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“I never had any friends later on like the ones I had when I was twelve. Jesus, does anyone?” Gordie LaChance says at the end of Stand By Me. And, looking back, this very scene became the pivotal point in time when the seed of The Four Boys Club sprouted in my mind. This had been my third viewing of the movie. I was so ecstatic it was finally out on Netflix. Ever since I had first seen it online, in the pre-Netflix era, and then the second time when my local cable showed it, I had been hunting for it. And now with the advent of streaming services, downloads, which is how I had seen it the first time, had become a thing of the past.

Anyhow, right at the end of the movie, when LaChance, writing a memoir of his childhood, says the line that has struck a chord with hopeful many people, a thought formed in my mind. Hey, I was an adolescent once, it said. I remembered what it was like to be a boy and be 15 – the perfect mix of being scared and yet feeling invincible, paradoxical in its very nature. And once this train started rolling, I was surprised how quickly it caught speed. Memories came gushing out, and I felt overwhelmed.

Back then, I was doing short stories, including flash fiction, for national and international literary magazines. Nothing that paid me of course, but, hey, we never got into this whole business for money, did we? Or at least that’s the lie I tell myself, ha ha.

Since these stories I was doing were independent from each other, I thought to write a series. A series of short stories is what I had initially planned, all bound under one, so to speak, umbrella. These stories would be like chapters of a book, or episodes of a show. Back then, the thought of turning it into a podcast hadn’t even occurred to me. I was never a podcast enthusiast. And still, I say this ashamedly, am not; despite my dearest wife’s best efforts to introduce me to some great podcasts.

So, I started writing. Planning, and everything that comes with it – from note making to charting out a course of action – has never been my best friend. In fact, I despise it. Which maybe the reason I flunked my research dissertation back in college.

Anyway, I played it by the ear. Bandem was the first character that came to me, so I wrote The Distraction with him. Then came Shanky, then Mompy and finally Anpag; and, with each episode, they became bigger than themselves. The Distraction and The Day The Chill Dad Died, the first two episodes of the first season, were even published in a couple of magazines. But I realised soon that the excitement of getting published in magazines, something which had captured my interest for most of the previous year, had waned. It was perhaps time to try something else.

And, then, serendipity. Or at least I hope I’m using the word rightly. One evening, as my wife and I were watching Only Murders in the Building – a show I’ve grown to become a massive fan of, especially Martin Short’s character and acting – I thought how cool it would be if there was a show about the four boys on Spotify.

And that was that.

The next few days I spent figuring out how to go about it; familiarising myself with the software, the tech involved, the whole goddamn process (and I've deliberately used the adjective, because it was exactly that) behind it. Playing around with how I wanted to structure these episodes, including finding the right bits of music that serve as interludes, was absolute fun.

At the same time, the writing was progressing steadily. I’ll be honest, the first few episodes did seem directionless. Like I said, I have never been proud of my planning skills, or the lack thereof, and the first few weeks were difficult because nothing seemed in a proper shape. But soon, and I’d like to believe I persevered, things started falling into place. The picture I had in my mind at the start, as vague and lacking clarity as it was, was finally gaining resolution. The characters became strong, plots and side plots started fitting in together well, and, right in front of me, was the first season of The Four Boys Club.

Each time I looked back to that moment when the idea had first occurred to me (watching the ending of Stand By Me), I felt… happy. Not teary-eyed (I've been accused of not having feelings ha ha), but the kind of happiness that's not visible on the outside.


What was merely a seed of an idea had grown into... well, all this. And, at the cost of sounding like I'm beating my own trumpet, I felt proud.

You will note there are parallels between the movie (and the story it’s based on, called The Body by Stephen King), and it may seem the format I adopted – that of four boys – is principally from the movie/book. In all fairness, it is; but by no means have I “stolen” the idea.

I hope the story, at the very least, entertains you; for that is what my intention was. If I was able to, I would consider this whole exercise a success.

Thank you with all my heart,

Shaurya Arya-Kanojia

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