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The Process & Bios

Notes on "Spool of Life" + "Family Outing"
Abha Iyengar

This is how the collaboration happened, quite fast actually. I came across your call for synergetic transformations and really wanted to send something. My daughter is a photographer and I thought I would ask her, and then thought I would ask another friend of mine in Delhi who is a photographer as well, and then I thought of Gopal and knew he has a wide range of photos and he was also based in Mumbai, not close enough to interact apart from email or chat. So I just sent him an email and things rolled.


Hi Gopal,

Please send me any one of your photos on which I will write a short piece. I want to send it to an online mag as a collaborative work between us. In fact. two unrelated photos may be sent and I will try to write some short piece on them. Please let me know if this is fine and if it is, just send me two pronto. I am not selecting them because then I can call the story 'shots', wan to see if I can write something just like that.



Hi Abha

Here are a couple of random images, 

1. The temple priestess in walled city of Ahmedabad. Her name is Mandakiniben. 

2. This is a normal middle class Gujarati family from South Mumbai. The poorer part. 

Two random images for you. All the best!

Gopal M S


I was so excited about this that I wrote the stories the very morning. Then at night, I sent the stories to Gopal so that he could comment/edit. Etc.

So the images came first, but the selection was his, and I could have changed them but wanted to work with this kind of randomness. The writing followed. I have done other work with his photos, a poem (published online), and a story, (yet to be published). I love working with images and I have found (through my creativity workshops), that they throw up different meanings for different individuals.


Further collaborations and works

An earlier collaborative work published online is:
One themed poem (Clockwise Cat)

Here, I found the photograph so symbolic of how religion separates even when the clay container and the water within it is the same. It is a metaphor for the human soul.

Another piece which is on my personal poetry blog site is:
Then Go, Then Wait

And there is a story I am working on, based on one of his photos, which needs some fine-tuning still.



Abha Iyengar is an internationally published writer and poet. Her work has appeared in Bewildering Stories, Dead Drunk Dublin, Danse Macabre, Conversation Poetry Quarterly and others. She is a member of the ‘Riyaz' Writer's Group at The British Council, New Delhi. Her poem film “Parwaaz” has won a special jury prize at the film festival at Patras, Greece and has been screened to acclaim at various international film festivals. She received the Lavanya Sankaran Writing Fellowship for 2009-10. Her book of poems, titled "Yearnings", is available here. She blogs at Encounters of an Everyday Kind.

MS Gopal (www.msgopal.com) is a freelance photographer and writer based in Mumbai.


back to the collaboration: Spool of Life / Family Outing


. .BluePrintReview - issue 27 - Synergetic Transformations