Everyone has a shark (or two) lurking in the depths of their being. Most are harmless. Many are beautiful. Some are dangerous. 


This workshop will help you to locate your inner shark,  learn how best to describe it and, maybe, learn to write a great story about it.

In this workshop, you work with Manjula Padmanabhan to discover your own stories. Manjula is an author, cartoonist and award-winning playwright. Her detailed bio is given below. Chetan Mahajan will support her. The workshop is a set of structured activities – both solo and group – which encourage you to examine your stories and learn from the stories of others. 

This is an interactive program to help would-be writers find stories from their own lives – that are interesting and write-worthy. Our underlying belief is that everyone has a story – or many stories – but most people do not know how to disengage those narratives from themselves. Over three days you will work to discover your own stories.


“Teaching” is something we avoid. Instead, this workshop is a type of guided game- playing, which includes a little performance and little drawing – like in Pictionary. Through all these, everyone learns things about themselves including, but not limited to, writing a coherent, well-formed story. The goal of the workshop is for everyone to come away with one complete and market-worthy story. 


At the outset you can also identify your genre of interest – it could be a short story/children’s story/cartoon/fantasy novel or any other. We’ll keep each participant’s genre-preferences in mind as we work with you. Our aim will be to bring you face-to-face with whatever you have as potential. The format of the workshop will be interaction rather than lecture.


The detailed workshop program is shared below.

Manjula Padmanabhan is so talented, its scary. Fortunately, Manjula isn’t – she’s a lot of fun. Wikipedia describes her as “a playwright, journalist, comic strip artist and childrens book author.” They missed Novelist and Short story writer.
Her play “Harvest” won the Greek “Onassis” award, and was made into a film by Govind Nihalani.
Manjula hosted her first Masterclass at the Himalayan Writing Retreat in December 2019. The ten participants loved the masterclass. They left the retreat inspired by her wisdom, wit, and life stories.
Below are a few examples of her work. 


This residential workshop takes only the first ten accepted applicants on a first-come, first-served basis. The venue is the Himalayan Writing Retreat, which is rated 5-star on both Google and Facebook.


Aug 12-16, 2020  (Tentative)


The Himalayan Writing Retreat, Satkhol Village, Distt. Nainital,  Uttarakhand – 263138. Details on the venue and how to reach are here.

How Much

INR 38000. This price includes all sessions, 4 nights stay (twin shared), all meals and taxes. View our Cancellation Policy here.

NOTE: Single occupancy rooms are sometimes possible subject to availability. However, this event has very high-demand and all our rooms will need to house two people. So we are not offering single-occupancy rooms for this Masterclass.


Click the button below and complete the form there along with a writing sample. We will come back to you within one working day. Only the first ten accepted applicants participate.

Email us your questions at, or call 73035-16665 .


On Day Zero (Aug 12)

You arrive, you chill. However, you will have a brief assignment to complete by the next morning. Topic to be revealed at the venue. We will call this the Workshop Story. Solitary.


Day One: The Workshop Stories are the focus of preliminary exercises. Group.


for lunch.


We play a game that may help us the think about structure and logical flow. Group.


We work on the Workshop Story. If it’s already wonderful, we improve it; if it needs strengthening we build on what there is. Group.


This will take us to the end of the first day.


Day Two: We begin the day with critique and discussion: MP will offer a piece of her own work for demolition by the participants. Group.


After a break, participants will be invited to find their Inner Shark and to write a brief outline. Detailed guidelines will be provided at the venue. Solitary.


for lunch.


Structured discussion of Inner Shark outlines. Group.




We return to the Workshop Story a final time. Group.


Night Assignment: Participants work on extended versions of their Inner Sharks, using the methods/ideas presented during the day. Solitary.


Day Three:
Structured discussion of the extended Inner Shark pieces. Group.


for lunch.


Discussion of style. This will be the only session resembling a lecture – and it will be brief! Group.




between the participants and MP. Group.


Literary Game! To be described at the venue. Group.



Day four: (Aug 16)

Fill out the feedback forms (not enough Nutella?), cry unabashedly into your food at the prospect of leaving, and head out after a salty breakfast.