I started a love affair when I was very young. Just a child. Not yet out of diapers…I mean this literally. The object of my ardent affection and when I say ardent I mean I slurped over it, drooled over it and on occasion even peed on it in excitement, was books. I was less than a year old when my mom read me my first book. Apparently I stared wide eyed at the pictures, traced the letters with my then chubby fingers and bestowed upon it the highest honour I knew - I brought up some milk on it. By the time I was two, I was fooling people into thinking that I could read. I knew the words in my many books by heart so much so that when the reader reached the last word of each page, I would turn the page without missing a beat and people around me would be stunned into silence. Sometimes they would even break into applause! If I had the slightest business sense then, I would have charged people to watch this and become the richest self made toddler I know!
My fascination with writers and the process of writing started only much later. My idea of writing was a very romanticized version of someone looking like Kate Hudson or Drew Barrymore, dressed in their intellectual best (I could never decide between the PJs and T-shirt look or the jeans and cashmere sweater look), sitting at an oversized table containing a laptop, assorted papers, pictures and books, in a den or library which had many many more books, a comfortable couch and an oversized armchair to die for, and all of this bathed by the light of a modern lamp. And if this wasn’t enough inspiration, the room had full length glass windows overlooking Central Park or alternatively a beautiful beach (just so that you know, I am more partial to Central Park). Sigh. It’s true, my idea of writing had very little to do with writing.
Equally as alluring, I found good English writers to be very sexy people. Hey ho, no offence to writers of other languages, but English is the only language that I have any degree of proficiency in. You could read out to me the most brilliant prose in Urdu, but for all I know it could be the shopping list and this doubt renders it powerless to impress. In fact the only language this does not work is in French…Even the shopping list there sounds like poetry written just for me and ofcourse it’s all the more beautiful because I cannot understand a word of it. But I digress here. There is nothing more impressive than a person who can use words to perfectly convey his thoughts, who can capture imagination and affection through characters, imagery and plots simply by the way he strings words together. Sexy. And I wanted to be part of it.
“I am going to start writing”, I announce to my significant other.
"Fantastic. 2 mandarin vodkas, 1 Bombay Sapphire, 2 tonic waters...", he yells.
"Huh?"I say. Why is literary brilliance sounding so intoxicating?
"You can start by writing the liqour list for tonight's party", he grins back.
I throw my writing pad across the room and hit him right on the nose.
“I’m thinking of writing”, I said to my mom.
“To whom?” my mom asked.
“No one in particular,“ I said
“Oookkaayyy, writing what?”, my mom asked, looking a bit concerned.
“I’m not sure”, I replied thoughtfully.
Gee, I really had to work on my thirty second elevator speech.
And so a month later and still minus an elevator speech, I started this blog – The Tale End Of The Stick. I loved this name. it pains me to admit that the blog lived it’s first few days as
Growing Up Adventures (and if you make it through this, you can later move on to Enid Blyton)
The corner view (lame)
My Way (no way, too Frank Sinatra wannabe ish and typical)
I wasn’t happy with any of these. I wanted a name that was kind of witty so I could mislead (read fool) people into thinking that I was a kind of witty. And when I finally found it, it just fit.
My first couple of posts were full of what I had set out to do…write my heart out. I wrote stuff that I thought was inspiring. Used words that I liked. Tried and infused some intellect and some debate. There were only 3 people reading my blog. All 3 were friends who had been blackmailed into it! But as with evolution, the writing style and topics eventually changed. It became more personal, kind of satirical, definitely lighter, slightly poignant, a little funny, it became more like me because it became more about me and my world. I had found my groove and a few brave fans.
Topics were hard to come by initially. I would sit at the laptop and wait patiently, though I was not sure for what. I was somehow under the impression that matter (of the literary kind please) would just flow out of me effortlessly. Writers around the world had worthy things that they shared so beautifully, no reason for me to not be suitably capable. But some topics were too risqué, other too boring, many too personal and the rest not personal enough. For the most part, I would run out of things to say after the first page. Or worst still, I would be bored of it already. Most of you won’t believe me because the posts that I do put up are LONG, but these are the few that finally made it. If anyone wants a huge number of incomplete articles (though for what reason, I cannot fathom, except to use as artistic and non functional toilet paper) that are about a page long, I’m your girl.
Speaking of fans, there was then the business of how many people were actually reading my blog. I mean, what was the use of writing a blog if no one was reading it. I might as well have been writing on MS Word in a file in a hidden folder that was password protected. The first few posts I put up, I checked them every seven minutes. Disgusting, I know. Every comment made me feel warm and fuzzy, even the spam! I started reading other blogs. I disliked most of it. Really hated some of it. But what stupefied me was that some of the worst writing had some of the most comments. 25 comments. 63 comments. Even 105 comments. How? Were they giving out free T-shirts or free meals or free CDs? What could I give out? Free dental check ups?? Or maybe a free mouth mirror! But I also came across a few rare bloggems (blog gems, get it?) that kept me reading, laughing, thinking and re-reading. After a few posts, the desire to see who had commented was brought under strict control. I allowed myself to check only once in two waking hours…or twice in one hour if I knew I was going to be busy for the next few hours! The first time the blog hit 10 comments, I took a friend out for a celebratory drink.
“ I had 10 people comment on my blog,” I said with the pride of a new momma.
“You have a blog??” she asked, scrunching her face up in distaste.
See, even close friends did not know I was writing. I really really needed to get that elevator speech in order.
“I just started one. You should check it out,” I said
“Can’t,” she said, blowing bubbles in her cocktail “I have a life.”
I finished her drink for her.
Today, I am a happy camper in blogosphere. I have made my peace with it. I occasionally read my older posts and am amazed that I had the insight / wit / hysteria to write some of it. I am amazed I had the patience to write any of it. I now also know the truth about writing. It is a lot less glamorous when you do it on an unmade bed, with laundry all around you, and an army of over zealous electricians drilling for six straight hours in the apartment right above you. More tragically, me in my strappy T-shirt and PJs does not a Sarah Jessica Parker make.
But the good news is that I can write (self evaluation ofcourse. I am too chicken to ask anyone else for their opinion, but feel free to give it nonetheless). With the right topic, the right room temperature and with any luck the right amount of alcohol coursing through my veins, by gosh I can write. So, here’s raising a toast to more tales on The Tale End Of The Stick. Stick around folks (all puns intended).