Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Author - Romantic Novels

I have always wanted to write a romance novel. To use phrases like "throbbing manhood" and "the fire in her loins and smoldering gentle persuasion" and get away with it is just so tempting but I just can't bring myself to do it. Somehow I find myself imposing upon my simple characters seeking the meaning of life and true love these rational solutions rather than deep thought provoking dialogs ruining any chance of drama and conflict. The estate manager longs for the servant girl and pressures her into submission with his charm and subtle words implying blackmail or harmful deeds in the event that he doesn't get his way. She cannot resist his advances for fear that he will . . . what? Kick him in the nuts and tell his wife to kick some more before frying it.

And there you are. I've lost it.

Getting lost in a romance novel is so gratifying. I would love to be a part of taking people on that journey to far away lands where mysterious and intriguing people are engaged in well, mystery and intrigue. It is so frustrating to me that I just can't write one. Part of my problem is that I have traveled a bit in my life and I am not exactly a young impressionable guy anymore... believe it or not I had more than 8 true love experiences till now... The fact is when we do find true love as all characters seem to do at the end of a good romance novel, or everyone dies, we realize that every little thing is romantic, every word, every sight and sound. The passion is tamed and the places are forgettable. All you can see is the one you love.

If I were to write a romance novel this is how it would go:
"The wind swept across the soft green grass blowing over the beer bottles that they had left on the lawn the night before. He woke up scratching his balls to realize although angel till he was awake last but she has taken all his share of blanket to leave his skin red and swollen from mosquito bites. The sun was shining brightly through the trees and birds sang their morning song... and he thought of waking her up with his melodic fart to get some coffee made... but then again if she woke up first she will capture the bathroom for next one hour. So he let his angel sleep while he left the bed.”

You see, my experiences have clouded my ability to conjure up the fantastic and left me with the mundane. They don't make for a good romance novel but they make for a promising life. Of course I haven't given up completely on the idea. Perhaps I should practice by doing some role-playing. I wonder how she will look dressed as a witch...

Monday, November 10, 2008

Legend of “One-Legged Crow”

Today I saw a one-legged crow... again... it’s been so many years but I still very clearly remember the last one-legged I saw... I was in school those were the days when a one legged crow would get more attention than a girl showing her cleavage... those days are gone for good now... like any other our neighborhood also was infested with 100 of crows cawing but what other neighborhood I suppose lacked was this legendry one-legged crow.

Seeing this crow flying around with one limping leg had given rise to many legends and myths in the neighborhood. The children who played in the street openly talked about these legends. According to some, the crow lost his leg while rescuing his female from the clutches of a hungry ‘cheel’ (a kind of an eagle)... some said he lost his leg after falling from his nest while asleep, some said he lost his leg while trying to walk ‘huNs ki chaal’ (an Urdu idiom- if a crow tries to walk like a crane, he loses his own place)

I was also part of this legend mongering crowd which believed in so many stories about this crow. Whoever in the street used to spot this crow, they used to shout aloud for the benefit of others:woh dekho, langRa kawwa !! (Look, one-legged crow is here) This made every one in the street stop their work and look for the crow. Drivers used to hang their necks out of car windows to look for it, street cricket batsmen used to tell approaching bowlers: “ek minute yaar, woh... kawwa... oopar?” (Just a minute friend that crow, look up) Within days, this crow, backed by all kinds of legends and myths, grew so much in popularity that he became a household name in the locality.

We saw the crow’s limping flight for few months but the rot had set in. After few months the crow lost his popularity. Thereafter, he just became part of the area landscape and nobody paid much attention to his flight. One eyed black cat... brown striped street dog became more popular. Apparently, the crow didn’t like this fall from fame hood. So one sunny evening, the crow came down on an un-suspecting passer-by and pecked the passer by’s head with his beak and flew away to the nearby tree. The passer-by started screaming, pointing towards the tree and people started gathering around him in sympathy. Very soon somebody in the infringing crowd said what everybody was thinking. That somebody said: “langra kawwa pagal ho gaya hai”(the one-legged crow has gone mad).

From that day onwards the popularity graph of the crow climbed up steeply. Overnight he was declared as ‘one-legged-half-brained’ crow. His status changed from a celebrity hero to that of a devil-may-care villain. The new status also gave rise to new legends and myths about how and why the crow lost his mind. Some said that it is because the crow society made one-legged crow an outcast so he lost his mind, some said it is because rest all the female crows refused to marry him and some again said that it is because he again fell out of his nest while asleep.

The crow on the other hand was becoming more and more carnivorous by the day. Now he started pecking anyone who passed under the street-tree he used to live on. There were a couple of people who were his famous victim. One was a boy who worked in a neighborhood. The crow had some ‘zaati dushmani’ (personal enmity) against this boy. As soon as the boy entered the street, the crow would start screaming ‘kaaeN kaaeN’ and followed the boy home while diving and pecking on his head repeatedly like an air-force jet diving to make a kill. In the end this boy had to become bald and wear dark-glasses in order to fool the crow into believing that he was somebody else. This trick worked and the crow stopped harassing this boy.

Another famous victim was my own aunt. She has come to our place for a vacation and was out on her evening walk and this crow made the mistake of pecking her head. To this she became so infuriated that she started scolding aloud in the middle of the road: “kam-bakht, jhaaroo peetay, kal-moonhe, ek dafa haath aa gaya to tera soup pi jaaon gi?”(You unfortunate, broom-hitted, face-looser, if I catch you once, I’ll drink the soup made from you)Apparently the crow really got scared of such grammatically correct Urdu scolding and I don’t remember if he ever crossed her path again for next two months.

After a while the situation became so worse that the cabinet meeting of street boys was called again. I also had the honors of attending it. In the meeting there were two groups. One was a humane group which asked for mercy for the crow while other insisted on mercy for the people by giving crow a mercy-killing. Luckily the mercy for the crow group was in majority. It was then decided that the crow be caught, taken to some other neighborhood and let free. Some suggested that we should let it free in next neighborhood because they had bigger playing areas than ours but good sense prevailed and we transferred the crow to an unpopulated place. I am not sure how the crow was caught and transferred because I was not part of the ‘action committee’ which was formed to carry out this humane operation.

This happened in early nineties... almost 18 years and lot of water under the bridge has passed since then. I don’t know how long a crow lives. Hopefully he is still alive and peckin!!!

Love in the year of addiction


Love your alcoholic...
Nobody understands this better than Neha. She married one. The extent of her love goes beyond all reason or common sense for me. It's a bloody mystical kind of love in a weird way. It's a love that knows no limits of endurance... He can beat her... cheat her... humiliate her. He can set her up and frame her and then knowingly wrongly accuse her. He can imprison her lock her up I store room bathroom... lie to her... scam her... manipulate her. He can give her a venereal disease he picked up from women he sleeps with. He can turn her children against her, spy on her; ridicule...rubbish and mock her in public. He can threaten to steal her children and run away to another country with them and tell her she will never see them again. He can abuse her in front of those same children. All these things he can do and still she endures. She loves him.

Neha's love is a certain kind of horror isn't it? What I can’t decide is if the horror is him or her or just an overall combination of the two. Maybe the horror really isn't him the narcissistic, diseased, cruel, weak, mentally deranged, pathetic alcoholic; maybe the horror is her. She gets down before him on her hands and knees and submissively says, "Kick me." So he does, he kicks her. That sort of thing appeals to his nature after all. Then she gets up and tells everyone how bad she has it; how he kicked her. You poor thing! How can you take that? Why don't you leave?

"I don't know... Its for my kids... for my family... in hope of better future...I don't know..," she shakes her head incredulously, "How do I put up with it?" and as she says this she mentaly prepare herself to get down again so he can kick her for the hundredth time that day.

He got a notice from his office again, her alcoholic. He is again sent to a rehab. Not because he wanted to be there, but because he was mandated to be there. She is confident that when her alcoholic returns he will be a changed man. He has been registered manier times before also, but she has never felt as hopeful as she does this time. This time he is going away to be cured. She feels freer now, her dark mood lifts and she starts to make plans for herself and her children. Life will be better now. She is positive of this and as the weeks pass she builds her strength in mind, spirit and body.

Neha is thinking more clearly now that he isn't around clouding her thinking and she resolves that if her alcoholic returns an unchanged man that she will take her kids and leave him. She does not deserve this treatment and neither do her children. She is a good mother and a good person. These sentiments are reinforced by her friends who continuously tell her she doesn't deserve it and that she is a good person.

All Neha has ever done is love her alcoholic. She has lied for him, cleaned him up and done what he's told her to do no matter how irrational, absurd, painful, repulsive or morally wrong, . She loves him so much that she willingly casts her own soul aside to join her soulless soul mate on his journey to perdition.
But when he is away from her and his influence over her is weakened (although never completely gone because of the excessive phone calls) she begins to see that the price of loving her alcoholic is too high. It isn't worth sacrificing her soul and the souls of her children. She makes practical plans to get out just in case he comes back the same man. Neha isn't a stupid woman, just a woman inculcated with loyalty for her alcoholic abusive husband.

She calls it love, but it seems more like mind control. When she is away from his influence she is a transformed woman, but the moment she hears his voice she becomes virtually helpless and devoid of original thought. Consequently, the competence she demonstrates as she devises a plan for her big escape is an unexpected surprise. It turns out Neha has a strong family support system out there and isn't one of those isolated, beaten down, codependent wives. It turns out she could easily get a decent paying job and does just that. It turns out she can pay her own bills and make her own decisions. It turns out that she does look beautiful and she is sociable and interesting to talk to. It turns out she can assert herself and articulate her words well. It turns out that not only do her kids survive without their father around, but they thrive without his brooding, chaotic presence.
Neha feels strong and exhilarated with new hope for her future. She thinks, "Forget your alcoholic and love yourself."

Neha’s husband is on his way back home from the rehab centre. He is sitting in a sleazy bar downing his fifth Rum peg. He calls her up while he is waiting for his sixth. He scolds her for not picking the phone up right away and immediately accuses her of cheating on him with the neighbor. He tells her that the house better be spotless and there will be some big changes when he gets home. He is sick of Neha not doing what she is told. Neha automatically apologizes without even considering why she is apologizing or for what. All that renewed hope and excitement she felt for her life and all that resolve to leave her husband if he returned an unchanged man abandons her the moment she hears his voice. Her unexpected competence and strength is replaced by that old familiar mantra:
“Love your alcoholic...”