Urban Shots Crossroads will be launched in less than a week by Grey Oak Publishers. My ‘Footsteps in the Dark’ is finally going to see the light of the day. I’m going to see my words in the pages of a book for the first time – and I’m more nervous than thrilled. There’s a part of me that wants to gloat, to let the world know that I’m officially an AUTHOR, but there’s this other and more dominant part that plays in my head each word that I’d written again and again, questioning it, critiquing it, tearing it to pieces even before it is out.
I create my own demons and feed them.
No, this is not the first time my words have appeared in print – there was that little poem that had appeared in the eighties in a Malayalam weekly, giving me a couple of weeks of fame and glory in my very limited circle, and a chance to meet some of the titans of Malayalam poetry, a cherished memory that sometimes seems like something I’d made up in my head. Did it really happen? Then there were the few newspaper articles that came a few years later. And then nothing. Nothing at all for more than a decade. Over the years, I’d myself come to think of those earlier sparks as a flash in the pan, some freak thing that happens in everybody’s life in some form or other, at some point or other.
It took me fifteen years to get back to the paper and pen – rather, the keyboard. Fifteen long years in the endless roller-coaster that is also called life. There’s this one adjective I can never use with my life: mundane. There’s nothing plain or ordinary or even normal about it. That’s why you’ll never hear me complaining of boredom – I might complain occasionally about too much excitement (of the wrong kind), but never monotony, never ordinary-ness. Maybe that’s what made me turn to the written word yet again – to seek sanity in the insanity of words.
I started writing again only to give a chronological order to the random incidents, memories and thoughts that were threatening to explode in my mind. However, once into it, I realized that it was taking more out of me than I was ready to give. So I decided to leave my head and my heart strictly alone until I can handle them like a (wo)man; instead I turned to my eyes and ears, and that resulted in what was later named Lesser Lives. When Grey Oak Publishers bought it, I was over the top, but the gestation period of almost two years has proved to be beyond endurance; to be honest, the anticipation is killing me – or at least my super-sized ego.
Then came the few articles again – that a dear friend thought were worthy of being printed. I have to admit I rather enjoyed the attention they brought me from my thirteen-year-olds. Add to that the fact that my Supervisor had proudly displayed one or the other prominently for months together in the school notice board. Oh yes, I have had my moments.
‘Footsteps’ was a kind of self-imposed challenge – I had things to prove to myself. And as I told you, the anticipation for Lesser Lives was killing me, and writing a short story for an anthology was as welcome a break as any. Looking back, however, I’m filled with doubts. But then, that’s my lot. I’d better be resigned to it.
What really saddens me is that Crossroads will be launched in all the major cities in India starting this 19th, and I won’t be there. I’ll be in Dubai, biting my nails…