So all the readers of my blog, all three of you, yes, here is why I was not updating my blog. Read no?
The past three years were tough. I quit my job, became a stay-at-home-dad, rekindled the chase of a long cherished dream: writing. I started writing very early in life. I used to write novels when I was in 9th grade. There were only two boys in 9th standard ‘F’ section, Bangarupalem Zamindar High School, Chittoor, who wrote stories. One was Krishna D.K. The other boy was yours truly. We were very secretive about our stories. I don’t know why DK was, but I was secretive because of fear of ridicule. Back in 1986-87, forget writing English stories, if you so much as speak a sentence in English, they mocked you. Also, my street gang discovered that the stalker–some random guy–was documenting our ‘activities’ so he could write a Telugu novel. We cut Stalker an extra posterior cavity and trolled him for pursuing such a laughable idea: write a book.
I just didn’t have the balls to admit to my friends that I was writing English stories. But DK and I wrote, I think, two novellas. And, we critiqued each other’s work. DK moved on. He went to USA after his Engineering. I was stuck in good old Chittoor for another three years, before moving permanently to Madras. The writing dream found a home in the back-burner.
It was not until 1999 that the writing itch resurfaced. But, I was insecure. Before venturing into the dream world of IT, I was working in a small Ad Agency. I managed Accounts. I wrote some copy. I was all things and nothing. But that stint made me realise that my writing skills were shit. I was a grammar nazi’s (I still am I guess) nightmare. But writing was cathartic for me at that time. It was my break from the monumental ennui that an IT corporate dispensed with. I wrote on my elder brother’s old laptop that ran on Windows 3.1. He had graduated to Windows 95 by then. I wrote a novel. Loosely based on my personal experiences (*coughs and clears throat*) but most of it was fiction. It will remain the shittiest story or book I ever wrote. I even tried publishing it. Nanda even sent the printed manuscript to–wait for it–PENGUIN! Yeah! Sometimes I wish I had that kind of stupid courage now. Of course, Penguin sent a letter stating that they won’t publish my book. I was actually offended back then. I felt like the world back-stabbed me and I was roaming around with a smug, feigned sadness; telling people how ‘talent’ alone is not enough yada-yada. By the end of ’99 I met the love of my life. She said ‘That book is shit!’ We got married in 2004. Moral? Marry your woraashhhtu critic.
So the writing took a back seat yet again. And I was getting fried in the cubicled hell that is a corporate office. By 2010 I had aged a thousand years. The money was good. I made some great friends when I was a corpowhore, but hey, that was not enough pay off for refusing to do the one thing that made me truly happy. And guess who I speak to? Krishna D.K again. I will never forget what he told me during our initial conversations after reconnecting with each other. He said, ‘We still are the only two people chasing a dream.’ Damned right we are! I was happy for him and I told him that I was working on a book. That book took a long fucking time to happen.
Circle of life
I quit my job by the end of 2011. Why? The wifey (MBBS, MD,) wanted to pursue a doctoral program (DM) in Kolkata. Endocrinology she said. Here she was, the mother of my child, who right after having a baby, cracks the DM seat before our daughter grew seven teeth. And she didn’t stop at that. ‘I will go to Kolkata only if you and baby are going. Quit your job. Come with me. Chase your dream.’ I said ‘Yes.’ That’s how I gave up on the pay check (worst addiction in the world, like Kingsley says)
Anyway, I co-wrote a screenplay with DK and Raj first. We made the story, the four of us. Raj, DK, Sita, and me. And the damned thing got green lit! When Farzi got green-lit by EROS it was surreal: My name in the august company of Raj, DK, and Sita. Aaaand Shahid and Nawzuddin… And yet again wifey came along and said, ‘Wow! Congrats baby! Now, write that damned book and can you please fix that clothes line ya?’
So I finished writing that book day before yesterday. I still have to fix the clothes line. My literary agent read the full manuscript in one day flat and said, ‘Suman, I don’t think we need to change anything. The book is ready for me to pitch it.’ I was like, ‘What the– wow!’ He also said the book has great potential. And so the wait begins… In the interim, I have put the Pillayar Suzhi for the next book. Getting published is just a result, but telling stories is life for me. So here I go again!
Pssst! If this one does get published, buy the book yo! Watch this space.