Monday, 24 August 2015

Anjum Sir Launches the Book- #IAm16ICanRape

IAm16 ICanRape is launched by my Mentor, my Guru, Anjum Rajabali sir smile emoticon
On 14th September, 2013, I went to Anjum Sir's place with a one page synopsis, I had tentatively called it, Juvenile Justice India. It was something that looked like a story or a debate. I told him I have been mulling over this idea that questions JJ system. While I spoke with him, I trembled with anger. He sat across me like the wise father figure as I spoke.
Then he said,
"I am happy to see that you are this angry. The anger is good. You need to channel it in right direction. Rape is a complex subject. As you will start peeling the nature of this crime, you will realize that rape is a final event of a social system that has a much deep seated roots of gender discrimination. Don't fix your story or idea in stone. Don't approach the story with "Kill the Rapist" angle. It is very easy and minimalist to say that. Let yourself understand the subject, and you might be surprised to see your own stand might change."
When my story changed in its nature from-
Kill Aarush Kashyap to
Save Aarush Kashyap, "I know I could not save Subhangi from Aarush, but I also know I could not save Aarush from Aarush." ~ Rudransh (FromIAm16 ICanRape) - I knew that what my mentor meant when he gave me the advice to have trust in the intuitive nature of organic writing.
Later when I wrote 15 page treatment of the work, I again asked Anjum Sir's opinion, He said, "You have improved in your craft, but you are still not letting your characters create your story. You are fixed with plot points."
Again, as a naive writer, I didn't understand meaning of his words. But I also knew that I need to keep them in my mind because, by this time I had realized that I understand deeper meaning of his teaching only in time.
Then, when I started writing the book and reading a wide range of literature on Rape, books like
Against Her Will by Susan Brownmiller.
Men Who Rape: The Psychology of the Offender by A. Nicholas Groth
A Natural History of Rape: Biological Bases of Sexual Coercion by Randy Thornhill
Lucky: A Memoir by Alice Sebold
I Am the Central Park Jogger: A Story of Hope and Possibility
No Matter How Loud I Shout: A Year in the Life of Juvenile Court
And many other titles- I realized what he meant.
One day I called him and said, "Sir, today I understand what you meant when you said the topic of Rape will open a Pandora's box in my mind."
When he opened this book for me and blessed me with his presence for the event, I was choked with emotion. I knew he has been there for me on this long journey as a writer. He was there all these years like a light house.
And what makes him even more special as a person and a Guide is the fact that I am not the only student by whose side he stands like a father figure. He has been there for a whole generation of writers.
They say, give to this world, what you want to get from it. I am sure, Anjum Sir himself walked a lonely road as a writer because when he came in the industry, the way screenplay writers were treated was very different than the way they are treated today. Thanks to the efforts he put to Empower Writers for 20 years. But his presence made the road so much more easier for all of us.
Thank you my Teacher. I am proud of myself that I learnt the Art of Dramatic Writing under your thumb



Wednesday, 12 August 2015

A thought provoking Blog by Rasana Atreya

I FEEL BLESSED THAT I MET RASANA ON THIS JOURNEY.

Being a die hard Jungian I believe in Synchronicity. Synchronicity is a concept created by psychiatrist Carl Jung, which holds that events are "meaningful coincidences" if they occur with no apparent causal relationship, yet seem to be meaningfully related. Today I can vouch for this concept.

While I started writing book IAm16 ICanRape​, all I knew was that I was angry about an incident that took place in my country and I had to do something about it. One of the first people who helped me on this journey are Anjum Rajabali​ sir, who discussed the one page pitch with me and gave me ideas to develop the treatment. To quote his exact words, "When you will start doing research on topic of Rape, you will open a Pandora's Box which exist in Indian society, and you will have to study the whole history of gender discrimination."

Now, he is going to open the paperback of this book. It's a moment of bliss for me.

The second person who helped me most in this journey outside my family is, Rasana Atreya​, a brilliant novelist who became my anchor in the world of published a book. I can't count the number of times, I pinged Rasana, starting my message with , "I have a question"

She kept answering me with patience. I never understood what connects us. Today I know the answer when I read this brilliant blog written by Rasana. It felt to me she has encapsulated my 593 page book in this one page blog. It has the essence of every single thing the book stands for. Today I know that she was meant to help me to create something meaningful- THIS BOOK. There was a Higher Will guiding both of us, making her help me to achieve my goal.

I want to first thank that Higher Will whom I call Soul Of Universe or Almighty and then I want to thank Rasana for being the person she is. She keeps my faith intact in goodness of Feminine Energy who stands by Feminine. These are the women who will change the roll of dice and help world become a better place.

Another pure stroke of luck. My editor for this book Pat Smith​ is another woman who has become a pillar of strength to me. It was just the passion of this idea that brought some wonder people in my life. Thanks everyone.

Time has come, let's join hands!

http://genderlog.com/readings/rape-myths-and-reality/

Tuesday, 11 August 2015

I want to thank Rhiti Bose, the understanding I feel as an author makes the experience worthwhile.

I do feel good when I read a positive review about my book. (Vanity is still very much part of my nature, though each passing day, I work hard to flush it out.) But when I read a review such as this one, I don't feel pride. I feel intellectual connection. I feel the happiness a person experiences when he/she is understood. I know Rhiti Bose didn't just read the book. She went through the pains and joys of the characters who have become my parallel world. Thanks Rhiti. A review like this one makes the whole process worthwhile!

https://rhitibose.wordpress.com/2015/08/11/iam16icanrape-by-kirtida-gautam-a-review/

Monday, 10 August 2015

WHAT MADE ME WRITE MY FIRST NOVEL #IAm16ICanRape

I don’t want to make a claim that I was always this sensitive to the topic of rape as I am today.

I was drinking my morning tea when my husband Mrityunjay asked me in December, 2012.
“Have you heard about this rape that took place on a moving bus in Delhi?”
I had not heard about it as I am not a consumer of print or news media.

More importantly, I neither had any interest in hearing about a rape first thing in the morning. I like to keep myself away from bad news. And then he told me the gruesome details of the rape.

As a woman I don’t think that the brutality and violence of rape is the most important factor of this complex crime. No. The moment someone touches a man or woman against his/her will and consent, that person has already committed a heinous crime. But something about Nirbhaya’s agony seemed as real to me as if it’s an inseparable part of my own psyche.

I remembered an incident when I traveled to Mumbai from Pune in a Volvo and the bus dropped me to Andheri at three in the morning. There were just two passengers in the bus and I was scared beyond words till I didn’t get down. Now, Mumbai being Mumbai, roads are much safer even at three in the morning or at least that is how I perceive Mumbai. So, I heaved a sigh of relief when I got down. 

When Mrityunjay told me about Nirbhaya, I thought, I as a woman have put myself in much more dangerous situations than she did. And yet, here I am, drinking tea, whereas she is fighting for her life. 

I won’t lie. I felt empathy for Nirbhaya, not sympathy but empathy. She was not out there, she was in here. She was me. She was the women I care about. She could be anyone. She didn’t leave my mind. There is a picture on internet. They call it Nirbhaya’s picture, I don’t know if it’s her real picture or not. But I downloaded that picture and kept it in my laptop.

I never thought to write about socio-political matters. So, I kept toying with the idea what should I do? The problem was- my anger and disgust were just not leaving my system. Like many other people, I followed the Nirbhaya case and when in September, 2013 the verdict was passed:

JUVENILE OFFENDER WILL GET THREE YEARS IN REHAB.

Blood in my veins boiled with rage.
I felt, enough is enough!


That was the genesis of my first fiction #IAm16ICanRape. I knew I have to do something in order to stay sane… and in order to feel less angry. 

Monday, 3 August 2015

My conversation with Shiva- The Almighty

These were days of pure panic and anguish. I had bleed on paper to write my book #IAm16ICanRape. 

I was working day and night to market the book but now I was losing patience. I didn't know if what I was doing was right or not. Things were so bad that I used to see women walking on roads and used to think, "Hey girl, why are you not reading my book? It is an important book. It will change your vocabulary about the crime called rape. As a woman it is critical that you give the book a read." 

I am not kidding. Things were that bad. I felt desperate and irritable all the time. 

One day I sat in meditation, and this is what I heard in my mind's ears. I loved the words so much that I put them here in this blog:

(The I in the following lines is the voice of my Almighty, I call Shiva. It's a name I have given to my consciousness that I feel connects me to universal consciousness) 


You have given the best you could give to this universe in the form of this book. Now, it is His time, my time, to return your due. Trust me; He, I, hate to sleep with debt on My head. 

Your book is going to be a medium for you to connect with lot of people. People have suffered the ill-fate of rape. These people are angry and upset and they are going to come back to you and say thanks, good work. It takes something from a writer to cry and laugh for people who don’t exist in real world. But I know you have done it. I don’t see any reason why you should feel anxious the way you do. Have that word called faith in the system, I don’t want you to trust any human system, they are flawed. But have faith in the natural systems. Don’t you think that nature knows things better than you do?

The most courageous act of a human life is the acknowledgment of the fact that you are where you are exactly because you did what you did, good and bad, it is lot of math. 

Every single action you take every day adds to your good or your bad Karma. There is pure math involved in things. I like people who pursue their career with utmost sincerity. I do have lot of respect for Karma-Yogi. You are a Karma-Yogi. Do not doubt for a minute that I am not with you. I am with you every single second of life.


It’s not your wish, it’s My wish that this story should reach to the people of your time. This story didn’t come to you, I brought this story to you. If you have been aware of the process at all, you have sensed how closely I monitored every aspect of your story. Do you really think that the story is the product of your mind? It is the product of My mind. 

Do you think I didn’t feel angst when that 23 years old girl got raped? I am as helpless as Rudransh is in your story. I am Almighty, but I can’t temper with the free will of people. All I can do is to help people bring more awareness in this world. You are working hard to bring that awareness. Trust me, I am with you helping you on your way. When you will feel that on this road, you can see only one trail of footprints, those are the moments when I have picked you up.