You must have all read the story of how, at the tender age of five, having been egged on by a particularly vicious dog, I was forced to take up the pen, the mightiest weapon known to man, in an endeavor to quell the uprising of hoards of marauding canines. (Take that, and that, and that, and... ) I believe I was reasonably successful in thwarting their dark and evil design, since all heads of states of all countries still remain essentially human.
Having thus achieved my end, I laid the pen to rest for a fairly longish period, except for occasional tests and exams, when one had to revert to using it to scrawl out trigonometry, Archimedes principle, structure of atom and other such completely useless bits of knowledge in a really abysmal handwriting. But deep inside me, an author lay trapped within layers of competitive exams, corporate bullshit and such other forms of rat-race.
It was not until very recently that I decided to take up writing again. This time aided by QWERTY boards, mightier than the pen. So in between mails on explaining cash flows, setting targets, poking a friend on face book, churning out idiotic presentations, playing scrabble and making elaborate XL sheets, I started finding time to blog.
At first, the occasional slips into this aberration were minimal and controllable– approximately 2.3 times each year, much like how Dr.Jekyll could control the use of the stuff that could turn him into Mr. Hyde. But this happy state of affairs was not to last. I left active corporate life because of an autoimmune disorder. And like a vicious beast, long shackled within the confines of a polished exterior, the aspiring author in me was unleashed. My declaration, stating my intent of spewing the stuff out once a week was received by all my hapless classmates and FB friends with quaking hearts. The fact that every time I pinged someone or chatted with someone, I would end the conversation asking them whether they have read my blog was more than some of them could handle (I believe some of them opted out of FB) . Even my unknown scrabble opponents would be surprised witless in the middle of their bingos by me pasting my latest post on the chat box, making them completely miss their seven letter words with the letters Q,U,A,K, I,N and G. When I started ending every phone call with the question “have you read my blog?” my wife finally kicked my posterior viciously and told me enough was enough.
But unknown to them, I was brewing up a far more sinister and darker plan, that of writing a whole blooming book.
This happened when Jayu and I went for 3 months to Chicago. The main purpose was for me to undergo a stem cell transplant. (The secondary purpose was for me to see the Playboy building and the tertiary purpose was to eat the original deep pan pizza.) So what does one do in between blood tests, being poked by electrodes and bone marrow biopsies? Writing, of course. So I started off on my first novel. I was quite focused on this task and managed to churn out 2-3 pages a day. I was duly encouraged by dear friends Sridhar, Vasudha, Manish and Radhika, poor unsuspecting souls who had no idea just how close they were to becoming branded Frankenstein. I completed fifty pages, but was personally, not happy with the way the plot was developing. It was altogether too serious. There was no pep in it.
And then I went in for the actual treatment (17 days). My body revolted at the chemo and refused any input outside of dry toast. But my brain, pickled in the purest Old Monk rum and Bullet beer from the age of 16, must have found some kinship with the aforementioned chemo. It must have been also quite impressed with the mix of rabbit juices and rat juices the hospital was kind enough to provide intravenously. The fact that the hospital was miles above any I have ever seen and the Doctor was incredibly good added to the feeling of well being. And of course, it helped that the nurses, handpicked to be the best of the best, also looked like angels. Buoyed by the abovementioned happy circumstances, my brain finally came up with the sweet-spot. It was ‘out with the serious’ and in with the ‘mad and whacky’. The idea for ‘Oops!’ was born.
Over the next 3 months, aided by the excellent dragon software, I completed my first novel. Then started the difficult part of the whole journey. That of getting an unsuspecting soul to read it. Three months down the line, it remained a fruitless endeavor. Even my kids, even on the pain of cancellation of all pizza rights, dug in their heels and resisted. Till finally I found 3 persons (one cousin, one friend and one friend’s son) to actually read the whole stuff.
But getting a publisher gullible enough to bite on the hook was a whole different story and shall be recounted in a different blog. (How else can I stick to my promise of once a week excitement?)
But in case you are sighing with relief, let me warn you. I am no quitter. You, my poor fish, are going to be hit with the final product come May. With your best interests at heart, let me give you some friendly advice. Buy the damn thing and read it. Otherwise, the vicious Mr. Hyde in me will find expression and I shall track you down to the ends of the earth and make sure I pain you with a deluge of blogs.