The New Me
The New Me
I am a budding author. I try telling myself everyday, that I am. Now you might disagree, just how I disagreed about me being an author, till a few months back. This story is about the new me. #NEWYOU
It was the month of January 2020. Seems like long back, but really just six months back. I was still the old me, busy with life and work. Writing was an alien activity. The most I would typically write would be for sending a detailed situation analysis to a client or a co-worker. And that would be all. However, even then my better half would write regularly. Often her stories and essays would get published in reputed magazines and newspapers. Initially I was awestruck by her talent, but then I got acclimated to the fact that she was just a seasoned author. She was gracious enough to always have me as the first reader to anything she wrote and I was super happy as a reader. Think about it, isn't it a privilege being able to read and lose yourself in the imaginary world of fantasy and fiction? I always felt like that, instantly losing myself. Everything would be so lively as if they were literally around me. The chirping of the birds, the beautiful rose garden, the gentle flowing of the river water, the butterflies flying around in tandem, the big sunflowers standing up proudly and smiling while looking at the sun. Wow. I was happy. I was content. The happy me. The old me.
But then things changed one day when that question was dropped from 'I-don't -know-where' !
"Why don't you write?"
At first, I thought she was speaking on the phone to someone. I didn't bother to respond. I was busy reading.
"Hey! Why don't you write?"
Now I looked up. Still wondering, maybe, she was telling this to someone else. But unfortunately that day, only we two were there.
"Oh! Sure I remember now, I shall write the letter to Mr Gomes, as I had promised. Sorry I didn't get time."
"No dear, am not talking about any letters. Am talking about stories."
"Stories? Me? I don't write dear. That's your forte."
"No, I know you can write stories. You want some motivation? See here is this new app, one of my friends shared the other day. You can just tap into it, write your heart out, even join contests!"
"Oh! All through this mobile app!?"
"Yes sir! And for free!"
"Okay, I see the convenience, but I am still missing the basics. What would I write? I mean beyond letters and emails, I have never written much!"
"You have never tried, my dear. Unless you try, how would you know?"
This made me think.
It's true. Unless I try something, how would I know if I am good at it!
"Okay! But I find writing poems easier. Shall I start with poems?"
"Sure! But poems are not easy to write either. Think about it, in less number of words, you present a gamut of feelings, that too in a rhythm! Do you think it's easy to be a good poet?"
"I know, not easy. But I can't think of stories either. Okay I'll start writing a thriller! I have always enjoyed reading thrillers, you see!"
"Great! Get started!"
And so it began. Someone who hadn't written much, started writing a thriller. What do you expect? Yes, you are correct. The thrill ended midway. Someone died, in mysterious circumstances. There was the sleuth, lots of characters, lots of motivations, but along the way somehow all the characters turned into zombies, none could be implicated in a convincing manner. My better half took a long time to read. This was her feedback.
"Good choice of words. But err, I forgot, what did you try to write, exactly?"
I won't forget the look on her face. For a moment I thought I had written a tragedy, not a thriller.
When I saw she was struggling to say anything, I stopped her.
"Okay! I get it. I'll scrap that."
"Yeah.. I mean, keep it simple. Just say it like you are narrating a story to someone!"
"Yeah, I told you I am not a writer material."
"You are. You are not trying enough. Read more, you will get ideas."
And I went back to the drawing board, reading voraciously. I started writing as well. Many drafts were discarded. There were few that I felt looked like being written by the likes of Ruskin Bond, but those were trashed after a critical review by my wife.
And after innumerable tries and innumerable attempts at convincing her that I was not a writer, one fine day the dialogue below ensued.
"Here, take a look, if you like."
"Sure, give me one moment."
She took the draft and started reading silently. I was standing there like a kid waiting for his examination results to be announced. After reading, she looked at me and smiled.
"I shall give you the verdict this evening!"
"Oh! Why not now?"
"I'll tell you in the evening."
This made me angry. I am never a big fan of suspense unless I am authoring one myself and I found no justification for letting me wait. Anyway, I had no option than killing the few hours in between and becoming the old me, whiling away the time amidst music, reading and work.
In the evening, I again asked her.
"At 6 p.m. sharp!"
"Okay", I said, quickly glancing at my clock. Still a good 15 minutes remained. Still angry at the unnecessary suspense being created!
At 6 p.m. she told me to close my eyes, which I did, and then asked me to open my palms. She put something in my palms. I opened my eyes and saw that it was a brand new Mont Blanc. pen.
"I hope you got your answer."
"Oh! Thank you!"
"The journey has just begun. Keep writing!"
I submitted that draft in that app and another round of wait began as content approval took time.
But then, thankfully the editors liked it too and it was published.
It was May 2020.
It was a small step but in the right direction. It took time and effort and perseverance. Lots of each.
But finally, I had found the new me, who had started understanding the art of storytelling!
No, I am not Ruskin Bond yet, but I have dealt with the rust in my pen. I have discovered the new me, thanks to, you know who.