Meet the amalgamators of Photos & Fiction: WordMaverick of January 2013
The Stopover has been one of the most exciting debut books I happen to read in the past six months. It not only introduces a talented photographer and two exciting story writers but also a genre itelf – Photofiction. The art of story telling through pictures was somewhere lost to children books; we adults after a certain age think it beyond our maturity to read books with pictures but these guys changed it with their debut. When the stories narrated are about the exotic cultures and places of India, no one dare pass this Stopover as a child’s play. inKonversation with the photographer-writer duo of Ram Prakash and Deepa Pinto – The first ever duo WordMaverick of the month at The Tales Pensieve. It is a great start to the year.
Congratulations on the debut. How was the unique idea of The Stopover conceived?
Deepa : Thanks Reshmy. Ram is the brain behind the concept. His flair for storytelling combined with his passion for photography gave rise to “Photo-Fiction”
Ram: Apart from clubbing my passions, it was important to rekindle the enthusiasm for book reading, which is fading away. Just as illustrations enticed us as kids into the world of books, I was confident photographs in fiction would bring grown-ups back to book reading.
Tell us about the other Ram & Deepa, who are not the writers.
Ram : Deepa is a dreamer, loves life and is passionate about everything she does.
Deepa : Ram is a “darer”. He makes his own path and dares to follow it.
How did writing first happen to you?
Ram : When I was a kid we used to have a portable attractive red typewriter at home. Was quite fascinated by it. Guess just to use it, I started typing stories and pestered everyone at home to read it.
Deepa : I always had a passion for languages. Been writing poems on and off since my school days. So when Ram invited me to join The Stopover, I jumped on board.
The book captures some very intrinsic nuances of the country, how did you go about the research for the book?
Ram: The idea was to find a canvas, a backdrop which was different and visually appealing. This came through the choice of subject/groups. Once we finalised it, we let the stories emerge through our interactions with them.
Deepa : We simply stopped over at these places, opened our eyes, hearts and minds. And experienced.
Which books have you enjoyed reading the most in the past couple of years?
Deepa : Quite embarrassed to admit that the voracious reader in me had to take a backseat, the last couple of years, letting the writer take over the wheel.
Ram: Am a big fan of Paulo Coelho. Read all his books more than once. Other than that, I am more into non-fiction these days.
How has the response to this new genre of photo-fiction been?
Ram: I need to answer this in two parts. The response from the industry – we were quite excited about this new concept but the very newness was the issue with the publishers. Most of them preferred the tried & tested.
Fortunately for us, the readers are very different from the ‘custodians’. Quite a few people have written to us about how they love this novel concept. The critics give it a thumbs up too.
Writing is said to demand high levels of disciple. How has it worked out with your schedule?
Deepa : At Max Mueller Bhavan where I teach German, my work hours are flexible. Besides, during the making of the book, I took a break. Everything else was worked around it. As for Ram, his time in the last couple of years has been dedicated solely to The Stopover.
How did the journey of your manuscript from your laptop to a hardcopy go?
Ram: That journey by itself could be made into a book 🙂 Jokes apart, it has been a long stony path. My advertising background helped a great deal though. Friends in the industry played a major role in finalising the cover design, the layouts, production aspects like size of the book, quality of paper to name a few. So when we presented the book to publishers, it was as good as the final book.
What next on the literary front?
Ram : The Stopover 2, of course. We intend having a series of books with the central theme of looking beyond what the eye sees.
Your words of wisdom for newbie writers.
Ram : We are infants in the writing world. Too young to advise 🙂