The story about quibbling, quarreling conjoined twins titled ‘An.Al – The Origins’ hit bookshelves sometime last August, 2013. Soon it will be an entire year since the book came out. As the title suggests, I try to document the things which have changed since then. I am partaking in this exercise primarily because I realize that as one grows older, the concept of time disintegrates faster.
For starters, I can now say, without pride that I am a writer. A published author. My book is available to download and to purchase in bookstores.
I still can’t say that writing is my primary job. Still have miles and thousands of INR to go. I still have to pay rent, bills, stock my bar, buy cigarettes and occasionally satisfy the rogue pregnant urge to chomp on some steak, mash and veggies.
When asked about the title of the book, I have to explain that it is supposed to be an inside joke. A joke, which so far none of the readers have registered. Which also possibly explains why I, and I alone find my jokes to be ear deafeningly howlarious.
Since 2010, when I finished writing the original draft for 'An.Al - The Origins'. Since then, I have finished writing a sequel starring the twins, a novella, a novelette, two short stories and abandoned seven stories of indefinite length. With each story, I have bettered myself. Technically and otherwise. I take immense pride in that fact.
I am no longer naïve about my weaknesses as a writer. Yes, I have some serious issues when it comes to ending a story. I have an obsessive compulsive need to name my protagonist/antagonist starting with the letter ‘A’. I tend to find myself being extremely comfortably writing stories whose themes revolve around anger, lust, greed, homosexuality and ambiguous evil.
I am working on them.
Over and above the realization what my weaknesses are as a writer. I also realize that I write for a niche audience. My stories are not meant for everybody. I have made my peace with that fact. I have realized that I expect my readers/audience to have the habit of reading. I expect them to second guess themselves and me as to where the story is heading. And I strive to give due credit to my readers. And as Buddha says, there are only two reasons for a man’s suffering – Greed and ignorance.
I realize that I was greedy for everybody to read my story. I realize that I was ignorant and had deluded myself into thinking that a masala story would be everybody’s cup of tea. I realize that I like coffee. [One mug of coffee, in the morning while I check my mails].
I have found contentment in knowing that there are people who would read my stories just because it is me telling the story.
In the time that has passed since the book got published, I have learned to pay more attention to my own life, my familial history and my past. I have started to listen more. Not just to people but music I otherwise wouldn't listen to. [Do give a listen to Jaga Jazzist, when I heard them the first time, the first thought which crossed my mind was – Anurag Kashyap should totally write movie with just their music playing in the background. Their soundscape is just something else]. I have started to read more. I now read books not just in the genres and by authors I like and admire, but consciously read books which others recommend. [Vinod Mehta has been a revelation; Mark Kermode is hilarious and infectious]. I watch more television shows and movies than I ever did. I have started to re-watch shows and movies which I loved as a viewer the first time around. I have started to re-watch shows and movies which I disliked. It helps me view the world in the quintessential three acts.
I no longer find the urge to drink as much as I did when I write. I still smoke as much as I did. I definitely don't feel the urgent need to empty my brain of things like my smelly armpits, morning wood or other assorted topics on twitter.
I have learned that I LOVE telling stories. I love writing. I am learning to harness my insanity. I am learning to learn.
And I can say that the difficult decision I took to invest in myself and what really makes me happy at the end of 2008, is finally beginning to pay its dividends.