Category Archives: writers

Well…

…this blog has become my favorite ground for “promise-cide”. Every time I come back from an exile, I promise to stick around, and then leave again, then some months later come back-back. Quite a bad habit I have picked up. Anyways, all this while I had enveloped my writing aura into a layer of self-doubt, and sealed the envelope with general hatred for mankind. I had casted an impression on myself that I could not write, but, late last night I realized that the reason I could not write was a) I was not writing b) I did not have my superman cape on.

Easy things to take care of!

So, here I am, back again…

What did I miss?

A few people, dressed up in suits, sitting in high chairs, decided how many people should get rights to be covered under the miracles of medicines. Earth’s belly shook a couple of times. Few people played a crazy game, many watched it, and few collected the money.

People expressed opinions. People opposed the opinions. People burned other people while opposing the opinions.People burned themselves while opposing the opinions. People burnt flags in opposing the opinions. Flags were draped around people who got burnt while expressing or opposing the opinions. Water in seas kept rising. Water in eyes kept rising.Smoke from burning kept rising. Rising smoke blinded the mayflies. Mayflies collided and died. Dead flies waited thousands of years to become liquid. People became addicted to the liquid, and started burning it. Smoke kept rising.

All this while, the rock that we call home, kept falling towards infinity. Mathematicians said, “Ahhhaa…Infinity!”

*****

[Music]

Here is the song playing in my head…enjoy!

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I am a writer…

…I write conspiracy theories!

Fan Fiction

fan fiction

 

[No is also an answer!]

“Give me an unbreakable vow that you will help Draco finish the job assigned to him by dark lord”, says Narcissa Malfoy.

Snape looks into the darkness of Whatever Street and says, “There are very few people in this world, for whom I would do anything, and you lost that right, when you walked away on me 19 years, 2 months, and 10 hours back.”

He looks at Narcissa’s face for one last time and walks away, without saying any further word. Narcissa stands there alone, watches him disappear into the dark alleys, his flowing robes slowly following him, and images from past flashing before her eyes….

 

[Mistaken Identities]

“Professor Langdon, we found this symbol inscribed…”

“Excuse me, hold on, How many times should I tell you that I am not this Langdon dude!”

“Professor, this is no time to joke, if we don’t act now, the whole world is going to end in 10 hrs…”

“..and how much of those 10 hrs do you want to waste on me. I am not a Professor, my last name is not Langdon, and all these symbols are just cave drawings to me.”

“What about your ID, which says Dr. Robert Langdon”

“Ohhh!! That!!! I was at this restaurant the other day, and I met this totallyyy drunk bastard, and he said that he was ready to trade his wallet for the piece of paper on which I was playing Pictionary. So, I just said deal, and here am I.”

Brain Freeze!

12.59 AM: 10 minutes since I have been staring at blank screen…

1.06 AM: 17 minutes since I have been staring at an almost blank screen…

1.09 AM: Can’t think of anything to write!

1.13 AM: Coffee or Red Bull?

1.15 AM: Hot white chocolate Mocha it is!

1.16 AM: SHIT! #$%$! No milk!So, No coffee! To hell with Red Bull, too! Just plain H2O it is!

2.00 AM: Just deleted half a page of trashy stuff that made no sense at all.

2.07 AM: Should read something, will stimulate some ideas! New Yorker/Harper’s/David Sedaris?

2.23 AM: Article on misuse of cognitive enhancer drugs in colleges is too long…i think some of the kids in my TA class might have been on Addrell or Ritalin or whatever…always seemed under too much stress, poor kids.

2.26 AM: Feeling hungry

2.35 AM: Hash browns are the greatest thing on earth!

2.43 AM: Phaon was a mythical ferryman…, who hid among the lettuces… (reading Dictionary of mythology and religion)….lettuce! Ha ha…subway should be open 24 hrs.

2.XX AM(not sure!): Need to Pee!

3.03 AM: What the hell! A group of people, on road outside just disappeared, when I blinked…..I am hallucinating. Sleep deprivation. No, if I can analyze that I am hallucinating or not, then I am not hallucinating….whatever!

3.15 AM: Should go to sleep! Have a meeting tomorrow…Gudnite!

3.17 AM: Brush teeth. Pee or Not Pee?

3. 20 AM: Lights off!

Tagged , ,

Back-Up Guy

“What are you writing about -in your book?” I assumed that it would be a nice ice- breaker question, especially when you are in your first writing workshop, and everybody else looks much older, experienced and scholarly then you. But half way through the question, I thought that it was a very trite question in such a gathering. So, I fumbled with my flow of words, clearly showing that I am quite a novice and do not deserve to be there. But still, I decided to go ahead with same question as I had already started it, and could not think of a new question half way through my first one.

“Ahha!” Good. He seems pleased and excited. So not that much of a disaster question as I had assumed it to be. He continues, “Its about this very normal guy, who is like always the back-up guy, like you know, who always gets this, ‘If-I-was-not-committed/married-you-would-be-the-one’ dialogue, you know, that type -it’s a story of his pain, suffering and how he finally ends up committing suicide.”

Now the hard part, he finishes and looks at me expectantly, and I have no idea as what should I say next -should I ask another question, maybe about his character, maybe something totally different like weather or local crime rate, or maybe about his favorite cuisine.

But all these seemed like totally unrelated follow up questions to my earlier one. So, I ended up asking this incredibly stupid question, “Oh! That’s a cool storyline. So, you are you going to kill this character, this lonely dude in the end.”

‘Cool’ and ‘Dude’ in my last sentence. They definitely thought that I am a gate crasher at the writer’s workshop.

“Oh, no, that’s not the end of story, it would be like very stereotypical, as you call it, ‘lonely dude’ novel, if I do that. In my novel, after the guy commits suicide, he goes to limbo, and here is the twist, God there is a female, and he ends up being her back-up guy. And…wait, I don’t want to ruin your suspense, and frankly I don’t want to lose on an almost sold copy of my book.”

“What?”. This followed effortlessly.

David Sedaris

sedaris

A few weeks ago, a friend of mine asked me for ‘a good read’ which was more on the lines of ‘not very serious, more of a funny stuff’. So I rushed to my bookshelf, pulled out ‘Dress your Family in Corduroy and Denim’ by David Sedaris, and offered it to her. She gladly accepted it. So good so far, but I see her a few weeks later and ask, “How is the Sedaris going?”

She replies blatantly, “I did not like it, so I did not even finish it.”

Okay, so I am now looking for a word for my feelings at that time, lets see, hmm -offended might be it. Really, to me David Sedaris is one of the funniest writers, and has special place in my quartet of favorite writers along with R. K. Narayan, Dave Eggers and Kurt Vonnegut. Although I am still intrigued as to how could somebody not like Sedaris, it is like somebody not liking Santa, idea of a tooth fairy, or a chance to paint Pyramids in their favorite colors.   But, as of now, in what we consider as space-time coordinates of ‘present’, my friend does not like David Sedaris. So I start weighing my options; 1) I can walk into her house, paint all her walls with quotes of David Sedaris, 2) Burn all other books, laptops, any connection to outside world in her house, and not let her come out until she has finished reading all the Sedaris books, 3) Not do anything 4) Add her on my ‘revenge list’ and not appreciate her favorite author.

But what I did instead is just ask her, “Why? I mean, I love that guy, I think he is really really funny.”

“I think he is deliberately trying to be funny at each line.”

“But what if, let’s say, the guy is actually that funny. I have seen a few interviews of him and seems like the guy is actually that funny in real life.”

“Oh in that case, I would give it another try”, she says.

Next day, a common friend of us, returns the book on her behalf. I put the book back in my shelf and pull out my copy of another Sedaris book ‘Naked’ and find this quote somewhere in there, “I haven’t the slightest idea how to change people, but still I keep a long list of prospective candidates just in case I should ever figure it out.”

Later that evening, I mulled over the whole issue under a summery star lit sky, and came to a conclusion that, I learned an important lesson today -You can never become a writer that everyone adores. I wrote this bit of conclusion on paper, read it aloud to me, and then added something at the end, “You can never become a writer that everyone adores, and isn’t this thing true in general, you can never become a person that everyone adores.”

(Photo courtesy: Sydney Morning Herald)

India Diaries III: The Bookstore

More people to help you than required

At any given time there were at least two sales-people following me in each aisle of the bookstore, and had no shame on their poor detective skills as it was clear that they were keeping an eye on me. Now, when something like this happens, it gives you a feeling that you have ‘Shoplifter’ written over your forehead in bold font.  And as if just following was not enough, every 30 sec, somebody would stop by and say, “Sir, Can I help you?”

“No thanks”. Now what makes them think that I need help every 30 sec. I am in a bookstore, not like in a pit of fire, kitchen or a Maths class.

“Sir, Can I help you?”

10th time when somebody asked me, I curbed my instincts to say, “yeah, can you leave me alone?” as that would have made the ‘shoplifter’ sign on my forehead a flashing red in bold, so I said, “Yeah, Do you have any books by David Sedaris”

The guy did not even look for a second and said, “NO!”

“Ok, do you have ‘Being Followed Endlessly’ by G.O. Nectar?”

This time he went looking and came back and said, “No Sir!” and exactly 42 seconds later there was this guy who came back and asked, “Sir, Can I help you with something?”

“Yeah sure! Your aisles are too long, Can I have a camel cart to travel through your shop!”

“No thanks”

Scratch cards are not meant to be scratched

The brightly colored box said on top “Pick up a card and scratch to win 10, 20 or 50% back on your purchase”. So obviously we picked up a card and started searching our pockets for a coin to scratch the card, but just then the women at the counter said, “Sir, please keep it back in the box” in a tone that was a mix of authority and request and would have suited a statement like, “Sir, the mummies are going to eat us all if you don’t keep the card back, and you will be the one to blame for death of us all.”

“Why?”, asked a slightly puzzled me.

“Sir, they are limited in number”

“What do you mean by limited in number? If I am buying something, I can pick one up. Right?”. Limited in number as if they are saving it for the holocaust and one day we are going to survive by eating these discount cards.

Given my luck, It is not that I expected anything more than ‘Try again’ or ‘Rs. 1 off on your next purchase of 1 lakh or more’ but still I kept on haggling for an opportunity to scratch one card.

“No Sir, it is only on purchase of 1000 Rs or more! You have only bought stuff for 454 Rs. only and you have already got a discount on that.” She replied.

“But the box does not say anything like that”. I was pretty sure that she just made that rule up by herslf, so I kept on pestering.

“Now sir, can you please put the card back in box. Here are your books and here is your receipt”. This time the tone was one that said, “you only have two options; 1. forget the scratch card, take your books and leave or 2. we will make sure that you do.”

Kurt Vonnegut Jr.

My introduction to Vonnegut was when I saw him on Daily Show; an old man with weird hairdo and a great sense of humor. On my next trip to Barnes and Noble, I read his book, “A Man without Country”. I finished that book in one seating and that too when I should have been reading about dendrites and axons for my candidacy exam. But such strong is the grasp of his writing that you don’t want to get away from that grasp. Its only the book that ends, but your thirst for what is in the book lingers on. I had so much wished that the book was longer and covered more topics. What touched me most about that book was the subtle humor that coated all the serious issues. Sarcasm, if used properly increases readers interest and the same time can help writer to communicate something that can’t be said otherwise. Take for example this quote from the book, “You think Arabs are stupid, Try doing long divisions using roman numerals.”

My second Vonnegut book was “Cat’s Cradle”. I would say that it is another masterpiece. Although its not that humor coated but sarcasm is still there on each and every page. Although the plot may be straightaway outlandish but what stands out is the theme behind that plot. The book introduces a world of new religion, existence of religion as a diversion from other problems, and the world dying at the hands of its own people. A world that is not much different from ours. ‘Cats cradle’ is book that forces you to think that where as a mankind we are heading; certainly not towards a complex robotic world as shown in all those Science Fiction movies but towards a very simplistic end.

I have read his other works like ‘Breakfast for Champions’ and ‘Hocus Pocus’ and what stands out with each book is “How shallow and worthless are we as mankind”. As Vonnegut himself says in his book, “….the earth’s immune system is trying to get rid of us…”.

I am a big fan of Kurt Vonnegut and his writings.

I found another interesting video on him where he is dispensing advice on how to write a short story.