Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Slipping Nights

As the night comes,
I stare at the mirror
Searching for your face
My hands open the windows
Feeling for your breath
My eyes pierce the darkness
Looking for your smile
My feet move to the door
Waiting for your footsteps
My palm sticks to my chest
Counting your heartbeats
My ears avoid the ticking clock
And I try to hold the slipping nights.

Monday, February 8, 2016

A Billion Writers

After writing a novel at the age of sixteen, I almost stopped writing for 20 years. A few years back I was once again bitten by writing-bug and after almost two years’ struggle, only now I can see the end of tunnel and some light. During this period of struggle, I have come across all kinds of people- writers, editors, publishers, agents, and their ideas, opinions (negatives and positives), their whims, their arrogance, they humility, their kindness, their revenge (even on an unpublished author!). So this post has been going on in my mind for a while, and at last, I thought I must write this for my friends, for those who are dreaming, struggling, and striving to make their place in this world.   

There are three points that have been intriguing me:  

First, I am surrounded by a number of people, among them some are writers already, some are in the process and some have the potential to be, successful or unsuccessful, that is not the matter of consideration at all and even if it is, no one can predict that. But it is really interesting that all of them want to be writers. At first, this scenario bogs down an aspiring writer. But I think it should not be. And punch line is, ‘Eh! Everyone wants to be a writer!’

Second point is more intriguing, everyone who is related to book world has their own opinions. General people often talk about falling readership, publishers talking about falling sale, readers of rising price, writers of difficulty in getting published or inability to sell their books. And punch line is, ‘Who reads book these days?’

The third, the most interesting point is, amidst all these claims and counter claims, the number of publishers, writers and number of books published each year are on the rise. Literary agents or agencies, earlier limited to the west, have made impressive entry into Indian publishing world.  It is true that books shops are closing down but it is also a fact that several other platforms for book selling have emerged. The number of successful writers may be decreasing but those who are successful are breaking all records of book sale. And punch line is, ‘Oh My God! He got 5 crore rupees in advance!’

So what future holds for us?

We can’t deny that everyone has the potential of doing something creative and story telling is quite common. What is a story? Just an incident told in an interesting manner. Now that can be told orally as used to be earlier or in a written form, be it as story, play or novel. There are other mediums too but basically it is just a story. And it can be told by anyone, even by an illiterate person.

Recently during my visit to hometown, I was talking to one of my relatives, an illiterate one. There was a feud in the family and she took almost half-an-hour to describe a simple incident. You would think, it would have bored me no end. No, not at all. The way she narrated the episode, with shades of emotion, with use of gestures, and intricacies of language, I was left astonished at the end of her narrative. I still wonder how she could tell so beautifully. Had she been educated, she could have written a wonderful story or novel or would have been a marvelous actor. Mind it, that was only a tiny incident of her life.

That means all of us are story tellers, and therefore all of us have the potential to become writers. The other day I was reading a blog post by Karan Bajaj, author of The Seeker, in which he had quoted an American business strategist Benjamin Gilad, “There are 313.8 million potential writers out of 313.9 million Americans.”

I think statement applies to India also. In fact, it suits more to us, because we are numero uno in gossiping. If applied, India can have at least one billion writers or story tellers, considering the fact that almost 75 percent people are literate in the country. But we must include the illiterates too, because some of them are amazing story tellers, like the one I mentioned.  Hence they have the potential of becoming writers.

If it happens, I think, it would be a win-win situation. Just consider, if we have a billion writers, we will have a billion readers too, simply because, reading is a must for the writers. As much one reads so much chances of becoming a good writer. Whatever subject, whatever genre, one will have to read the books. In my opinion, without reading, it is simply impossible to become a writer. So, my calculation is 1 billion writers= 1 billion readers. And if a reader reads only 50 books in his life, we will need 50 billion books. Isn’t that a huge number? And with this writers will have no problem of readers. Some will get thousands and some will get millions but no one will be without readers.

What we need to do is to promote people for reading and writing. You too may have people around you, who have the potential to do something creative in their life and are struggling to make it happen. This world is full of Amitav Ghosh, Vikram Seth, Chetan Bhagat or Karan Bajaj. The other day when I was reading about Karan Bajaj, I thought of Neeraj Bajaj, my friend who can write a masterpiece, and reading Pankaj Dubey I thought of Shankhdhar Dubey, whose satirical Farzinama is already being talked about and is having his readers in fits and has generated a large fan following even before publishing it in a book form. And Raj Kamal Jha reminds me of Ranjan Kumar Jha, another friend, whose every one- liner, we wish to preserve for posterity. But all depend, how they use their potentials. Every line of action has its own trials and tribulations and they will have to face them.

So dear friends, let us read, let us write and let us get published. Reading and writing will end only with the end of the world. Paper production will closed down but books publishing will not. Instead of hard copies, tangible pages, we will have soft copies, sliding pages on kindle, tablet, big mobile, laptop and desktop, but it is granted that neither reading will end nor the writing will stop. Those who talk, let them talk, we just need to read and write.

What is good or bad, should be left to readers. We need all kinds of books: interesting and boring, thrilling and dull, soothing and irritating, because only bad can define good and vice versa. And do keep in mind that most of the successful writers today are the ones who have been rejected by most of the publishers.

So, get ready now, take you pen or pencil or tab or laptop or desktop, whatever you have and start writing. India need one billion writers, one billion readers and 50 billion books and these are minimal targets, maximum can be anything. The sky is the only limit.


Tuesday, February 2, 2016


We came into the world
Giving pain to our mothers
And as we spread our wings,
We gave pain to others.
We searched the smile
Running away the pain
And ignoring the all
Who said it was in vain.
We never felt it
Till it happened with ours
Body that we thought was forever
Melted with fire in hours.