Dedicated to Rahul.
The bus sprinted aggressively across the clumsy road missing each and every vehicle that it overtook by mere inches. And it was no discomfort to anyone standing inside as we had inherited through natural selection the traits of going through normal life while simultaneously being thrown over from one corner of the bus to another; the ticket collector issues a ticket in one corner and – screech – flies to the other corner bumping into a herd of women and then apologizing and cracking a joke, proceeds to issue their ticket and so on. And the women don’t mind at all for it is all too common. Once, while in a similar situation, the driver kicked with all his might at the breaks to avoid a possible collision with an oncoming car on the bridge, and physics forced me to swerve, revolving round the vertical metal bar, that I’d clutched on to, in a semi-circle and landing, finally, on the lap of a woman seated nearby who’s hands instinctively and quite naturally made contact with my spine. Our noses had learned to eliminate that particular range of scent, the smell of metal drenched in dust, smoke and sweat. Such is the manner of lifestyle of a commuter in Kerala and it would have been the same here too had there not had been this yapping fellow who was standing next to me with a huge desire to know my life history and my plans for the future. I pretended not to hear him the first time but then I gave up after seeing his innocent face.
“I want to become a writer!”, I answered.
“Writer? You mean, someone who lives by selling the craps he’s written in books?”
I looked at him with more than just distaste.
And then I gazed into the camera and slipped into a dramatic monologue accompanied by inspirational music in the background:
“No! I never wanted to become a writer in your mindset. I would love to become a writer who loves writing, neither for acquiring public’s attention nor earn some penny for living, rather than doing anything else that makes him happy. I’m not saying anything against their dreams upon me; writing what I’ve in me on a piece of paper using my ink strangely makes me happy. I don’t know why!? It always help me to find out a real flow of happiness in me.”
I paused to let my words strike a chord in the mind of my ardent and only listener, and I turned my gaze towards him only to find a wrinkled old man who was chewing air, looking at me suspiciously. Subsequently, he returned from the front to the back of the bus and I noticed that one of his cheeks had blushed slightly. We resumed conversation.
“Okay!”, said he, “Act according to your wish. But keep this always in your mind that writing one or more books wouldn’t help you to fill your empty stomach whenever you feel like having something to devour. Never follow all those fancy- crazy imaginations in your dreams; chasing your unrealistic dreams in a real world would makes you unhappy at any point of becoming a writer. Don’t compare yourself with all those writers who’ve chased their dreams and became a well renowned writer in the history. Your writings aren’t that interesting for the readers like you think. And you know, this is 21st century; everything happens here for money and a reason. Although you’re 21 year old, you’re still so immature to accept such kind of implicit facts.”
“Okay. I know-”
“Have you ever thought about your future? How it would be if you’re an unsuccessful writer?”
And I contemplated this for a long time by gazing outside and spending some time watching what boys watch during a bus journey. When I finally turned around, I expected him to be gone but his curiosity was grandiose and more his innocence.
“Nope! I haven’t—”, I finally blurted.
“Don’t think too much about your craps right now! Earn something for yourself and lead a superb- cool life, Man. You’re not that bad to do it, I think”, he said as if he’d been waiting to say it for this statement of mine since his birth and now that the deed was done he could rest in peace.
“Yea! Of course. I’ve to go now. See ya.”
He told me that his stop had arrived and that he was about to get down. I don’t remember what facial reaction I gave as a reply. Then he grabbed his shovel from under the seats, bade me farewell, tucked up his discoloured lungi and got down at the Vaathuruthi stop. A seat became vacant and I occupied it and looked out the window. The man placed his shovel and reaching into his pocket took out a beedi and started the efforts to light it. He looked at me. I looked at him with vengence.
“Okay! Bye.”, he waved and the bus took off and once again the whole world was in balance.
Lifted from Rahul’s I want to become a writer.