Writing, Chapter 19 0f Memory, a Novella
Written for Nanowrimo extended
Copyright (c) Soumya Mukherjee
If the reader is tired of Boy’s college antics, we could go back to see how this mania for writing afflicted our young hero.
Having an insatiable appetite for stories, and finding that supply is unable to match demand, Boy decided to fill the gap himself, by making up stories himself. This is how that happened
Boy’s fascination with words began early, perhaps not as early as Abhimanyu, as he didn’t remember anything prenatal, but soon afterwards. Boy was fortunate in a literate ayah, who was his major childhood influence, and a literary mom, who had a sizable library at home. To keep him quiet, the babysitter would read to him from anything available, including Bangla translations of the English classics, and the Bengali Mahabharata. After such a classical grounding, he could not help but be a lifelong addict to the magic world of fantasy and fiction, initially oral, and later of the printed word. The Loyal reader has read all about this in an earlier chapter.
But addictions have fatal side effects, and Boy became quite useless at all useful skills of survival. He wasn’t focused on studies, and his handwriting made him suitable only for the medical profession. Boy learnt to read, so that he wouldn’t have to wheedle others to read for him, and was a very precocious reader, forcing his parents to hide books in unconventional places, and put covers on some. That’s how Boy knew which to read first, and in secret. But this too, the loyal reader has already read. But bear with us, as we still look forward to coaxing new readers to try out our story
The inevitable next step was joining the ranks of his heroes, and start writing himself. Writing was fine, but Boy faced the problem of all would be authors, how to get readers? He had a captive audience in his family, but they couldn’t or wouldn’t decipher his writing. Solution – a little brother Boy could bully, who would copy it out for him.
Note to reader, Boy and his chronicler have remained mysteriously silent on the sibling issue, but they do barge in occasionally. The reasons would be disclosed later to the patient reader.
Thus was born his first collection, containing humour, parody, rhymes, mystery stories inspired by Blyton and later Christie, war stories when the 72 war captured Boy’s imagination, and even plays.
Jump cut to high school. Obliging friends copied out his stories for a hand written wall magazine in exchange for doing their maths homework, and other obliging friends copied out pieces for their first handwritten cyclostyled little magazine, edited and mostly ghost written by Boy in exchange for names on masthead to impress girls. Believe it, bong girls fall for such stuff.
Fast forward to the 80s. Handwritten contributions are no longer acceptable, and typing is a skill Boy has failed to master. However, obliging young ladies willing to support the arts help out, and college, university, and company magazines continue to feed his need to be heard. That’s how his partner to be first heard of him.
Working life and matrimony soon put all creativity on a backburner, until Boy’s children appeared on the scene, and mealtime, bedtime and anytime stories took care of all his creative juices, and was well within his technical knowhow.
As time passed, Boy hankered for a wider audience. By now, he was empowered with a stenographer, and a bit of charm could overcome his tech handicap, and double spaced typed offerings with self addressed envelopes haunted editorial desks and found kind supporters like Jug Suraiya of TOI and others kindred and discerning souls.
Boy had the ultimate high, seeing his babies in print with his by-line , and being paid for it.
Soon,work and family took precedence, and creativity was limited to sales pitches and the incredible job of bringing up two daughters to be independent freethinking individuals, well adjusted in life, until they no longer needed or heeded Boy, and the craving for an audience hit once again
By now, the world had changed beyond his tech challenged comprehension, and the virtual world ruled, denying Boy access. His wife, who had moved with the times, his friends, who had learnt to cope, and his children, who were born with mouse in hand, had no patience for Boy’s illiteracy.
It looked like Boy’s outpourings would die unheard through lack of virtual space. Finally, with patient coaching from few young colleagues and friends, Boy attempted the new medium, THE BLOG and the FB and through many blunderings in unexplored and mysterious realms of which more shall be disclosed later, the end results were finding an entirely new set of readers, who did not pay in moolah, but in likes and comments and shares. Moreover, the reach was Global, and it thrilled Boy to have loyal readers and followers from five continents, including someone from Moldova, a couple of people from Pakistan, and a few from Russia.
The happiness that this gave Boy, money can’t buy.
Writing, Chapter 19 0f Memory, a Novella