The writer rediscovers his passion for words by falling back on his story on Monsoon which appeared in RRR months back. There is a moment, believes Manu, when the writer becomes the writing. Language lovers and aspiring writers can follow him closely through the slushy ground in his pilgrimage to woo back his lost muse.
I lost my thread somewhere, sometime ago. A few dedicated readers pointed out to me that they found a sort of lethargy, a kind of despondency creeping into RRR. True. The moment, I went out of schedule, I went awry, I lost my way; my website shed a bit of its charm.
But. I might have gone a little low, but realize that I haven’t yet died on you. If I don’t write I don’t live. If I don’t write I cannot teach. Writing and teaching are the alpha and omega of my life, if you may excuse the cliché.
But sometimes I get tired. When I get tired, I go back to one of my stories to see how inspired I can be if I press my ass down to my seat, and ‘open a creative vein’ to the blank page. I once again go through the pangs I had experienced when I played the archeologist diligently excavating little white chinks of a narrative from the ground around me.
Every writer I know, does this – taking a swig of his own medicine – when he is down. Here I do treat myself in public with a story I wrote months back, inspired by the monsoon. Can it heal me again! I sit with fingers crossed.
Let’s begin with a simple, stupid question. Is a writer always in control of his story?
Hardly so. Every writer has seen eerie moments when he was put to a corner, and someone else took charge of his fingertips pitter-pattering on the keyboard.
“Now I see hazy sheets of rains on distant fields thrashing about like rogue animals. I see them rolling, clombing, tripping, gliding, flouncing, hobbling, traipsing, strutting, plodding, waddling, skulking…suddenly pirouetting on their feet as they catch sight of me, stare for a while, and then scuttle towards me breaking leashes and gathering more sheets of rain on the way….
I find no point in running. With hands thrown away from my body I wait for the monsoon to come, to drench me, to seep deep into me, to grab hold my soul as if it is a kaleidoscope, and give it one twist to change the vistas inside.
Here I go into water. Tell them I went with the monsoon.”
I had seen rains raging in distant fields when I was in my father’s village during my childhood. I had seen them suddenly turning and coming my way. Now when I began writing years later about monsoon, I desperately wanted to bring those showers which the child in me had seen to the blank screen.
I knew that a certain order of words I create would help my cousin sitting in Kentucky before his computer get soaked to his skin in a monsoon shower he badly missed since he had repotted himself from his home in Kollam district. He still needs one, I can tell.
Yeah, I write to connect with people – friends and strangers. 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.
I used a series of verbs- rolling, tripping, gliding, flouncing, hobbling, traipsing, strutting, plodding, waddling, skulking… I wanted to evoke the rain, and was still hardly satisfied after all those verbs. Some of those words mimicked the sound of rain; some signified urgency, a few others meant sluggishness, all different facets of the monsoon rain.
But to know monsoon, we must know what it was like during the parched months of April and May, when:
“Men 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.
Nobody sleeps. Anger. Frustration. Heat.”
Here I must tread softly now. Follow me when I retrace my steps through this slushy ground in my pilgrimage to win back my muse again. You there?