Once upon a time, a man decided he was going to be a writer.

It took him two years of his life to write a book.

It took him another two to get a publisher to accept it.

A few seasons went by.

One day, the man found out his book had been published.

Because a publishing type had put up a picture of herself posing with his book.

She had got his name wrong.

But the photograph had 327 likes.

For her sari.

Once upon a time, there was a woman who wanted to be part of a famous literary festival.

But she didn’t know how to get there.

So she decided she would pray.

After severe penance, God appeared before her.

“What is it you want, my child?” said God.

“I want to be part of the XYZ Literature Festival, Lord,” she said with folded hands.

“Can you write?” god said.

The woman shook her head.

“Can you read?”

The woman nod-shook her head.

“Have you ever felt...or seen...a book?”

The woman giggled embarrassedly.

“Okay,” said god. “Go forth and be a moderator.”

Veda Vyasa and sage Valmiki were sipping coffee in the authors’ lounge at XYZ Lit Fest.

“Feeling nervous?” said Vyasa.

“A bit,” said Valmiki.

“Why?” said Vyasa.

“My editor informs me sales have plateaued,” said Valmiki. “I’m wondering if they’ll push the sequel. I’ve written about the twins, remember?”

“Don’t worry,” said Vyasa. “It’ll all be cool.”

“How come you’re so relaxed?”

“Aamir bought the film rights for my book. I’m going to be huge in China,” Vyasa said.

“Well, lucky you,” said Valmiki sardonically.

“Chill. I’ll WhatsApp Amish,” said Vyasa. “He owes me one. Let’s get him to tweet about your new book.”

“Let’s talk about this later,” said Valmiki. “Gotta rush.”

“What’s the hurry?”

“Karan Johar’s session is on in five.”

In what he thought was a publishing coup, a Delhi publisher signed up a popular B-List showbiz-type for a book.

She was the special invitee for their sales conference. So what if they had lost spiritual guru Swami Nikrushtananda’s book in the bidding war, they had a sure-shot hit on their hands. Distributors cheered.

The B-List actress did a small, tasteful dance to one of her few hits. Everyone cheered some more.

When time came for the release of the book, the publisher had a brainwave.

Why not invite an A-List “Special Appearance Dance Actress” as chief guest? After all, two Bollywood types were better than one.

As expected, the book release was a smash hit. There was a huge turnout from the press.

The next day, the papers were full of pictures and interviews.

Of the “Special Appearance Dance Actress”. And her forthcoming book with a rival publisher.

Not too long ago, a rakshasa prayed to Shiva.

After years of rigorous penance, Shiva appeared before the rakshasa.

“I am pleased with your devotion and dedication, son,” said the god. “What is it you wish for?’

“Oh, lord,” said the rakshasa, overcome with joy. “Make me invincible.”

“What exactly do you mean by invincibility?”

“In my next birth, I should be immune to any weapon made by man or god. I should be able to focus on my task, no matter what is happening around me.”

“Ah, I see what you mean,” said Lord Shiva. “Do you know what the most powerful weapon in the world is? More powerful than swords, tridents or astras?”

“No, my lord.”

“It is shame,” said Lord Shiva. “If you are immune to shame, you are invincible. I will grant you the boon of shamelessness in your next birth.”

“Dhanyosmi, my lord,” said the rakshasa gratefully, falling at Shiva’s feet. “Dhanyosmi.”

In his next birth, the rakshasa was born an Indian writer.

After the dismal failure of his first two well-researched books, a writer decided he had only one option.

To fulfil his dream of being a literary success, he decided he would take the best available shortcut. He would get into the film industry.

His first job was as driver to Jhilmil Andrews, the hot new B-Lister who was going places.

As a rear-view-mirror watcher, the former writer had a ringside view of the exciting goings-on in the young actress’s life.

The writer decided to use this material for his next, tell-all book.

One day, as the driver was polishing the latest addition to the actress’s fleet of cars, a BMW Sports – a gift from a politician – he thought he saw a familiar face in the waiting area.

And, lo, who but the publisher of his two books!

The writer-turned-driver rushed to the publisher.

“Ah,” he said bitterly. “Guess you’ve come to sign Jhilmil up for a fat book deal.”

“I wish...” said the publisher. “I’m actually here for the job of cook.”

Krishna Shastri Devulapalli is a failed child actor. His first and only role was chopped off by a cruel editor. He undergoes therapy to this day for his morbid fear of editors.