Lakshya is a storyteller, so he started a podcast where he could talk about stories - some real ones, some made-up ones, some inspiring ones - while also talking to different kinds of storytellers about why and how they do what they do. New episodes on weekends (mostly). Produced by Launchora.
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Lakshya is a storyteller, so he started a podcast where he could talk about stories - some real ones, some made-up ones, some inspiring ones - while also talking to different kinds of storytellers about why and how they do what they do. New episodes on weekends (mostly). Produced by Launchora.
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.
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".
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!
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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".
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.
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".
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.
Dialogues are like clothes. You like the ones that make you feel fancy and look "good". But you really prefer the ones that make you feel comfortable - that make you feel like "you". This episode (#87) of Storytalking With Lakshya starts with me feeling insecure about my “radio” voice. It ends on a cliffhanger where I whisper something into your ear. However, the meat of the episode is in the middle - where I walk/talk you through the progress I made with another two scripts - working titles “Dismantle With Care” and “Romance Is Dead” - for the upcoming “Play Me Life” show.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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').
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.
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...
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).
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".
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.
“Kaash ke tere naal beh ke / Ro lainda tere dukh lai ke / Bol tere khwaabaan di / Dor kiththon tutti eh." Gurpreet wants people to talk about sadness and pain, the same way they talk about happiness and love, and he shares that message through the songs he writes. In this episode (#76 of Storytalking with Lakshya) I spoke to Gurpreet Saini - lyricist, poet, actor, storyteller - about his journey from a theatre group in DAV College Chandigarh to writing the full album of the Anil Kapoor - Sonam Kapoor starrer 'Ek Ladki Ko Dekha Toh Aisa Laga' (2019).
"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.
“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.
“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.
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.
“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.
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.
“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.
On episode #45 of Storytalking, Lakshya speaks with Tanya S, aka 'airlesspromises' - an Indian-Irish poet/writer/illustrator who Launchora is currently running a collaborative storytelling adventure with on Instagram. Tanya tells Lakshya about her upbringing, how she found her creative voice, why she writes about nature and the different stages of falling in love, what advice she has for aspiring poets, why she loves storytelling, what inspires her, and why and how she published her first book 'Roots Of Chaos' (which you can buy wherever books are sold online!).
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.
In episode #30 of Storytalking, Lakshya talks to David Peterson, a ‘conlanger’, aka a language creator, who has created languages for several TV shows and movies (Game Of Thrones, The 100, Netflix’ Bright, Thor: The Dark World - to name a few). David talks about the art of language invention, how he got into it, what significance languages have in society and history, how to preserve the ones that might go extinct, and how he works with the creative team behind these tv shows and films to create fictional languages. David is the author of ‘Living Language Dothraki’ and ‘Art Of Language Invention’.
In episode 29 of Storytalking, Lakshya speaks with George Supreeth, an illustrator and the Founder of Idea Sutra. George shares stories of his wins and lessons through his career in the creative arts, why he created an 'idea' agency, how he put together a nationwide visual arts community, and what got him to create 'art interventions' at pre-schools.
In episode #28 of Storytalking, Lakshya takes a break from the usual schedule to tell you about what's going on with Launchora and what we're working on now - with some very specific spoilers about what you'll see in the upcoming Launchora Store. Sign up to get a limited-time offer by clicking on the 'Shop' button on our website.
In episode #27 of Storytalking, Lakshya talks to Dave Pollot, an artist and painter from New York. Lakshya and Dave talk about Dave's influences - Star Wars, The Simpsons, Doctor Who, Rick and Morty - and how he finds a way to integrate things he loves into old thrift store paintings. They also geek out over all of those things, as Dave shares insights about how he got started, and what he's working on right now. You can check out Dave's paintings at www.davepollot.com and also follow him on Instagram and Facebook @DavePollotArt.
In episode #26 of Storytalking, Lakshya speaks with Deepak Shirur, an Executive Chef at Taj Resorts in Madikeri, India. Deepak shares insights into how he experiments with food, why Indian culture and food are world-renowned, how globalization is erasing old recipes, the books he's currently writing, and how cooking is just like any other art form that requires creativity with a topping of hit and trial.
In episode #25 of Storytalking, Lakshya speaks with Jai Unudurti, a journalist and graphic novelist from Hyderabad. Jai writes about everything from comics to culture to science fiction. He talks about his childhood and inspirations, his early career in advertising, how he got into writing graphic novels, his collaborations with different kinds of artists from around the world, and what he’s working on now. His books “Hyderabad: A Graphic Novel” and “Bangalore: A Graphic Novel” are available on Amazon.
In episode #24 of Storytalking, Lakshya speaks with writer-director Sudhish Kamath. Sudhish has been making movies for 18 years, and the episode covers pretty much all of it - starting from his first film and everything that went into making (and unmaking) it, his second film called Good Night Good Morning, the collaborative film he did with 10 other directors, his latest film which will be coming out this year, the next project he’s working on right now, and how he manages to keep his creativity alive through all of it. This episode is in partnership with Flickside.com.
In episode #23 of Storytalking, Lakshya speaks with Vidyun Sabhaney, a comic book writer who specializes in nonfiction comics. Vidyun talks about how she got interested in comic journalism, why is she drawn toward this form of storytelling, how she got started, how she makes nonfiction stories engaging and interesting, and how she put together her book ‘First Hand Graphic Non-fiction from India’, which you can find on Amazon.
In episode #22 of Storytalking, Lakshya talks to a (former) Launchora family member - Samia Mehraj, who is now a Young India Fellow at Ashoka University. They discuss what she’s studying and writing about these days, what it was like to grow up in Kashmir, how she found her inner storyteller, and what she plans to do next.
In episode #21 of Storytalking, Lakshya talks to himself! That's right - in the first of this newly-formed but may never happen again series he calls 'Just Lakshya', Lakshya asks himself questions that you've sent in, and then he answers them. Questions like - who are you? Why do you do this? How do you make stories up? Come for the self-reflection, stay for the surprises.
In episode #20 of Storytalking, Lakshya speaks with Vishal Furia, the director of ‘Lappachappi’ - a fantastic marathi-language horror film. Vishal shares stories of why he loves movies, how he got started in the business, how he learned filmmaking on the job, what it was like to make his debut film, and why horror is a perfect genre for telling stories with a social message. This episode is in partnership with Flickside.com.
In episode #19 of Storytalking, Lakshya sits down with Anupam Arunachalam, a 29 year old comic writer and illustrator from Delhi. Lakshya and Anupam discuss favorite comics / graphic novels, how to decide what medium to tell which story, why comics are a huge part of today’s entertainment, and how Anupam wrote and illustrated his debut book: Tooth and Nail, Fur and Scale (available on Amazon!), a collection of short stories that explore - in really creative ways -monsters and creatures from Indian mythology.
In episode #18 of Storytalking, Lakshya talks to Rameez Shaikh, a 24 year old writer from Mumbai whose stories talk about Indian society and culture. Rameez shares stories of how he learned how to write on the job, why he writes about socio-political issues, how he became a ‘male feminist’, the process of ‘unlearning’ outdated customs and beliefs, how he finds positivity and hope in this broken world, and where he’s going next.
In episode #17 of Storytalking, Lakshya sits down with Abihshek Shankar, a 25 year old singer / songwriter / musician based in Delhi. Abhishek shares stories of how he got started in music, how he writes and finds the inspiration to produce new sounds, the struggles and insecurities that come along with being a musician and being in a band, and how he composed his first single ‘Like a River’ (which you can listen to at the end of the episode!).
in episode #16 of Storytalking, Lakshya sits down with Diksha Bijlani, a 21 year old spoken word artist from New Delhi. Diksha shares stories from her childhood growing up in a close-minded small town, what influences her to write about society and equality, how she turns personal demons and challenges into words to inspire and help others, and the cost vs benefit of being vulnerable on stage.
In episode #15 of Storytalking, Lakshya talks to Daria Golab, a 28 year old artist from Poland, and the newest artist to join the Launchora family. Daria tells Lakshya about what led her to quit architecture and become an artist, how she taught herself to draw and illustrate, how she spent an entire year practically locked in a room and practicing her craft, and what it’s like to be an artist in the time of social media. Daria’s artwork is available for everyone in the community to use as story covers.
In episode #14 of Storytalking, Lakshya speaks with Maria Lourdes, aka Missmelancholia, a college student from Manila, Philippines and a spoken word artist. Lourdes shares stories of how she got into performing spoken word poems, how writing has helped her deal with melancholy, and gives Lakshya an insight into how millennials finds inspiration and their creative voice, while also encouraging him to bring community short films to Launchora.
In episode #13 of Storytalking, Lakshya speaks with Kit Nadado, a 28 year old high school teacher from the Philippines. Kit tells Lakshya about how he got into teaching creative fiction and nonfiction, about his childhood that inspired his story Aunt Ely's Duster (featured in The Storyteller), how he uses Launchora in the classroom with his students, and what he's learned about himself by teaching storytelling.
In episode #12 of Storytalking, Lakshya speaks with Monica James, a writer / poet / filmmaker from San Francisco. Monica shares her experiences with telling nonfiction stories about women’s issues in India, co-authoring a novel about invisible libraries, how she uses her passion for storytelling to give a megaphone to silent voices, and the documentary she’s working on right now.
In episode #11 of Storytalking, Lakshya sits down with Armaan Kapur, a 26 year old writer from Delhi, India. They talk about the allure vs illusion of the artist, how to measure one’s own ‘success’ as a writer, how he’s putting together the novel he’s currently writing, and so, so much more.
In episode #10 of Storytalking, Lakshya sits down with 'fake name', aka Sara, an 18 year old writer from Gurgaon, India - and Launchora's newest intern. They talk about what it's like to work at Launchora, how Sara deals with being a writer who also happens to be going through depression, and whether it's possible to wear your personality on your sleeve in today's digital society.
In episode #9 of Storytalking, Lakshya talks to LC Jarrette, a 25 year old poet from Philippines. LC tells Lakshya about how she got inspired to write poetry after seeing injustices in her country, and they also discuss how to construct a science fiction short story from just a phrase.
In episode #8 of Storytalking, Lakshya chats with Khen Ramos (aka Walking Contradiction), a 19 year old student from Cebu, Philippines. They discuss favorite stories, how to create characters from real people and experiences, and break down how Khen puts together his stories and the messages behind them.
In episode #7 of Storytalking, Lakshya’s guest is Abigail Liagiba, she’s 16 and from the Philippines. Abigail is our youngest featured storyteller yet in LSP. Abigail talks about her poems, what it’s like for her to share these stories about her life and experiences, and she also asks Lakshya some personal questions about why he can’t write poetry.
In episode #6 of Storytalking, Lakshya talks to Launchora's art director - Lucie Salgado, a 24 year old multi-talented-multi-media artist from Brazil. They discuss the writing process, the creative force, the cosmos, and how our search for a meaning in this universe fuels our creativity.
In episode #5 of Storytalking, Lakshya talks to Rio Baliling, a 20 year old poet from the Philippines, who wrote "Poetry Between The Lines" (featured in the Fall 2017 issue of The Storyteller on Launchora). Lakshya and Rio discuss the purpose of poetry, how it helps people, and how tough it can be to put your soul into words for everyone to see.
In episode #4 of Storytalking, Lakshya’s guest is Micaella Dato, a 26 year old microbiologist from Manila, Philippines. Micaella wrote a poem called “Til The Internet Connection Do Us Part” which was featured in the Fall 2017 issue of the storyteller, and is also available as a Listen story. Her Guide is ‘Freeing Your Words With Free Verse Poetry’. You can experience all three on Launchora.
In episode #3 of Storytalking, Lakshya catches up with Brittany Zachariah, a 32 year old storyteller residing in Kerala, India. Her story ‘Beats Of Wings’ was featured in the Summer 2017 issue of The Storyteller. Brittany and Lakshya talk about why she wrote Beats Of Wings, her favorite books and writers, and how she deals with life in another country and a new culture by writing about it.
In episode #2 of Storytalking, Lakshya talks to Nayanika Dey (aka Jessica Day), a 19 year old storyteller from Kolkata, India. Her story ‘Broken Pastels’ was featured in the Spring 2017 issue of The Storyteller. Lakshya and Nayanika discuss favorite writers, criticism, writers’ block, and how “people are walking stories”.
In the first ever episode of Storytalking, Lakshya talks to Lynn Cornelis, a 21 year old storyteller from Antwerp, Belgium. Her story ‘To The Silent Ones’ - was featured in the Spring 2017 issue of The Storyteller. Lakshya and Lynn talk about her inspirations and writing process, how she uses storytelling to heal.