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Writers Workshop Connection

In 2004, Writers Workshop published Labyrinth and I transitioned from a writer to an author.

Initial thrill of being able to save my snippets of creativity for posterity aside, I discovered Professor Lal as much as he discovered the author in me.

I generally steer clear of cliches - avoiding them as vehemently as a sensible motorist avoids the Kolkata streets targetted by political rallies.

However, I can't put it in any cliche free way - it was a life changing expeirence.

Professor not only provided the encouragement to a young author, already snubbed by semi-literate readers of mammoth publishing houses as they went about their customary job of sending rejection slips without bothering to open manuscript packages, he also inspired me to things previously beyond dreams and very much within the bound of nightmares.

He handed me a contract with such exquisite calligraphy that even an exuberant eager author like me hesitated to spoil the artistry with my uncouth scribble of a signature.

He sent me letters in longhand. Not only did he manage to make the mundane day to day communication sound poetic, he made them look like works of the finest art.

I know a friend of mine who had gone to the shrine at 162/92 to fix the great man's computer and had photocopied the signed cheque to preserve the sublime strokes of the pen that had penned the amount and signature.

This achieved the impossible. I still hang on to my trusted Compaq Presario for my fictional forays and longer letters, but for the shorter informal notes, I do use the long ignored pen.

And when Professor got installed in the Wonderland of the Internet, I was glad to have played a leading role ... to make the fifty years of service to writers known to the world wide web.

During this association, I heard him talk about his grand project - The Mahabharata. One on one and during his Sunday talks. The insights played a leading role in the making of Big Apple ~ Two Bites, the most philosophical of my writings till date.

Through the Professor, I have met a number of people - not only from the lietrary circles, but from all walks of life. And the lessons that the association has taught me is jisted in the article I have added below. This was written for the wonderful collection of essays by luminaries (and some mortals like me) entitled Lessons on Lessons - which deal with the lessons people have learnt from the autobiographical work Lessons by Professor Lal written after his brush with death in 1989.

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