Picture by: @nomadwanderer
Ever since Phil Collins came into my life, this song title has fascinated me. So here I am, borrowing from @nomadwanderer’s lens… She takes the pictures, i tell the story… Let’s see where this takes us…
Project Picture Stories: 1
Ground rules for the journal:
- Write every day, even if you have not written for the novel, write as to why?
- Tell yourself the truth.
- Write about the influences. Film, music, books, art or people that triggered off the want to write.
- Thou shalt not lose passion
- Thou shalt not forget the goal. A finished book by end of December
- Thou shalt ignore people telling you, you cannot do it
- Start the first day by reading random pieces written before.
Enough random thinking. It will still continue, but from today, the blog will see posts about creating my second novel. I plan to do the following things by the year end:
- Be brutally honest about myself, to myself:
Satyadev Dubey once told me over a cup of chai at MIG club, ‘Lie to the world, but don’t ever make the mistake of lying to yourself,’ It’s about time I took that advice seriously. I am honest with myself but to put it down in words is to crystalize it, frame it up and make it permanent. I am not going to be scared of it.
- Delete the delete:
Negative self- image might help me improve and all, but the negativity about my own work makes me destroy most of the things that I write. From now on, delete does not exist. I will write, and however crappy I think my writing, I will revisit it later and craft it to reduce its level of mediocrity.
- Worker harder on the hard work:
Working hard is simply not enough. I will work harder at working harder.
- Reflections can be beautiful:
Maintain a writers’ journal so I can reflect on the process of writing.
Being nervous about sharing my work is bad for my health. And a lady with bitten nails doesn’t exactly look gorgeous. It’s my work, I will share it. So what if someone hates it!
- Do Doddle Do:
I am always guilty of talking rather than doing. I won’t just write these things, I will do them.
Off to start with the second novel. To piece together silly little pieces of the puzzle I have strewn across the different corners of my mind. To piece them together, to bring alive each character and to be the schizophrenic writer I love being. I am off to be restless, to explore where the story goes and where it comes from, to feel the pulse of each character and to be haunted, consumed and bewildered by the story I want to tell. And my readers, darlings, you have a choice, to be involved in this mad mad mad journey over the next God knows how many days. If it sounds too boring, let me know. I’ll sneak in a fun bit or two, but I really *need* to do this.
Let the madness begin: drumroll!
Searching for a new horizon
Beyond the sea, beyond the one I see now
Painted a new colour
Scented with a new odour
Of sweat and tears
Hard days and hard nights
Proving myself yet again
A new struggle, a new future
A new present
But the past remains the same
The past is me,
The past is who I am
And what defines what I’m meant to be…
Filed under: creative writing, Poetry | Tagged: ambition, beyond, creative writing, dreams, future, hard work, horizon, life, now, past, personal, poem, Poetry, present, random, reflection, thoughts, writing | 1 Comment »
A continuation of the earlier post
It was one of those mornings where he hated waking up. He was dreaming of something vague but he wasn’t sure. He forced himself up anyway. He walked to the balcony and glanced at the sky searching for a hint of sunlight. The dull sky totally matched his state-of-mind.
Closing his eyes, he took in a deep breath, looking within for inspiration. Suddenly he heard someone honk right under his window. She came to his mind. The tiny girl trying to maneuver her big car in the homeward bound traffic. He couldn’t stop thinking about what would have happened, had he knocked on her window. He couldn’t help but wonder how many ‘what if’s marked has life.
What if he had knocked on her window, what if she’d have smiled back and said ‘hey’, what if she thought he was a creep and looked away. The ‘what if’ was making him restless, so he put on his shoes and stepped out to take a walk. And just then the first rain of the season poured down on him. Bringing with it, he scent of wet mud and lush greens of the seasons.
She had driven all the way across town for a meeting, which didn’t happen eventually. The terrible traffic wasn’t helping her foul mood. She was sick of her being stuck in first gear. Her knees were hurting out of the excessive driving. The tiny rickshaws kept cutting into her lane, adding to her agony. She just wanted to get home and rest.
She didn’t notice the guy in the car next door look at her. She tried to focus on getting some song on the radio, but they were just playing songs she didn’t care about. She rested her head on her steering wheel in frustration.
He couldn’t take his eyes off her, and he knew it was rude to stare, but she was adorable. She was restless in her big huge car, shifting gears even when the car was stationary. He felt a strong urge to just roll down his window and knock on hers. He shook off the thought and smiled. He forced himself to look away. She was just driving a car next to his, she could be married or she could be a mother of 5 kids. He wasn’t the type to flirt with random girls. In fact, it was a long time since he had checked out a girl even.
While he was lost in his thoughts, she had driven away… He looked at where her car had been and shrugged. What if he had knocked on her window?
The morning was unsure of the season. The sun shone bright enough to evaporate the dew drops, but the light breeze blew cool air to ruffle up the leaves. Morning walkers paced down the road, carefully dodging the parked vehicles, stray dogs and other morning walkers. Some youngsters, very few of them woke up to walk early in the morning anyway, ran along choosing the blaring music on their ipods over the light twitter of early morning birds.
I observed this scene everyday. Some came regularly, some showed up one day and never again. But they all had their reasons.
Some strangers had become friends over the innumerable walks in the ‘walkers’ lane’. I loved following the gang of oldies that only increased each day. They had long stopped walking for exercise. Under the pretext of exercise, they came scavenging for a social life. Retired, lonely and bored at home, they found friends here. Each day, they scanned the newspapers, news channels to look for the topic of discussion for the next days’ ‘morning walk’.
They saw the world from their point of view, where the youngsters were rude, the politicians were corrupt and prices way too high… This sounds familiar, oh yes, I was visiting one of the neighbourhood homes, and there was some song playing that said something about Sunscreen. This gang had literally lived through some of those lyrics.
The totally opposite wonder of this gang was a young couple, who came dressed for the walk. Elaborate sport gear with tick marks all over, earphones plugged in and they walked to the rhythm of whatever it was that played on their iPods. Time to time they looked at each other and smiled.
They never spoke, they walked and they smiled. They never had the time to observe other walkers. They would be busy walking and smiling. They looked like a happy lot.
On the other hand, the lady with the jewellery never smiled. She walked alone, everyday for an hour. She, too saw the familiar faces. Unlike the couple, she observed them, but never did a smile escape her lips. If someone did smile, she would look away. In fact the over friendly woman, I’ll tell you more about her later, once made an attempt to befriend her and walk with her. But the lady cut her off and walked away.
The over-friendly woman walked everyday for more than an hour and a half. Her walking companions kept changing through the morning, but she had a jolly good time walking. You’d think she’d slow down to catch her breath, but some lungs she has. She walks and speaks at the same steady peace. She was always accompanied by an entourage of youngsters who seemed to enjoy her talks. They came to her with their agonies about love, career, money and many more. Being the older and the wiser one, she happily sorts things out for them. They love her company and make time to rise up for the morning walks.
Am I the only one getting bored with this whole routine? Like many other things, observing them all through the morning was very interesting in the beginning. But now, now I am bored. I know what I need to know, but I wonder what kind of a life they lead after their morning walks.
I am too weak to follow them along to their homes, many of them drive to the walkers’ road you see. But I want to know more. I know enough about the old men and women, they don’t excite me. The young couple who keeps smiling does. They drive to the walk everyday, I assume they live far away. She is pretty, she is slim, dusky complexion, expressive eyes. She is pretty. He is tall and well built, intense face, with eyes that rarely express. She is the one who drives when they come, but he drives away after the walk. They have struck a balance, or are they trying to strike a balance?
I wish I could follow their car. I wish I could get into their car, but not many people welcome stray dogs in their car…
Here goes, I am publishing the first chapter of my novel on my blog. This is the reason why I have been so irregular with the blog… Dying for some feedback
OneStop was a noisy place in the calm by-lanes of Bandra. People just poured in to buy groceries, clothes, make-up, jewellery, electronics, food, films and music or just to walk through the maze of shops, making wish-lists. The perfume section was the most popular section and everybody seemed to be fond of the witty young salesman, who could boast of a special talent. Rahul Rajgopal could tell people by their perfumes. Almost everyone coming to the mall was sure to succumb to Rahul’s charm and drift into his section and most of them almost always came back.
There was one person though, who in spite of being a regular shopper at the mall, had never ever come into his section. Not that he hadn’t tried, but she just never succumbed to his charm. She must have been living in the vicinity, because she came often and at odd times.
Today she was walking directly towards him. He shrugged it off….She might be wandering looking for some other section, she never bothers with this section, he thought as he started rearranging the perfumes on the counter.
“I am looking for a perfume for a 35-year-old man.”
A soft female voice said to him in a rather rude, uninterested way. He looked up and there it was; the face that had been intriguing him since a last couple of months. He couldn’t believe the hostility of the voice. “I am in a bit of a hurry so show me something quickly.” She said as she fiddled with her purse, trying to look for something.
“What sort of a perfume would you want, Ma’am?”
She looked up from her cell-phone, “I just told you; anything for a 35-year-old for his birthday.” Nobody spoke to Rahul in a rude way and Tanya was hurting his ego.
“Well there are these perfumes which suit most 35 year old men, this one,” he said spraying the perfume into her face, “is for calm, collected persons, while this one is for those who are sort of young at heart. Yes and this one here is for sporty sort of people and…”
“Just give me something for someone extroverted, funny and romantic.” Tanya interrupted before Rahul could spray another whiff on her face. She wondered why he wasn’t using the tester strips.
“How about this one? It might be perfect. It has an amazingly sharp whiff, which doesn’t shock people approaching the person wearing it, but calms them down. This perfume is for people who like to be with a lot of people.” He held out a strip for her as if he had read her mind. He watched her face as she took in the fragrance. There was a hint of a smile, but she opened her eyes and the smile was gone, as if it had never been there. “Good. Wrap it up. Fast” He took a box off the shelf and began wrapping it, still staring at her. Her choice of perfume had left an odd sinking feeling in his stomach.
As he carefully folded the wrapping paper around the box, he thought about the person the perfume was for. She really cared for this man. He knew enough from his experience that women bought this perfume for the men in their lives. Was this man her husband? Not possible, there’s no Mangalsutra or Sindoor , but then most Indian girls never wore it anymore anyway. No ring either. Probably just a boyfriend… His chain of thoughts was broken by her cold request.
“Write the card out for me, Happy Birthday, Ravi Bhaiyya .”
With a smile across his face he wrote out the card and as he handed her the box, he looked at her face, searching for a smile, but it remained expressionless, as she grabbed the gift and handed him her credit card before turning away starting a conversation over her cell-phone. He couldn’t understand why he felt relieved to know that the most important man in her life was her brother and he couldn’t understand why, he felt angry at her. Who the hell did she think she was?
Grabbing the credit card he glanced at the name; Tanya Kher, nice name he thought as he swiped the card and handed her the receipt. She signed it in one swift motion, grabbed the gift and walked off. He couldn’t believe it. No thank you, no goodbye? He wasn’t used to that kind of customer behaviour. He shrugged and went back to packing off the perfumes; after all he had had a busy day and there was a busier day coming up tomorrow…
As she stepped out of the busy mall, Tanya heaved a sigh of relief. Crowds always made her a bit dizzy. Her eyes searched frantically for a cab but there wasn’t a single one to be seen around. She started to walk angrily across the pavement towards a taxi stand. Nobody could have guessed looking at her that her high heel shoes were killing her toes. She walked as if she owned the world taking long strides, looking straight ahead as if she would crash down anybody coming in her way. Her business suit added to the no-nonsense attitude which made people turn around and look at her in awe, as she tick-tocked down the road. She finally saw a cab and made a run for it. “Cadell road!” She said as she sat in. Mumbai cab-drivers were used to being asked whether they would like to take you to wherever you wanted to go. He turned around and gave her a weird look. “Move it, I am getting late.” She ordered in her broken anglicized Hindi. The cab driver shrugged and put the meter down, “These modern pant wearing girls!” He muttered to himself as he sprung the rattling cab into motion. Tanya ignored him. She had better things to do than to pick an argument with a male chauvinist cab driver. She looked at her watch when she saw the shimmering homeward bound traffic. Tanya could imagine her sister-in-law, cursing her for being late.
Anita had called Tanya eight times at work to just remind her to leave her office on time. Once Tanya was out of the office, her cell-phone kept her busy with reminders to leave her home in time, which Tanya obediently did, but as she passed the mall, she remembered that she had forgotten to buy a gift, which had forced her to stop at the mall to buy a quick gift. She found herself wandering through the crowded mall clueless about what to get for a full quarter-hour before she had managed to buy a perfume from a rather enthusiastic salesman. ‘The mall has too many over-friendly sales people.’ She thought to herself. She hated going to the friendly neighbourhood grocer or the friendly neighbourhood boutique. She chose to make a trip to the mall for the smallest things she needed because it just had everything she needed. What she hadn’t realized was that she was stuck with a friendly neighbourhood mall!
As always her cell-phone’s boring tring-tring brought her out of the flashback. She knew who it was without even looking at the screen. “Anita I am getting there, I am so sorry, stuck in traffic.” She fixed her gaze on the red light as she heard her sister-in-law complain. “I am sorry! I’ll be there.” She clicked off the phone and looked at her watch. She was already half an hour late and it looked like she was going to take another half hour to reach her brother’s birthday party. She was right, the cab screeched to a halt outside her brother’s house at exactly half past nine. She threw the money at the cab driver without waiting for change, and ran into the lift, almost slipping off the marble floor in the lobby. She had to hit the button a hundred times before it closed, making her grow impatient and irritated. The doors shut, revealing a reflection of Tanya, with her eyes rolling in irritation again. Her straight long hair was completely out of place thanks to the jerky and windy cab ride. Tanya was very particular about how she wore her hair. She never experimented with length, colour or its style. She liked it long straight and brushed clear, falling over her shoulders. At times she wore it in a pony, but only if it was a hot or a windy day. Her grey-green eyes always had a stern look in them behind the rather expensive rimless glasses she had been wearing for the past 5 years; every year much to Anita’s dislike she bought the same frame, same colour, dull-gold. No experiments. She wore no make-up except for mascara and two lipsticks that she alternated according to her clothes, most of which were rather formal and business like. Rarely did you catch Tanya Kher in Indian clothes and almost never in casual clothes. In fact, her brother joked about how Tanya worked around the clock because she was dressed to hit the boardroom anytime.
Today, however, she had managed to pull out a bit of a fancy woolen bare shoulder top Anita had gifted her. She checked herself in the mirror, pulled down her top so that it fit well and didn’t give Anita another reason to bicker. She had just enough time to smooth the hair with her fingers when the elevator opened on the ninth floor. She got out of the lift and before she could reach the bell, Anita opened the door with a where-the-hell-were-you expression on her face. Unknowingly Tanya gave her the- you-know-me smile and shrugged. Anita nodded her head in an at-least-you’re-here-get-in expression and pointed to the living room.
The living room was full of candles and dim lights and she could hear glasses clinking and people laughing above the lounge music playing in the background. She saw many faces but the one she wanted to see was lost somewhere. She could hear his high-pitched voice from another corner of the huge living room. She moved through the living room, smiling reluctantly at faces, some drunk, some pretentious, some judging her, some appreciating her.
“Of course, he is going to be fired. He is a lousy coach, if we want the world cup we need someone more focused on the game rather than the media, you know what I mean? Tanya! We thought you would definitely make it by my next birthday.” Tanya looked down, embarrassed. She hated being in the spotlight and her brother always managed to put it right on her. “She’s a busy woman, my sister, so I am going to leave you guys for a moment to make the best of the time I get from her.” Ravi exclaimed as he put his arm around Tanya.
“Why do you always have to make a joke about me?” She scolded him as she handed him the box, “You are getting older but not any wiser.”
He took the box and plucked the card off. Holding it in Tanya’s face he complained. “It says Ravi bhaiyya. How many times did I say stop calling me bhaiyya? We aren’t 10 and 16 anymore okay? I don’t like it.” He frowned as he tore open the wrapping paper. The frown on his face disappeared as he saw the box. “Aqua Di Gio! Impressive. It’s a pleasant change from the gift vouchers you’ve been giving me. Somebody’s coming back into humans, huh.” He nudged Tanya in a playful way. “Met Anita yet? She was whopping mad at you.”
“Oh, she opened the door for me. You could say she’s okay now. I am going to go see if they need any help around the kitchen.” Tanya was about to make a dash for the kitchen when Ravi yelled out, “Oye, we have a caterer this time, so there’s no excuse to hide; these people are decent you know. They don’t bite.”
“I was just being nice.” She said walking off towards Gia, Anita’s friend from Delhi, who was one of the few people Tanya looked forward to seeing at her brother’s parties. She always had exclusive stories and gossip from the television channel she worked for. Gia’s constant jabber took all the socializing pressure off Tanya.
“Tano! Long time… Howdy!” She screamed with delight as she hugged Tanya, who knew instantly that Gia had had quite a bit to drink.
“You won’t believe it, but I am going to be shooting one of our shows at the Delhi branch of your firm, it is about these two models and blah blah. I was just thinking about you when we finalized things with your firm. I am so glad to see you babe!” She hugged Tanya once again.
“Oh! Really? That’s amazing. So which show is this?” Tanya asked sipping from a glass of wine she picked up from the passing waiter’s tray.
“Another new one! The boss thinks that the glamour, sex and high heels will get us the much needed TRP boost. Star is screwing our advertising revenues. Obviously you know that. Silly me.” She laughed out throwing her head back.
“Star is hot property as far as prime time slots are concerned, but this guy at your office is offering us great deals if we plan to advertise across all the channels. We are, as a matter of fact, recommending Zee, it is cost effective.” Tanya explained with a boardroom confidence.
“At least someone’s recommending Zee! Oh there’s Aneesh, he just broke up with his girlfriend and you know what nobody knows, she was cheating on him! Let’s go say hi!” Gia chuckled.
Tanya nodded along. She was always lost for words when Gia gave her all these bits of classified gossip. At the same time, she enjoyed the fact that she could just nod or smile or say a few words and kill time. It was better than standing in one corner, and then getting introduced to random people by Anita and Ravi.
So, Tanya spent the next few hours by Gia’s side as she chatted away with everyone at the party. She used her little knowledge about the television business all thanks to her position as a media planner to add bits and pieces to Gia’s stories, but she had to make a great effort which tired her out by the end of the party. She hated crowds and she hated parties. She wouldn’t attend a single party if it wasn’t for Anita and Ravi’s enthusiasm. They hosted a lot of parties and Tanya had to be there, not as a social obligation towards her brother and her sister-in-law but because she knew it satisfied them to see her mingle with people at their parties. That’s the least she could do for the two people she loved the most.
Some girls just don’t give up
Some girls never try,
But I never give up on trying…
Some girls wait for luck to strike,
Some girls do things their way,
I do things my way until luck strikes.
Some girls just seem romantic,
Some girls way too practical,
But I think I am romantically practical.
Some girls are so sane,
And some are just so insane.
But I choose to be sanely insane.
Some girls are way too modern
And some just way too conventional…
Look at me; I am conventionally modern.
Some girls want a prince charming,
Some girls just want a special guy.
Yeah! I am looking for a special prince charming.
I am not like some girls,
And yet I am like some girls.
But I don’t consider myself special.
Because to be ordinary is so very special!