The writer began to dabble in the stream of personal narratives right from the beginning of RRR. Only thing is that he gets a bit carried off at times, a quality that should be abhorred in the online world where nobody gets any time to spend on a particular page for long. Here in this page the writer presents his choice of 10 best Ravings he wrote in the last year.
1) Voyagers in a Paper Boat. I still don’t know what is special in this that made this story the megastar among all the other articles that appeared in RRR. Perhaps readers like to see a man effusing on a subject he loves deeply, his favourite swig. Yeah, it is about poetry. My kids and I used to sit around lamps to read aloud poems long back. I told them about a vagueness good poems create in our minds:
“It leaves an impression so eluding that it won’t catch even if you run your fingers over it; a vague sensation of an aroma which could have suddenly stumbled into our room, apologized and fumbled out an hour ago, a strain of a song intended for the nocturnal birds, but which the ear suspects that it has picked a moment ago.” Read the story here…
2) Mooning Over Monsoon: If you ask me to pick my favourite, I would perhaps choose this one which came in two parts. Tell me if you don’t get the monsoon along with the package. I virtually sat under an open sky in June to write this. I like the second part for its rich images but it came at a time when the readers were still savouring the first part.
“These days, they lie on their bed of sweat away from their wives. Bodies can only recoil from bodies in this sweltering heat. Cuddling and kissing had taken a vacation and went to a distant country, not to say anything about sex. The men curse their wives when their babies burst out into loud wails at night. The wives mutter under their breath, cursing their fate, babies and their men. In the other room the old parents weave the restless and tattered night together with long strings of coughs.” Well, that was the situation before the deluge. Read the monsoon from here…
3) Knock, knock, knock, Are You a Brain In a Vat? This is another popular story at RRR. Here I wrote about science, one of my favourite subjects. I had only one job: to take the readers out of their comfort zone. I think I did it, not because of my writing skill because of this wonderful scientific conundrum which puzzles many.
Are you an envatted brain? It asks. Do you have an answer? Click here and give us your answer.
4) The Loser’s Game: This is a plea against suicidal thoughts in a broad sense. But to carry the point across I had to pin it to my life, my private wound, my bro’s death. See what happens after you press the red button and wander out of your life.
“You didn’t create a revolt; you didn’t make a point; you didn’t upset the people you wanted to; you didn’t teach any lesson; you didn’t upturn even a single leaf by your death. Even we have learned to live, dodging the pinpricks of memories. You can do nothing about it. Absolutely nothing.
You died on Feb. 2, 1984. Period.” Read the story:
5) Personal Essay: The Wages of Fear: Er..ehm..yes, I am afraid of cockroaches, I admit. Mortal fear indeed. But you must know why.
“The moment I see two antennas thrusting out of a drain-hole in a washbasin in a hotel and swinging wildly to pick up my warmth I desperately want to get home, to slip under my woolen sheet with my wife and daughter outside watching over me.” Click here for the story.
6) The Anatomy of a Story: Almost all writers go through barren patches in their creative lives. But when you are single-handedly managing a website like RRR, you cannot afford to fall back. Still I did for a few days. Here in this story I try to write myself out of the melancholic mood I was deep in. Many journalists later told me that this story had helped them in rediscovering their voices too.
“Every tale I tell must be a bridge along which a little crowd must come looking just for me. When I pull a word off from my story a new movie must start playing in Kentucky. When I slip in another word thunder must roll.” Click here for the whole story…
7) Personal Essay: Night of the Living Dead: I thought hard about writing this. You cannot run away from yourself.
“My father’s biography was constructed parallel to his living, without his helping, without him. But more meticulously. More perfectly. Smudging out all the rough edges. Snipping out all the loose ends. Even those broken pieces that he so innocuously left behind were swept under the carpet at the last minute for a fine picture.” Click here for the story.
8) Personal Narrative: Rear Window: If you go by readership and the number of responses a story can evoke in its readers, this is the most successful story. But I don’t like it, anyway. Because it goes against the spirit of RRR. Still I cannot help myself from presenting what the readers of RRR has chosen as their favourite. Click here for the article.
“The camera can only depict, it cannot tag the right emotion with the right scene in right moments.” Click here for the article.
9) Voyagers in A Paper Boat: Part II. This is a sequel to the successful story which appeared many months back in RRR. Once again the writer dwells in the world of poetry. The tinge of despair is not too deeply buried to find in this story.
“When I read aloud a poem from the dais, all I cast is the magical spell, “Open Sesame.” I wait outside hardened minds with the same trepidation that Ali Baba felt before the ancient cave, knowing that the stiff doors to unchartered territories may creek open any moment now.” Click here to read more.
10) An Interview with a Toddy Cat: A tobby cat has been pestering me for many months. At last I got one trapped. And then I sat down opposite him for an interview.
“We sat opposite the table, outside my library, on the roofed terrace in my home. It was deep into night. The bright white CFL lamp hanging like a pendulum from the roof spewed stark shadows beneath our jaws. Silence in little bubbles ran together and froze into a thick slab of ice between us.” Click here to meet the toddy cat.
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