Actually there is no reason for me not to have written this earlier. The more I felt I ought to write it, the less I wanted to. Today, I suddenly asked myself why I was shying away from it… and the pointed tailed one sitting on my left shoulder whispered the P word in my ear with repulsive accuracy. That did it for me. P…? Oh… P as in Procrastination…! 😛

“Some trainer you are..!” he chortled with unholy glee. Damn his impudence…!

And so, here I am.

Ripples the book
(Click on the pic to connect with Ripples Facbook Page)

Ripples is the name of the anthology that contains 48 short stories from 26 writers. One of the stories in the anthology happens to be mine.

I am not going to review the book here, instead, I want to talk about the experience Ripples has been… and continues to be.

I received Prashant Karhade’s (the publisher) mail in July- routed through one of the other writers. I wrote to him to ask if his deadline could be extended as I was travelling. Thankfully, he agreed. I had no clue what I had begun with that mail.

The Ripple Effect began to take hold when Prashant created a Google group for us and everyone began sending in their intro to be published at the end of the of the book. I began to get introduced to these awesome women who were to contribute to the book. I read valiance and confidence in those intros. I saw an indomitable spirit standing tall in each. These women were their own women… they knew how to stand straight with pride and how to bow in humility. And then came the compiled stories.

I began to see the writers more clearly. I saw a world of imagination and emotion laid bare in each story. I saw the confident poise of spirits which did not shy away from laying bare their inner-most fears. I saw compassion underlying the detached- almost ruthless- justice brought to life by means of the stories.

The Ripple Effect really took hold when Prashant began the process of getting the cover page designed. The intensity of the debate, the 200% involvement, the commitment, the solidarity- in short the SPIRIT of the entire Ripples Team was an experience that my pen is inadequate to describe. I knew then that the impressions I had gathered of the team from the intros were no figments of my imagination. In my wildest dreams, I hadn’t expected to find so many giants of spirit all in one place. I had heard of synergy… this was the most astounding synergy held placidly in a bowl. Even now as I type this, I feel the sheer power of that synergy setting my fingers atremble.

In an effort to collect stories that would match, Prashant has managed to unerringly collected a team of people who match flawlessly. The congruent frequency of thought process has created a powerful reverse- reverberation. I get the vision of a bucket full of molten steel. It looks satiny smooth with the radiance of a smile from the heart… yet it trembles with the violence of its benign power. It waits to be poured… shaped… forged. I know it has the potential to be a fulcrum… one that can move the world. It was also then that I realized that being associated with the project was the biggest reward I have received in my life… not for the name and fame… but for the pleasure of having known these people. The depth they have added to the experience of my life will take me eons to compute…

It was while the cover page design was going on… with over 200 mails flooding our mail boxes everyday… that the fusion happened. I don’t know when we became the Ripples Family. We began sharing triumphs and disappointments. What is joy unless it shared by people who KNOW- without words- what it means to you…? What setback can survive the encouragement coming from people who have gained stature that comes after overcoming many adversities…?

I am amazed at the way there is absolute transparency and openness in the Family. When ‘constructive feedback’ is given, it is accepted with an endearingly humble openness. I expected ego clashes- truth be told. I expected people getting angry over petty issues. I expected war-zones. Not only did I not find all that, I have found cooperation, maturity and understanding. Instead of ego-clashes, there is only a benevolent desire to build each other up. Had someone told me it was possible for a group of 29 strangers to bond this way, I’d have scoffed at them.

The most amazing part of the project is that most of us know each other only through the internet. Ripples is the most resounding testimony in the power of the internet. This book was produced from scratch in three months flat. The writers are from all over the globe. This book could not have happened without the internet. In Atlas Shrugged one of Ms Rand’s characters says, “Who needs a fulcrum..? Give me an unobstructed right of way and I’ll show you how to move the world.” I guess internet is that invisible ‘unobstructed’ pathway.

My saga would not be complete without talking about the publishing team. Prashant and Anagha Karhade are a super organized couple. Their commitment to extraordinary quality of publication is brought home to me each time I see the reaction of friends when they hold the book in their hand for the first time. The lightness of the book, the quality of binding are fabulous, the print quality and above all the attractive cover page all speak of that commitment. Prashant’s ability to remain cool and focused has been a phenomenon to witness. Yet, when needed, he is very capable of chewing a large piece off you. I find the trait fascinating. The editor Amit Lele makes me want to take my non-existent hat off. His detailed feedback, his analysis to ensure that every sentence of the story remained loyal to the intent and spirit of the story were an enormous help. I know his feedback helped me learn a lot about story-writing. He is an editor a writer dreams of. He finds time for all this even though he is working elsewhere. Impressive really.

Ripples has made waves in my life. I know it represents a landmark in the lives of everyone associated with the project. From the feedback we have received and continue to receive, Ripples has created a gentle movement in the hearts and souls of all readers. As a reader, I think the appeal Ripples has lies in the sheer magnitude and dimensions of LIFE that breathes in the stories. It is life that jumps out of those pages and settles in your soul. I know the ripples created by Ripples will move the inner world of a reader for years to come… and the reason is simple…

Is there anything more alluring to experience than the myriad facets of life..?

The Ripple Effect