20/11/2012 by Siddiqui Fayesal
Truth be told, the moment I put that comma above I couldn’t help but feel that the following, and others in this series, should technically be a part of the “About Me” section. But since this is intended to be an extended form of an essay along the lines of my daily distress and botheration regarding my incapacity to write longer than a few pages I’d rather not abuse that section.
It was probably a dank and dreary morning that day on the 7th of June, 2007 when I suddenly decided that mere reading of books wasn’t enough and I would be preventing a colossal generosity to the human race if I didn’t pen one myself. And so, in all earnestness, I should add, I began. But since it was dank and dreary I still haven’t gone beyond a few hundred pages. Pages with which I have a love-hate relationship. Pages that I really am not sure will be a part of the final draft.
I remember so clearly where I first bought the notebook where I would begin writing. I had spent the night at one of the numerous rooms available at Allahabad railway station and, as early as I could shake myself awake, the next day I ventured out for the task. I hadn’t realised it’ll be so difficult to find an open stationer around 8 in the morning. There was only one stationer on that particular street and 5 shops selling licensed revolvers and hand guns!
Task you see.
I waited a while and I was greeted with a sour faced boy who upped the shutters and performed his daily prayer for around 10 minutes before handing me a thin ruled book. I started work on my book with sincerity. I began with naming my characters and I started with a memory. My memory. That particular memory is not part of the book now. But I know it will be. Anyway, the first few pages, 7 to 8 were smooth. The next 4 or 5 were slow. Beyond that the pages were nonexistent!
I didn’t hit upon any bright ideas. Nothing came to me. Nothing hit me. No enlightenment; no brainwave. Nothing! I had a theme in mind but somehow I couldn’t make it sound literary. The harder I tried the pulpier it sounded; the harder I tried to hold on the semblance of my writing the quicker I was left stranded; the harder I tried the quicker it left me. It was like I’m holding on to my thought but they’ve got better plans than being spent for eternity on paper. It was like I’m beckoning them, chiding and enticing them and they’re showing me the finger.
Disappointed, I left Allahabad with only 20 or so pages. And that was all that I wrote for a long long time.
How long you ask?
Exactly 3 years and 6 months. I picked up my notebook again on the 7th of December, 2010. And I cancelled out more than three quarters of what I wrote. Too banal; too obvious; too dramatic! I realised I had grown a lot during those years.
The best realisation that hit me was that I wasn’t stagnating all the time I wasted, thought I wasted. I had better control over my thoughts. I learnt a few tiny do’s and do not’s that make a big difference when one tells a story. A friend told me that the only was to learn how to write better was to never stop writing.
And that is exactly what I did.
To be continued…