Three young students from Coimbatore speak of their experience of writing a short story each that has found its way into a collection called Cobalt Blue

Thirteen-year-old Ram Gopal has inscribed the first page of a book called, Cobalt Blue with the words “Congrats to me!” That is because his story is in there. Cobalt Blue is a collection of 27 short stories and is the result of a book-writing project of Delhi Public School (DPS). All the stories in it are written by the students of DPS across India and the book is published by Takshila Publication.

Three of the short stories were contributed by students of DPS Coimbatore: Ram Gopal Hariharan, Riya Narayanan and the youngest, Chitra Shah, a student of class six. The mentors of the project were Ruchira Mittal and Hemant Kumar who were with them from the very first day of the programme.

The selection process began last year in June through a preliminary round which required the participants to write about their summer holidays. Those who made it past the first round had to write about “Last night’s dream”. The final round had a personal interview.

In her short story Understanding Life, Riya gives a fictional touch to a real-life incident. In Ram Gopal’s story, The Bully and the Boy, he writes about a boy Vikram and his brother. Ram Gopal confessed that the story was drawn from his own experience of himself and his brother who are always fighting. But his brother was also the first one to read his story because, “He snatched it from me,” says Ram.

Chitra’s story The Unusual Game is about a ‘fat’ girl who enters a spooky house. “This changes her life forever,” explains Chitra and adds that it is a suspense thriller about some one’s best friend, who remains unseen. Chitra says she does not merely ‘like’ books, but she loves them. She says, “I will continue to write whether I am published again or not.”

Riya says she enjoyed the entire process of working on the story, right from thinking up the plot to writing and rewriting it over and over again. She says: “I will continue writing as my profession but I will always follow my parents’ path as farmers.” For Ram Gopal, “As I am good in maths I want to be a mathematician like Ramanujam.”

The three DPS students read voraciously and list Enid Blyton, J.K Rowling and the Percy Jackson series among their favourites.

Chitra Venkateswaran, Head Mistress, Delhi Public School, Coimbatore.

The book-writing project was held across Delhi Public Schools in Patna, Pune, Ludhiana and Coimbatore. Three of our students were selected after an intensive session mentored by Hemant Kumar, author of Prey by the Ganges and freelance writer and Tarot Card Reader, Ruchira Mittal. Hemant and Ruchira spent an entire week with the three kids from 7.30 a.m. to 1.30 p.m. drawing them out, stimulating their imagination and helping them flesh out the characters for their stories. Ram Gopal, Riya and Chitra actually missed classes to work on this project. But, of course, they are all bright students and they were allowed to do so because we knew they would not allow their grades to fall. The children worked hard. They wrote and rewrote their draft many times. Our art teacher, Ilakiya Duraibalan, sat in on the sessions and she made the illustrations for the stories. We are extremely proud of these students.