Since 1999

I had heard about Dhiru Mistry only vaguely. When I learnt that he motivated Ashok Jagtap to write a book about his experiences in the film world, I found out about his multi-faceted personality. So when he asked me to write a book about him, I readily agreed. Ideally I would have interviewed him at length and written a biography. However, he suggested that a book be written about his life experiences, sooner the better. Then I had an idea!

Why not make a book of all his Facebook posts, which he writes regularly, describing parts of life story. So, with his help, I obtained all his Facebook posts, about 38,000 lines of text. However, they are in random order, I need to organize them in some way. Hoping that it may help other people, I am writing here the steps I took.

Step 1. Read all the posts to make sure that a book can be created from these. Yes, it can be done.

Step 2. Some posts are very short, just thanking people, or, happy birthday etc. So eliminate all paras of less than 10 lines.

Step 3. Remove all the Gujarati material, it will take too long to translate.

Step 4. Make a word frequency list, ie determine which words occur most frequently. Of course, a, and, the etc topped the list. Ignored them. The most popular word was FILM.

Step 4. Moved all these paras having the word film in them to Chapter 1 FILM.

Step 5. Word frequency on the new file, next word is RAJPIPLA. That is Chapter 2 RAJPIPLA.

Step 6. Continuing in the same way, next chapters are on BOMBAY and VADODARA.

Step 7. Each chapter is about 20-30 pages and we are now left with a file of about 30 pages, call it MISCELLANY.

All this was easy, took me about one hour, did it all in Linux using awk.

Hard work starts after this stage. I have to read everything carefully for spelling, grammar and style. I don’t want to change too much because Dhiru’s personality should be left intact.

I am about half done. Later, I will need to select photos to include, make a Name Index and a Cover.

Wish me luck!

 Now You Know!

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