Friday, September 23, 2011

Since the Book

The heart held the visions gingerly, like they were the most breakable things in the world, for when fortunes dropped them, they would shatter into shards that flew everywhere; and then the soul couldn’t dream again. It held them with a shimmering hope. Not slightly, but gripped secure with clandestine intent: wanting. Whereupon, I dwelled, in prevenient contentment of a lost somebody; in illusions now bullied to the forefront, in sporadic creativity of late-night reverie.  

I will not tell just anybody, but I will publish a book. Because Amma said that someday, it would be possible. Because someday, I will be an author. I will sit on a proud chair and sign those copies. Because I will give a speech, and tell everyone that I have always wanted this. There will be a podium, there will be people, there will be journalists who have come from far and wide, and photographers from somewhere in the dark, visible only in sudden flashes on happiness, like the moments of the past.

I typed a book that month. It was 80 pages, and it was named The Heart Remembers. I was the only person who ever read that book. Starry-eyed, I saw it in paperback. Delusions met the pride, and then, I harassed the printer to translate the abstract into tangible solidarity on loose A4 size sheets. Yes, 80 pages. 80 pages of grammatically incorrect, stupid collection of childhood stories that didn't quite match up to "mildly interesting". Yes, 80 pages of senselessness with only a teenager to vouch for its credibility. Yes, that book would be a best-seller. Definitely.

I don't know why the brain gripped so hard at that delusion. It was just something I very clearly wanted, without knowing why. I could not cleave the reasoning or philosophize it. It was just blunt wanting. I want to publish a book. 

Every year for the past five years, I have lived with that thirst. I, who typed on computers on January nights, saw these stories on paper. I, who typed each and every blog post weaved this into a grand dream; everything would be a book. Nothing would go a waste. People would hear me as I called out from the podium of my mind. Imagined applause listening, waiting to explode. People would hear.

It was no small dream. So they consoled me then when I presented the manuscript; they assured me then, when I edited it and presented the manuscript again, they told me they’ll publish it then, when I was still a teenager and hoping---repeated on a late night as I typed; when I bought up the topic, when I was depressed, when my eyes spoke the uncertainty, when I said I wanted this so badly, when stuffed away those 80 pages knowing that it will never visit the printing press. Replayed last summer, and the summer before that, and the summer before that. The 80 pages yellowed and crumbled away. 

But still the dream grew dangerously, I was still gripping the vision. I want to publish a book.

It was very very uncertain that it would happen, and the dream was on precarious ground. Why then, was it not swayed by dejection? Why not, by the sullen moods that extinguished every other rampant desire? It was unscathed by any such poison, it always endured.

Even after teenage ended. With every blog post. It has always endured. It did not just exist, it burned. Like an immortal flame for five years. Even if it would never happen, it would be the grandest dream I have ever envisioned. And it burned on, bright, blazing, beautiful.
I saw these people there, on plastic chairs. All waiting. Only the very few who even cared. I saw their eyes meet mine, and that was resplendent to the festivity of my heart. I sat with my head bowed, when unjustly eloquent praise was heaped on me. I talked a nervous speech. I heard the applause from five years past sounding exactly the way I had envisioned. The heart slacked on the dream now materializing. I saw flashes of light, like the past grazing the pastures of the certain mind, and it was the most glorious thing I had ever seen.

No gift has been better, no recognition more amazing. No degree more meaningful, no journey more compelling. And at the end of the day, happiness to me is this: to be a writer. To be turning the pages of An Amateur’s Attempts, and finding in myself the hope, the courage, the grand dream that heart cradled delicately in its insomnia that dark day. Peace had finally found me, seeping life into these struggling, difficult ambitions that had finally made it's words a book. 

I was a writer.

(Photo-credits for these pictures of the book release to Vijay raj of IClicked Photography ;
. For more pictures of the event, go here. )


Sameer said...

Congratulations on this incredibly beautiful post.

I also share this incredible desire to be published. I sometimes have daydreams about giving interviews to a big literary journal and then signing autographed copies of my own book. Everything done with a cool look that will show that all this doesn't affect me, I'm an artist.

It reminds me of this book I published in school(printed out and photocopied basically) out of my blog. And called it,'Not Quite Literature' which even now I think was appropriate for the book since my first few years in writing were spent in writing completely lame posts about school life, which then I thought was a masterpiece of comedy.

I made copies and gave it out free to my classmates (especially girls)and in about a week or so, one of the copies went to my class teacher who spread it around in the staff room. (Teachers were slammed in general in the book.)Shit scared as I was, the writer in me was happy. I felt somewhat like Salman Rushdie, and told my friends about freedom of expression.

The book was shit, but thank god they didn't throw it in the dustbin or anything coz' that would have really broken my heart. For a day at least.

Asha said...


Zardy said...

You deserve to see ALL your dreams come true, Lakshmi! Congratulations! This is just the beginning :)

praneshachar said...

abba adbhuta hugugi ninu LAKSHMI
what ever you do u do it with lot of precision commitment to the core
wish to see many many more from you on writings... books.... awards... what not...... ayyo............ yen barili..... nanu lakshmi tarha bariyalikke agalla kshame irali......

Suchitra said...

Congrats Lakshmi ! Been following your blog for a few years now and I am glad you were able to realise your dream :) God bless !!