The first time
I had just decided to be a writer.
I told my mother about the great ambition that I had just caught like an epiphany or maybe the flue! I was just short of telling her that it had hit me like a thunderbolt from the heavens!
But the real secret is that, indeed God spoke to me in his thunderous voice, “Become a writer , immediately.”
My mother who is a wise woman, always has been, told me, “Read a good book, first.” She gave me Leo Tolstoy’s ‘War and Peace.’
Have you read the book? Seen it? it weighs 1 kilo. And to my head flying in the clouds and making castles, and my slender wrist be a judge it weighed 10 kilos and some grams excluding the dust it was layered with. After reading the first paragraph or so I decided I was busy right then.
Now, everyone knows how busy a teen is!
I had a lot of things to do like sleeping, avoiding school, criticizing teachers, going out with friends, movies, picnics, clubs, shopping, taking driving lessons ……most of all looking at myself in the mirror with the utmost admiration just like dogs and sparrows do….and then there was sleeping again!
And then to add to this list of duties I had my hormones raging inside me, kicking me around like a football making me think of dirty things and forcing me to look at boys!
Then, there was Mills and Boons! God! How absolutely enchanting those books were? They can take your mind away from everything : God, country, school, family! And with the kind of friends I had who would willingly oblige each other by highlighting the steamy parts before passing them on, there was no way I any had time to do any Leo Tolstoy!
I laid my head on Leo Tolstoy war and peace and went off to sleep. It was uncomfortable what with my neck stretched ten stories high! But everyone knows how the young can sleep, even on a school desk right in the center of an ongoing class of a tyrant teacher, without much suffering! It was a dreamy sleep for a full three hours.
I was eighteen back then.
But I was sure Leo darling Tolstoy must have felt good that I slept on him ! The least he could have done was get his words into my head through osmosis or whatever better way he knew! But he didn’t ! Back in those days there was no blue tooth and it’s generosity or maybe he and me would have succeeded in transferring data !
After the sleep I didn’t have a sprain or anything like I would have if I slept on even a hundred page book today! But the foundation was laid. I just had to build upon it.
I had to manage this greatness that was just thrust upon my shoulders : writing.
I told myself I was good in English. Well I knew more cuss words than all the Hollywood action hero’s put together! And then even the Convent school I went to was forcing everyone to speak in English or else pay up fines. So I would be fine. I told myself.
I picked up a pen. I had a fetish for ink pens in those days. So I picked up the best one I had. Filled it with blue ink. The suction that this particular pen used was acting stubborn. It just wouldn’t fill to the brim and I couldn’t, wouldn’t start such a pious journey half armed! I pinched the rubber suction it till my finger tips went red to black. I tried with the inkbottle inclined. And then a little more incline . The pen was just sucking fine when the bottle decided to spill itself on me! while I was not looking! Stupid bottle!
I looked at myself and with the yellow and green flowers printed on my dress and the blue ink all over it I looked like a peacock waiting for the rains!
Anyway I was not going to be dithered by something so trivial. There was a world out there waiting for me to tell them stories and secrets. Stories that would otherwise had been just gossip and result in nothing more than hair pulling and fist thumping street brawls!
I changed my dress and the pen. This time I stole my father’s parker from his pocket.
Parker was and is supposed to be a great company and someone on a great journey needed a great pal to keep company.
And I found myself a diary.
A thick black leather bound diary. Since it didn’t have my initials on it, and I was anyway carving my name on school desks, walls, trees, pavements and anything that was solid, clean and mute, I carved my name on its black face with a fork. I could have used a nail or a knife but I believed a fork would create a better design!
Well, if you ask me today I must have defaced the diary but back then my name on it was as important to me as it is for lovers to publicize to the world that they are in love and secretly masturbating in their bathrooms!
Anyway who doesn’t love their name expect Philosophers and those named Dick or other such body parts!