if this isn’t possible, go about your daily business; make a coffee; go shopping. This will wipe the slate clean and allow the writer to finish their short story strong.

Draft, Draft and Draft again

After completing the short story, the writer should leave it for at least 24 hours. This refreshes and resets the brain and allows the writer to come back to it with fresh eyes and a new perspective. This helps with the drafting process, as it allows mistakes, errors and plot holes that the writer may not have previously seen to jump out at them now they’ve given the story a break.
Draft several times; there’s no limit. The greater amount of drafts and the longer the writer drafts for, the stronger the story is going to be. Save each draft as a new document so that if you change an aspect of the story that you decide you want to change back, it’s easier to go back to a previous draft rather than trying to write it back into the story.
Ultimately, writing a short story should be a fun, therapeutic activity and not one that should be dreaded, or even avoided. Planning the plot, word count and characters thoroughly all make the process infinitely smoother and aid the writer in creating a strong short story that readers will enjoy and recommend.

Claire Holt is a freelance writer and mother of two. She enjoys being able to combine her love of literature with work, though when she gets some time to herself, she loves nothing more than going for a long walk to get some inspiration and fresh air.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

India's Indies


[Published in The Bookseller (UK), August 24, 2012: http://www.gyaanabooks.com/files/BS33.pdf ]

When I began Gyaana Books in 2009, there was a gentle murmur around that the publishing sector in India was booming, never mind the over-hyped recession factor. Post Chetan Bhagat, a new genre of Indian commercial fiction had emerged. Indian presses were working without a breather, producing romances, crime fiction, chick lit, and the campus novel. Small independent publishers, mushrooming in every nook and cranny of the country, were mentoring writers who could never have dreamt of such opportunities at their fingertips a few years ago. With technological advances, POD, and self-publishing models, also set up by some small indies, there was euphoria amongst many aspirants who didn’t need to rely on the big five any longer. It was supposed to be a paradigm shift. Enter Nielson India, and the gentle murmur rose to a buzz.

Three years down the line, caught in the same web in the same trade, I’m still wondering where the boom is.

To begin with, agreed, there has been a transition in the publishing scene in India post Chetan Bhagat. There is a whole new genre of commercial fiction, especially the campus novel – from small independents such as Srishti, Mahaveer, and Grapevine, who cater for a well-defined segment of the book market interested in inexpensive, easy, commercial reads. However, others in the trade, with literary lists, crime fiction, or even children’s fiction, priced slightly higher, continue to suffer in spite of their quality goods due to a mammoth obstacle – distribution. Some writers believe their publishers are playing the villain, without being aware of ground realities. Distribution is an area that continues to irk even the big fish, though they have an edge over independents in that they are established brands, have established distribution channels, have standing orders from certain big chains, and a wider reach.

There are certain factors responsible, besides market forces, for why small indies are prevented from enjoying that luxury, especially today.

During the last five years, the number of publishers in India has grown significantly. More MNCs are setting up Indian branches (Simon & Schuster, and Bloomsbury being the latest). Several authors still prefer multinationals such as Penguin, Hachette, and HarperCollins over small independents, assuming both imprint prestige as well as better distribution. Incidentally, the multinationals, prodded on by the elusive ‘boom’ of commercial fiction/the low-priced campus novel phenomenon, did try to jump on the same bandwagon, but saw no success until they had lured away the ‘big brands’ away from the independents. 

There are more books and fewer shops than ever before.  That implies a constant fight for shelf space in the remaining stores, where small indies lose out big time to bigger brands, regardless of good quality books – unless they have low-priced commercial sellers on their list. Others are bullied by the distributors/retailers who wield the power. They must surrender to the distributors’/retailers’ terms, and whims and fancies, or their books will never see the light of day. That means discounts can go up to almost seventy per cent; books are always given on a sale-or-return basis (which translates into a hundred per cent risk for the publisher); returns can come any time of the year/month/week (and cannot be questioned); and payments can take up to a year to come in – if they come in at all. There have been instances where small local distributors have disappeared overnight with the proceeds. Usually, such incidents happen when a publisher is compelled to resort to a small, unknown distributor because he/she has had no luck with a big, established one. The unfortunate fact is that big distributors/retailers usually don't entertain small indie publishers at all. The reason is simple – they are too small; they don’t have a big enough list to interest the giants.

With the publishing process now made simpler, several major distributors are trying their luck with their own publishing ventures, and are too preoccupied to focus on other publishers. Alchemy, Om, Supernova, Fingerprint, etc, are a few such examples. Besides, it spells a direct conflict of interest, which is a deterrent by itself. Some such as Westland have stopped distribution altogether (save for a South India Penguin exclusive), ergo the conflict of interest – and are focused only on publishing now.

Retailers and distributors complain that online stores have hit the retail sector badly. They offer greater discounts, and have a cash-on-delivery option, so that people who do not believe in credit cards can also shop online now. The downside is that only people who are aware of the book already, and are Internet savvy, would order them online. Consequently, routine high street shops, especially the smaller ones, don't want to stock books by new writers/publishers, since they feel it’s a losing proposition for them -- ensuring that the books don't get to the small stores.) 

On the other hand, distributors very often refuse to supply books to big chains because of pending payment issues. So, even if there are orders, the books are not supplied. The irony is that the publisher can't really complain in this case since non-payment of dues is a genuine and serious issue -- ensuring that the books don't get to the big stores.)

Not being able to find a place in bookshops – regardless of their size, means no visibility. Some places charge for displays. While bigger publishers may be able to afford them, it’s beyond budget for most of the smaller players. Distributors/retailers usually want to stock (and display) the fast-moving books/bestsellers/known writers, since everyone is fighting for the precious book shelves. At times, some small indies face a situation where a retailer only stocks their title if they agree to hold an event in that store (which means spending a hefty amount to organise one, but selling only a limited number of copies on that particular day). And, later, the store sends back the rest of the copies within a week or less, and is not answerable to anyone

According to the publisher-distributor contract, there is only a certain percentage of the stock the distributor is supposed to return after a certain period of time. This has changed over time because retailers today assume no stock risk, enjoying what is called full sale or return, which makes the clause redundant in real life. In real life, small indies are completely at the mercy of the middlemen in the industry. Everything is arbitrary.

As far as a ‘boom’ is concerned, it’s only been visible in the burgeoning number of writers, and in select low-price genres. Publishers receive thousands of queries and manuscripts from aspiring authors a month. But, unless the same number also begins to believe in reading and buying other book genres, a boom in the publishing sector would only remain a myth.

******

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Writers' resources (helpful material)


[Of course, there’s a great deal of material available online (I found thousands of videos and links to plain text), but I’m posting some that I genuinely found useful. I think you might too.]

Writing a short story




Storyboarding (short story/novel)

Another representation of the eight-point arc (very nicely explained):

Voice in fiction (oh, the ‘elusive’ voice!): Writing with Rhythm: 


Things to keep in mind (common mistakes):


Storytelling: theory and practice (a rather long-ish video, but a very nice one. J If you don’t want to watch the entire thing, just watch the first ten minutes):



Ten rules from famous writers: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LLIGZEBmBUk

Being a good writer (very important indeed!): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WO29k1-RvsA&feature=related



Some other helpful links (The Guardian):

Ten rules for writing fiction:










Exercises for writers (writer Rimi B Chatterjee’s blog)

http://writinginpractice.blogspot.in/search/label/Exercises



Sunday, April 8, 2012

The self-publishing debate: multiple questions/multiple perspectives

The more we think about self-publishing, the more complex the debate seems – not because self-publishing is ‘wrong’, unethical, or criminal, but because it has too many ramifications leading to too many other questions. Besides, there’s an authors’ perspective and a publishers’ perspective. It isn't a new phenomenon (it's been around for fifty years or more), but now, with a sudden rise in self-publishing print and e-book platforms, the matter is being debated more. 

Let’s begin from the beginning:

What is self-publishing?

This question itself has three answers:

  1. When an author decides to publish his/her book him-/herself, investing his/her own money in the project, it’s self-publishing.
  2. When an author decides to publish his/her book with the help of a service provider (self-publishing platform), and pays them for their services (editorial/production/printing, etc), it’s self-publishing.
  3. When an author pays a publisher production costs/buys a certain no. of copies of the book to compensate for production costs, it’s self-publishing.
Is self-publishing the same thing as vanity publishing? Mere snobbishness on the part of authors?

For some people it is, regardless of what the service providers/‘vanity’ publishers might say in their defence, or claim that even paid projects go through a quality check/proper scanning before being accepted (and some are turned down in spite of the author’s willingness to pay).

So what’s wrong with that?

On the face of it, nothing at all.

  1. If you decide to publish your own book, investing your own money in it, there’s nothing wrong with it, though some people might question the quality/worth of the book since it hasn’t been worked upon by a seasoned editor at a proper publishing house.
  2. If you use a self-publishing platform and pay them for their services, there’s nothing wrong with it either except that, again, some people might question the quality/worth of the book for the same reasons mentioned above.
  3. In case three, it becomes more complex – from the ‘regular’ or ‘mainstream’ publishers’ point of view. Some publishers believe that it flies in the face of what publishing stands for -- i.e., there is an editorial selection process, tuned to a conscious building of a list by certain parameters/philosophy and an investment put behind those picks to the level of sales envisaged. And publishers either succeed or fail based on their selections.
When money enters the picture, quality assessment becomes ‘suspect’. Not just that, the role of the publisher becomes unclear since he/she isn’t offering the author anything beyond editorial/intellectual input, when they should be investing their own money in the project they claim to believe in, especially if it’s a work of fiction/narrative non-fiction.  

So, is it a mere cop-out on the part of a vanity publisher?

Perhaps.

What if the editors providing self-publishing services are equally adept at the job? If the script has been brought up to a certain level, why not self-publish?

The answer would still be that if they really believe in the work, why shouldn’t they invest in it themselves and publish it – OR – hand them over to some publisher who would? What are they really offering the author except for ‘services’? If the script has been brought up to a certain level, why not give it to a regular publisher?

Except that, more often than not, regular publishers don't want to take another look at a script they've turned down once (though there may be exceptions here too). And most of the writers who do self-publish (barring a few who don’t wish to share the proceeds with the publisher) are those whose scripts were turned down by regular publishers the first time round, and nobody wanted to look at them a second time – even after rewrites/edits et al.

And, if they've been turned down by regular publishers once, should it be the end of the road for them once and for all?

Perhaps publishers should give a second chance to scripts they've turned down once -- esp. if they've been worked upon/rewritten and brought up to the level of professional writing.
    Some publishers did offer a self-publishing platform to certain kinds of books and certain kinds of corporate/institutions, etc, for coffee-table kind of books. BUT – they never offered any for fiction or narrative non-fiction projects.

    Why? Perhaps because fiction writing, esp. literary writing, is a completely different ball game. If a serious writer has the skills, and has something to say, he/she should be able to make the grade the first time round, provided it suits the publisher’s list. The project might require editing, even heavy editing, but would not require complete rewriting/overhauling. If it’s in good enough shape, it will be accepted.  

    Many indeed do welcome the self-publishing platform as a great option which eliminates the author’s need for a publisher altogether.

    But is that all it is? Or are we missing something important here?

    Views welcome. 

    Wednesday, February 1, 2012

    Theatre Culture (Tradition, Challenges, Censorship): JLF 2012 and Beyond

    [Published in Pravasi Bharatiya -- forthcoming issue, IANS Publishing, for the Ministry of External Affairs]


    I drifted to the Front Lawns at Diggi Palace that afternoon, lured by the prospect of watching Girish Karnad and David Hare in conversation. Of course, there was the added enticement of sitting in the sun in that winter chill, so unlike last year when Jaipur was already warm in January.
    
    Girish Karnad, David Hare, Arshia Sattar at JLF 2012, Stage by Stage
    Girish Karnad, one of India’s best-known playwrights, filmmakers, and actors, is a Padma Bhushan awardee, and has also won the Bharatiya Jnanapith. His works are available in Kannada as well as English.
    With twenty-eight plays to his name, David Hare is a well-known name internationally. Sixteen of his plays have been performed at Britain’s National Theatre, and ten on Broadway. What can one say about a man who successfully did The Wall, a one-man performance on the Israel-Palestine issue, besides turning down a Seven Spielberg film because he was too excited about a play on the privatization of the British Railway system?

    The twain did meet at the Jaipur Literature Festival, to discuss theatre and its several ramifications – both in India and in Britain.

    Quite obviously, passion and dedication are the only horses that pull the chariot for artists such as these. As Hare mentioned, ‘A middle ground is difficult. In theatre, people either make a fortune or nothing, but what they can’t make is a living.’

    Theatre culture in Britain has always been robust. Even when television took over, the BBC kept a slot for a new work by a playwright as a regular programme, watched by eight million people. Hare said that in the nineteenth century theatre was probably a mainstream commercial activity; now the commercial pressures have changed.

    According to Karnad, India’s diversity of languages has kept theatre alive. He said that though theatre’s been a part of Indian history and culture forever, and plays continued to be performed, for almost a thousand years no plays were actually written here. It was only after Independence that the major plays began to be written. Theatre did come to the metros at the time of the British, but by that time folk theatre was more or less defunct.

    There are several challenges that theatre in India faces today. Earlier, theatre groups existed at every corner and one person could sponsor a play. Now the costs of production have escalated; sponsors are hard to come by. There are other distractions to keep people at home. Almost everybody agreed that traffic snarls are a major factor that dissuades people from leaving their homes to watch a play, etcetera.

    Is the theatre culture in India disappearing? When asked, a few other well-recognized figures from the field expressed their views.

    
    Jayant Kripalani
    
    ‘People who claim that theatre is a disappearing culture are those who are too tired or too old to write, promote and/or perform. Or just damn lazy,’ said Jayant Kripalani, a name from the Bombay film industry that needs no introduction. ‘Of course staging a play can be a struggle, but personally I find watching television or the majority of films that are released these days, a bigger struggle.’

     
    Rajyashree Dutt
     ‘It's a complex subject, but I would not say that theatre is dying. It is sick and needs a dose of resources,’ said Rajyashree Dutt, and actress who has worked with Jagriti (the Artists Repertory Theatre, in east Bangalore. Some years ago Rangashankara was set up in the south). ‘I have been pleasantly surprised to find that there are several young people in this city who make their living from theatre. There is not enough money in it, so they have to supplement it with other work in TV or voice-overs. But they are following their passion which is theatre.’


    Chippy Gangjee, another brilliant actor-director from the same film industry said, ‘You speak of the disappearing Theatre Culture.
    I disagree!
    Impoverished – Yes!
    Unpublished – Yes!
    Chippy Gangjee
    Un-sponsored – Yes!
    But disappearing – Me thinks not! To clarify: Who does theatre?
    Children in schools, young adults in colleges, working people in organizations, clubs, community organizations, NGOs with street theatre, village communities (jathra/nautanki, etc); and all this is happening, all the time, all over this magnificent country. Thank God!
    Also there is the “form” of performance. Why should it remain as Proscenium Arch? … Again, there is what is erroneously dubbed as regional language theatre. Some amazing plays! I've done a few of them myself; was completely bowled over with the power of the writing! And what of our neighbours? Both immediate and farther afield – some incredible scripts! There's no money in it? So when has that ever deterred the avid/passionate thespian?’

    Spoken like a true theatrician!

    However, there also seem to be larger issues theatre professionals are pitted against. The issue of a curb on the freedom of expression/censorship, for instance, is not limited to the likes of Rushdie or Lelyveld or to Literature alone. According to Jalabala Vaidya of Akshara Theatre in Delhi, this freedom has been curtailed for theatre performers since the Entertainment Act of 1876. Performers need sanctions from the Entertainment Acts office/police, especially for political plays. Much time is spent running from one office to another, obtaining all the requisite stamps on the papers. The scripts need to be submitted to them every time. She added that there are about two hundred and twenty redundant laws from the time of the British that still continue to hound Indian Theatre. Nothing has been done about it. The most recent example happens to be the arrest of Asmita actors for staging such a play.
    
    Jalabala Vaidya
    

     ‘Street plays are acceptable within the university campus,’ she said. ‘But where are street plays really supposed to be performed? In the streets!’

    There are also restrictions on ticket charges. How are they supposed to sustain themselves?

    Most believe there is an interested audience even now that comes to watch a play if it is intellectually stimulating. Theatre in India may be sick, may be gasping, but is certainly not dead. All it needs is a booster dose from some caring people around.