Archive | March, 2011

Day 6

31 Mar

went by in a haze of sleepiness. No writing, no planning. There was some impulsive cutting, though not the literary kind. And there was a massage somewhere in between. But mostly, I’ve been sleepy. My nights have been slightly strange.

Today I should have sat and revised my plotline, but I’ve only begun on an alternate plotline without making any significant headway. Why am I working on an alternate plotline? A more knowledgeable writer has told me that the current word count is unsellable. I figured it would lead to less heartbreak if I fixed the errant plot point now than trying to alter big chunks of the novel later.

Yeah yeah, I was supposed to have started the actual writing latest by tomorrow (I had a word/day count on a piece of paper somewhere; that’s the number that spurred me on to re-work). Never mind now.

Short story ready for submission. But not picture, I still haven’t got a title to the story and so I’m guessing most of tomorrow will also disappear into getting these things ready instead of plotting.

Got to roll with it, I guess.

By the way, it just occurred to me that I haven’t said a word of what I’ve been reading. Archie comics are my guilty pleasure for the loo and before switching off the lights — they’re no-brainers! — and the ‘real’ book I’ve been reading is Orhan Pamuk’s The Naive and Sentimental Novelist. It’s gorgeous. I had once read a novel by him, couple of years ago, and found it tedious. It was not any of his famous ones and I don’t remember the name… it was a slim book. I’m enjoying the N&S Novelist. So far, I’ve decided that, I am Sentimental. I think I can be Naive occasionally, but mostly, I am Sentimental.

also Sleepy. Blog again tom.



Day 5

30 Mar

was spent in short story editing. and discussions at home. and cucumber soup. oh and some tv as well. 15 mins of CID and half an hour of the match. India Pakistan. World Cup Semi-Finals.

Day 4

29 Mar

Ends pretty much right now. In the sense all I’m going to do for the next couple of hours is wait for two phone calls. Each is about work. One is about my writing. And both these callers are night-birds. I could pass out right now, but can’t.

Have not begun writing though. Still some stuff to figure out and I think I’m focussing on my short stories till tomorrow. Went for a yoga class. Not missing TV.



Day 3

28 Mar

Went well. Plot outline done. And I have an insane target — write the entire novel in 15 days. I’m saying 15 because Im heading for Vipassana on the 16th, and that would serve as a natural break in which time I can rest the draft, and I am writing two short stories for a 31st march deadline. Time to crank up the pressure.


That’s my look of fierce determination. except that it looks like a live prawn.



Day 2

27 Mar

Unfortunately, no two days are the same. Day 2 went by in a blur (can I blame it on my body clock that is used to lazing about on a Sunday?) and before I knew it, it was 6.30pm and all I had done was read through my plot outline and make a few changes. A quick cry later I got down to editing a short story. Anything to take my mind off my lack of accomplishment. Except that it’s not. I can only give myself time to rally my forces like Scarlett O’Hara — tomorrow’s another day. ¬†And just for that, here’s a picture

Courage in fire



Day 1

26 Mar

went well. Don’t want to watch TV, did a good amount of writing — most importantly, I have a sense of accomplishment and I know the kind of progress I have made.

The 21-Day Writing and Reading Workshop

25 Mar

This is pure challenge. It’s a test, yes. And it begins tomorrow.

What this workshop means is that I am writing a book and so far, have yo-yo’d between TV days and no-TV days. For 21 days, I am giving up the most distracting element in my life — TV.

I am a TV junkie. I get up and I have to watch TV; I am done with my day’s work, I have to watch TV; I keep surfing channels even when there’s nothing to watch. I need noise. Noise definitely takes away from writing and reading.

So here’s the plan —

No TV. If my parents switch on the TV, I move to another room. If I am eating, I can allow myself to sit with my mother who would be watching a Hindi serial or a Bengali movie, which I would have no interest in anyway. If she is watching CID, I don’t sit with her. Interesting movies releasing in the theatres? Shrug them off.

What will I be doing with my time? There is a LOT to read. Lately I’ve been buying books like they’re the last copies available on earth. I shall read them now. I shall post blogs more frequently, so I get more writing done that way, if a different style of writing. And I shall write more short stories. I enjoy writing more than one story at a time, and balancing a novel with short stories has turned out to be great for me. I shall step out for walks, go for my yoga classes, meditate and whatever else — even reading Open or The Guardian online is okay. But no TV. The world is my oyster I can do anything but watch TV.

So, adieu The Simpsons, CID, Band Baaja Baarat and every other movie, F.R.I.E.N.D.S. (sob!), hello reading in the quiet, writing in the quiet, planning in the quiet, learning in the quiet, meditating, writing writing and some more reading.

It sounds liberating. I have no doubt it’s going to be tough, and I shall need an outlet for venting any time soon.

Wish me luck!

Beginning Saturday March 26, ending April 16, the day I head for Vipassana in a centre nearby.

Oh, dear heart

4 Mar

I just caught the last 15 minutes of The Graduate on TV, and realised that the entire story is captured in those few frenetic minutes. By themselves, those 15 minutes could compose an entire short film.

Here’s Ben begging pretty Elaine to marry him; she is caught between him and Carl. But she gives him a clear indication that he is a strong suitor. Once home, Ben is confronted by Elaine’s father. The man is both angry and afraid, of what, we don’t know, but the emotions are clear. And it is then that we get to know that the boy has had an affair with his wife, the girl’s mother, but that was a ‘nothing’ affair: his heart was reserved for the girl. This makes the man angry beyond reactions. The next day boy realises that the girl has been removed from school and is being married of f to her other suitor. He tracks her down to the church. Girl sees that he loves her madly, romantically, and elopes with him.

Dustin’s frenzy was what caught me. I had seen the movie years before, and my mind retains little of it. For all practical purposes, these 15 minutes that I saw made an impression on me quite independent of the entire movie, and yet I got all of it. Dustin’s frenzy, his desperation, the lack of background score through the entire chase scene, his reactions at the wedding itself — the fact that Elaine eloped with him despite having gotten married a second before! It is the quintessential situation of the woman choosing to leave everything for a guy who proves that he wants her beyond reason, beyond self-respect, beyond social acceptance.

Rescuing his fair lady from the church, by the church, for the church

Ben in those 15 minutes, is what every woman wants. Perhaps that is why I disappeared somewhere into those 15 minutes, too.

It is what happens after they get into the bus that made me laugh. Ben and Elaine sit side by side, and stare ahead. Ben gives a wide, deliriously happy smile once, and it fades right away. Mostly, they look unsure. After all, every book and every movie ends with the union of the lovers. What happens after? They don’t know.

And the song begins: Hello darkness, my old friend. The Graduate is made all the more memorable through the music: tongue-in-cheek, insightful when you least expect it. And truthful too. After all, who knows why Ben wanted to marry Elaine so desperately? Was it love? Or a spiteful slap in the cheek of the woman who seduced him? Torn between two men until the day before, why did Elaine decide to elope from the man who had just become her husband? Was it because she loved Ben or because her parents had jumped the gun by forcing her into the marriage? Who knows?

Who knows what love is anyway? Really, truly is? What makes us love one another? Is it really all that noble? Selfless, grand, euphoric? Is it everything the movies and books promise us it is? Who’s telling?


2 Mar

I don’t always know what I am doing, and people tell me that’s all right. But they don’t believe what they are saying, so how can I.

Japleen Pasricha

Founder of Feminism In India. Feminist. Activist. Educator. Traveller

Author, ranter, dad

All Quiet On The Wench Front

Herstory at its fucking finest.

Ashish Shakya

Writer. Stand-up comic. General idiot for hire.