‘The evening is still, the birds silent, the wind dead like a tramp, flopped on a footpath. The sky is dressed in dust and dusk.’
(From my short story: End of Dusk)
I look at my face in the mirror and a dung-cake with a frog at its centre for a nose stares back. It looks revolting enough but the man responsible for it has shunned this world and is beyond all reprimands. The wise men of yore have said that beauty is only skin deep and I agree with them heart and soul, for what lies beneath my risible contours is a beautiful mass of cells, tissues and sinews, a calciferous skull, and a bowl of grey noodles that will write, come what may.
I wrote many tales when I was just a boy and dispatched them to the enchanted journals of the times. They all came back on wings on denial, swift in their flight, proud in defeat, with the editors’ ‘salutations and regrets’. Till one day I wrote a comic piece that saw the light of the day under a different name and in altered robes.
Like an Achilles slighted I roared in my rage. I launched a volley of postal attacks on the office of the crime, sinking the pocket money of next three months in postal stamps. One day, my mother handed me over a postcard as I returned from school. This butter-brown missive of disdain held four bored words on them, followed by the mark of interrogation, in red ink. Little did I know I had met my nemesis so early in life in that wicked little phrase, ‘Did you write that?’
Ever since that, my reader, I have been jinxed by those four words, followed by that squiggle with a dot. I have withstood many a teacher, a principal and a judge of contests, and editors too of all hues, all gawking in disbelief. It made me sore over the years even as I soared in prose, and I swore to have a periodical of my own someday where no wind, no gusts, no tempests could stir a leaf without my nod. I swung between hope and despair for eons with my reveries as my muse bobbed up and down the river of scepticism. Fortunately, God woke up one day and said, ‘Let there be blogs’.
You would think it has been a Nirvana to a hack like me, post the Rubicon.
Obviously, not. Just when I thought the odd doubting Thomas was a fossil in my past, he returned like Lazarus, baleful and insistent. It happened to me again today and it’s surely not the first time in the nooks and alleys of blogging, and this is how it usually goes. It took place in the context of the words from my own story, quoted at the top of the post.
She: Did you write that?
Me: Of course I did. Did you read the story?
She: Yes, I liked it. The ending was so good I had to ask if it was your own writing.
Me: Actually, Shakespeare wrote it but he kindly emailed it to me so that I could publish it on my blog.