A brief note on writing - the difficulty and the joy
|1997 was Arundhati Roy and ‘The God of small things’. For an Engineering college student trying to make sure that my writing output equaled at least a daily diary entry, the world suddenly expanded. Writing seemed to have a purpose – gift wrapped in fame and millions. Arundhati Roy was felicitated, reviled, torn down and splashed on all the newspapers. It wasn’t always about the merit of the book. But it was most certainly always about the million dollar advance.
That night I had a diary entry. The title – GRN.
That stood for the ‘Great Rajesh Novel’ – the one I would write one day and which would take me to the writers’ throne. I put it as ‘GRN’, with no explanations, because diaries have a dangerous habit of falling in the wrong hands. In a house filled with cousins, newer avenues for entertainment were greedily sought after. As the youngest, I had had my fair share of attention. I had no intention of offering myself as a ready target. I knew the explosive potential of a diary. So, I locked and relocked entries with code words and pseudonyms. I knew and would always know what GRN meant. That was enough.
Years have passed and I am no nearer to completing that ultimate novel. GRN seems to be an extremely corny expression to me now. I realize how difficult it is to write.
An article, a short story, a novel.
Writing is hard work. Period. But not everybody agrees. There is a virtual glut of aspiring authors among people I know. Having read the stories of Phantom, Mandrake and Rip Kirby in the Indrajal comics of their childhood, they consider themselves qualified and ready - to be the next Vikram Chandra.
To each his own.
I gave up on that path after a very enlightening conversation. Somebody told me that giving a form to something that is crying to come out of you is creativity. If it is content inside you, it is better left there.
So, I read – and I admire. And I keep a lookout for all those aspiring writers trying to break out. I hope there is a Harper Lee, waiting to spring on me with a mockingbird story. I give space to the next Jhumpa Lahiri with a cure to the maladies of the world.
And I refuse to give up on the GRN. I wait for inspiration.