Saturday, 27 December 2014

365 Days in Vegas




Once upon a time, a stranger called Jairam Mohan sent me a hello on FB messenger. True to his habit, or fearing I may throw my jutti at him, he came straight to the point. He asked me if I wanted to do the Wordpress Daily Prompt; 365 Writing Prompts with him, for the year 2014. ‘Arrey? Na jaan na pehchaan. And he thinks I’ll shake hands with him and just agree to a year’s writing commitment and company? Banda hai kaun yeh?’ I didn’t say that, though I instantly scrounged his FB profile for naked ladies in orgies and worse, bad grammar. While I found neither, I politely told him the task seemed too daunting to me and Wordpress was to a Blogger what an air plane is to a cyclist. I suggested we rope in more people to keep the prompts/month real. He suggested Sid Balachandran, the cutie pie daddy on a parenting site. I had Rekha Dhyani in mind – sane, sober and sensible.   

Within hours a group chat formally called Project 365 was buzzing and beeping with to-dos, just a few days before 2013 flipped over to 2014. Various social media accounts had to be set, logos designed, invites for guest authors sent and there was no room for even a susu break in sub-zero temperatures. After the namkaran, we four were now a Core Team, and even though we continued to wear our chaddis under our pants, we knew there was a superhero inside each one of us to have signed up for this. A mad, mad superhero!

Mad, because we were four complete strangers agreeing to be faithful to a shared ‘cause’.

Mad, because between families and friends we now had a bunch of prompts to write on every month for 12 months!

Mad, because who has seen tomorrow let alone a whole year for such a massive commitment made public? Oh, the ignominy if one was to quit. And, the extra prompts!

What led me on, despite my husband’s sweetly strict ‘If you join, you should see this to the finish’? That all four of us had the same aim in mind – to write more and to be read even more than before. It is this that made me feel one with Jai, Rekha and Sid and lay to rest my fears that this was indeed not a plan by South India to take over North India but one of pure and secular brotherhood!

And that’s how it remained …

Our tiny chat box was not just for discussing Guest Author posts, our own late lateef ones, asking Jai to write for unloved Open Prompts or Sid to design the world for Project 365. Between good morning and good night, the tiny window became a place we sought, each one of us, to share personal joys or sorrows, troubles or terrific news, or even gossip piping hot in the vine and consumed like hot potatoes. The ‘seen by everyone’ would excite us suddenly, because it meant we were all four there, despite such different day plans and jobs. Oh, I would go to hell if I revealed what all of who all we chatted about but I will say we rightly named our group chat – Vegas (and the new thread Vegas 2.0, since the first one was creaking under its weight). Vegas - because much was supposed to remain in there, as it does. Superhero swear! 

How did the writing go? 

Moods oscillated between ‘Oh! I love this prompt’ and ‘Gah! Someone murder Wordpress, please!’ Somewhere in between were moments of ‘Guys, emergency in family/travel plans/writer’s block. Someone exchange my next prompt, please?’ Every month each one hoped it was their turn to pick the prompts first but there was much order-order in all the chatty disorder, and a discipline sincerely followed. The presence of a couple of Guest Authors each month kept us feeling smug about the trust over 20 co-writers reposed in our Project. So, somewhere between gentle-manners and wildness, workaholic-ism and parenthood, vanity and bossiness, we managed the writing quite smoothly.  And not a day out of the 365 was missed! The pride was enough to make us feel glad that we did what we did. We began with adulation for co-writers and ended up with realizing our own niches and sharpening our own skills. 

Often, friends seemed surprised at my insistence to write for prompts, or even to continue with a Project that, in their eyes, held little value. There was a belief that this was forced writing, and that creative secretions flow best when there isn’t a topic and an impending deadline. But at the end of the day, we all spent much more time writing than talking about it. Somewhere, those 4-5 prompts a month helped – as an exercise in discipline and one in making us make time for what we claimed to be our passion. Only those who have gone through it will realize its value, but then, just how many can for a whole year? A whole year!

Chaddi out or in, it does feel like a superhero feat. To the Core!



I almost forgot … this is my last prompt post for Project 365. It says ‘You’re a Winner!’ which I am in so many ways. It also tells me that I won $1 billion dollars in the local lottery, asking me how I will spend the money.

Honestly? I’d spend all some of it to fly my Core Team to Vegas, the real one. For who else can I thank for leaving me so much richer by so much writing and such good friends? After all, it's not about who became friends first. It's also about who lasted as buddies right till the end.

I will miss Project 365.




[Written for WordPress Daily Prompts : 365 Writing Prompts. The prompt for today was - You’re a Winner - You’ve just won $1 billion dollars in the local lottery. You do not have to pay tax on your winnings. How will you spend the money?]



24 comments:

  1. This is SO GOOD!
    All P365 memories at one place, me being a guest author.
    I'll miss P365 too, and yes we are mad superheroes, indeed.
    What else do I say? :)

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    1. Uff, can't thank the GAs enough, Poonam. Without them we would have either drowned in boredom or under the weight of so many prompts. :D
      What else can I say except a BIG thank you!

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  2. Wonderful idea! Kudos to you four for seeing it right through to the end. Mission accomplished!

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    1. Mission Impossible to Mission Accomplished indeed! :D

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  3. Truly a superhero task! :) Congrats to all of you for successfully reaching the finish line!

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    1. Thanks a lot, Aditi. Yeah, we are celebrating!

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  4. only thing coming in my mind....."great"

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    1. "phew" is the word that comes to my mind. One word. :D
      Thanks, dohit.

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  5. Great memories Sakshi and kudos to the team for completing such an uphill task. Glad to have been a part of Project 365 as a guest author. Loved the prompts, the logos and my special badge. I wrote 5 posts during October and my creative juices flowed like never before. Thank you for the invite and Congrats to the team.
    P.S: Any chance to get a ticket to Vegas as well ;)?

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    1. I am SO glad you were our co-writer, Preethi. I got to know you and your work so well that P365 was a blessing in that sense. October couldn't have been the same without you. :)
      Come along to Vegas. I have a billion dollars. That should fit us all. :D

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  6. Mission accomplished, indeed :) It's only Project 365 that's ended. Our friendship will remain intact. Or so I'd like to believe. It's been a great year. And a lovely lovely post to wind it up.

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    1. Your belief is mine too. Amen to that!
      Thanks, Sid. High-five time! :D

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  7. Wow! It seems like a big feat..Needs a lot of dedication and passion going all the way troughout the year! Great post :-)

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    1. It was, I say the truth. A year is a very, very long time.
      Thank you for being here, Shaifali. :)

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  8. I have been following some of the posts of Project 365 throughout the year. Specially Shivangi's. When I first got to know about the whole idea, I was impressed. I wanted to be a part of it, but then it was already couple of months through 2014. Getting to read how the entire thing started at the first place, seems great.
    Well done, Sakshi and team! :)

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    1. Shivangi writes delightfully. We were super happy to have her guest author for us, Antarik.
      Oh, you should have just pinged us. People kept joining (two backed out too!) till the last few months of the year. Hm, our loss!
      Good to see you here and thank you! :)

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  9. Loove this line, it's not about who became friends first. It's also about who lasted as buddies right till the end.
    Congrats. It's a huge huge achievement which deserves a writing Oscar and Blog Novel for the (S) Heroes that you guys are. The commitment you guys showed must be applauded. Congrats Sakshi. You never cease to be an inspiration as you take us through the journey. Never a dull moment. And, I mean it:)

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    1. That line is true, isn't it, Vishal? :)
      Oscar pata nahi, but certainly patting our backs for holding on and keeping this train chugging though thick and thin.
      And I repeat - you are always too kind. :)

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  10. I thoroughly enjoyed your word-prompt posts. I didn't know the whole story behind this.

    I absolutely loved how you interpreted those word-prompts. Always surprised me. So you guys as a team created a list of those word-prompts?

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    1. I am so happy to hear that you enjoyed my prompts. I used to wring themby their necks to suit my needs. Good to know it was all good. :D
      The prompts for the year were created by Wordpress. We teamed up to carry the challenge from 1st Jan 2014 to 31st Dec 2014. And we did it! :D

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  11. Read it late but I am so glad I read it. This project has changed my perceptions too. Kudos to the core team. It is not an easy job to stay committed to a project of writing for a whole year. I am so glad that I am part of it, even if in a tiny way.

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    1. It did seem like a mountain to climb when we began and a mountain climbed when we draw to a close. :) You were not a 'tiny part', Jas, but an important one! Thank you for co-writing.

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  12. A Herculean effort, and the satisfaction of having completed it must be really something :-) Congratulations to you and your team :-)

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    1. It is really something, but with every completion comes a sigh of relief too. The task at hand was indeed Herculean. Thanks, Amrit.

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