Posts Tagged ‘novel’

Whenever I write, I write to keep in mind readers who do not know me personally. However, there are a few readers who are my friends and close associates and who know me from my other varied activities. And they are always shocked at my writings! They cannot associate me and my writing together. I want to know, why are you that shocked at my writings?

Is it because you meet me as a conventional, conformist, rather demure kind of a girl so content at being indoors, happy with her cooking, her plants, her balcony. Very, very ordinary housewife, whose priority in life is her son’s life, her small domain of happiness, her home, which she decorates, and her small businesses which she doesn’t have any plans of making big.

And they they read my writings: My blog, Whiff of Tempest, Titir and Other Tales, and of course, Neil Must Die. It’s then when they get shocked. Rightly said my author friend: “It’s not a right thing to know a writer personally, because there will be something about the author’s personal life which you will not like. The author will be married a few times, or have had a few atrocious sexual rendezvous, which the reader will not be able to relate to. And in your case, your writings are so diametrically opposite from what you are.”

What I am? Wait! Do you know me at all?

Here is where I start laughing. It’s a writers’ prerogative that he/she choses to write or not write exactly the way he-she lives. I’m so sorry I don’t portray a personal life so colorful and bold like the way I feel or write. And moreover, it’s just one part of the iceberg that you see which indeed looks very, very conventional and a conformist. That’s what friends who have met me recently will say. But what about the nine parts that are under water? They are carefully hidden; the past layers buried deep inside; which inspire my writings. But, you see, the claws are invisible. It’s after innumerable rendezvous and several realizations that I have cemented the memories layer after layer in such a way, that even I cannot now dig up the graves. Conventional? Conformist? Me? Well, if you think that’s me, I have been successful.

But, this blog isn’t to share those memories. I am afraid, those layers will go to the grave with me. You can get a reflection of those layers of my life in my writings, my blog where I bear my soul, and my novels. But, no. Never a whiff of a mis-calculated betrayal. My life, my pain, my emotions, are only mine. I can share the realizations from them, but never the true memories. I do not care if readers are judging me, whether they find me homely or atrocious, whether I can, or am making any change in the society. I am truly an arrogant person and an anti-social at heart, and I’m glad when my friends cannot see that. It means I’ve been successful in hiding my true colors.

Do you really want to know about my life and my battles? I really don’t believe anyone would actually want to know anything about me. They have too much of their own and my life is no different than most. But it seems people’s curiosity never ceases, especially after they have read my writings.

It seems somehow readers cannot connect my face to my writings. I believe I have an innocent face, lead an apparent innocent life, within the four walls of my home, ensconced in the cradles of Canadian social security. One marriage, one child, a perfect family life. How does she write such bold articles?

In 1992, when I had just begun freelancing, and was reporting on the anti-social activities in and around a garbage dump area in Kolkata, an American journalist working with me told me: “Surprisingly you write very good English.”

I still haven’t figured out why was he so “surprised”.

In 1998, a renowned filmmaker and neighbor, who had just read my unpublished book, “Whiff of Tempest“, saw me talking with a neighbor about our common ‘maid’ problem; he took me aside and asked: “What did you talk to that woman for such a long time?”

In 2011, my husband’s friend and long-time family friend who had eaten so many dinners at my house, read my blog for the first time and was shocked. He later told me: “Kaberidi, you and your writing are completely two different personae.”

And it happened again: In 2017, an author friend who was reading my writing for the first time, after knowing me as a very homely person in Canada told me these words: “I would have considered you an ordinary person if I hadn’t read your blog.”

My question: God, do I really have such a really boring, dumb face?

Prospective answer: Dear God, thank you for giving me such a boring face, with which I can convincingly hide my years of life’s struggles and desperate decisions. With which I could run sting operations during my reporting days without raising any hackles.

…Thank you for the smile I still have, with which I can camouflage years of pain and sufferings. Thank you for giving me the strength not to discard everything that didn’t fit me, but repair them to fit to my needs.

…Thank you for giving me the strength to stack my battles in layers and layers of history, and not let it affect my present and future decisions.

…Thank you for giving me the strength to do a grocery list while writing a novel and letting me take orders for my catering business, The Hang-La, while editing for FinalDraft.

… Thank you for letting me come up with a punchy headline for the latest cover story for my in-house tangy magazine, Citrus, while watering my plants.

…Thank you for giving me the talent to write this blog while waiting for my client to take his food orders.

… Thank you God for letting me talk to you, when I know deep in my scientific and logical heart that you don’t exist.

I tell my readers:  Dearies, You are looking at only one part of the nine parts of me that are under water. And I choose to show you exactly what you can handle.

 

Advertisements

The girl turned to him. Her face was stern, her black eyes cold against her whitish features. Then she burst into a smile and turned away to look out of the window.

On second thoughts she plopped her heavy rucksack on Neil’s legs. “I’m Cathy.”

Neil said “Ouch!” and then lifted the bag to keep it on the narrow shelf running above the seats. “What do you carry? Bricks? To hit all Indian men?” he said after brushing his hands off imaginary dirt, the way one does after a job well done.

He sat down beside her and took out a packet of chewing gums from his pocket.

“Friends?” he said and extended one strip to her.

“Not so fast.” She took the packet, tore out one and put it in her mouth.

She chewed on it and contorted her mouth. “Yikes, it’s horrible!”

“Hey, this is from your lands.” Neil popped one into his mouth.

Cathy turned to him, “Where are you off to?”

“Pulga. I love treks.”

“Oh my God!” gasped Cathy.

“What happened?”

“Aren’t there any more trek routes out there? I want to change my route.”

Neil grinned wickedly. “Somebody up there loves me!” he hummed and laughed aloud.

Cathy smirked lightly. She extended her legs underneath the seat in front of her and leant back. “Okay, for the time being, can you leave me alone?”

“Oh sure,” said Neil and smiled.

“Good,” said Cathy and closed her eyes.

Neil leant back and began tunelessly humming the movie song that was being played in the bus.

His voice reached an octave when Cathy opened her eyes. “Okay, okay, we’ll talk.”

Neil stopped singing. “Oh, really?”

“Anything to make you stop singing.”

“ Oh! Sorry. Did I disturb you?”

“No, no, of course not. You were just a note worse than the bus engine.”

“Ha! Ha! You’re joking!”

“Joking?” Cathy turned to him, “I’m serious.  You’re good. It’s just that I can’t take such wonderful music.”

“Where are you from?” Neil cut in.

She looked away. “None of your business.” She looked out of the window and said, “Sweden.”

“You speak English very well.”

“I am an American. My husband is working for a Swedish company.”

“Your husband…?” Neil turned to her looking sorrowful.

“Oh, yes! Big and kicking! He’s Swedish, you know and his hobby is bull-fighting.”

“Oh mah Gawd!” Neil jumped an imaginary inch away. Then remembering something he said, “Bull-fighting is from Spain, isn’t it?”

“So what? It’s contagious. Now every country in Europe is picking it up.”

Neil fell silent. Then turned to her and said, “You’re not lying, are you? I mean… you don’t look married…”

She quickly groped around her handbag and took out a photograph from inside it. She handed it to him, “Isn’t he cute?”

A grotesque pair of eyes beneath a bushy, threatening set of eyebrows, a big nose and a large mouth set in a wide-jawed face with crew-cut hair, stared at him. Neil took the snap and quickly gave it back to Cathy.

“Yeah!” he smiled pathetically and raised his eyebrows.

“That’s not my husband. That’s my boyfriend,” said Cathy. “Here’s my husband.”

She handed him a lesser intimidating photograph. The man seemed to be a soberly dressed professor in his early thirties, complete with glasses and a thin moustache. He handed back the photo.

“You are an interesting character.”

Cathy smiled pleasingly and nodded her head.

“And what are they doing now? Shopping together for you?” he asked smilingly.

Cathy smiled, “I’ve ditched my boyfriend before coming to India.”

“Oh, good! So your husband won, right?”

Cathy turned to him. “Enough talking about me. Now tell me about yourself. Where are you from?”

“Me?” Neil turned slightly defensive. “I am from Calcutta.”

“Bengali?”

He nodded.

“You speak English very well, too,” she smiled.

A very discreetly camouflaged anger seeped out from his next words.

“We’ve had two hundred years of formal training, you see!”

“Two hundred…?” Cathy initially looked perplexed. Then understanding the meaning of his words, she smiled sympathetically. “You’re still angry with the British?” She knew the Indian history slightly. India had been under a painful British colonization for over 200 years until it was freed very recently.

Neil turned away and somberly nodded his head in the negative. Then smiled and looked at her, “If it wasn’t for them, we would have still been in the dark ages.”

“Ha! Ha!” smiled Cathy teasingly. “So you do admit defeat?”

Neil suddenly turned away and turned serious. “Can we change the topic?” There was a distinct volcano in his voice.  A blurred picture of a young man rolling down the stairs of his house, blood getting smeared on the steps and two victorious policemen marching down after the body with revolvers, shaped and vanished from his mind’s eye… It perhaps happened when Neil was very young. Or perhaps he overheard his elders talking about it until the impression formed in colored pictures inside his mind’s eye. He didn’t know. He never wanted to find out.

They both fell silent for a while.

Then she spoke. “Who do you have in your family?”

Neil sighed slightly and looked at her, “My wife and seven children.”

“WHAT…?!!” Cathy gasped!

Neil looked sorrowful and said, “Yeah, not planned, you see, accidents.”

“You’re joking,” Cathy said in a definite tone.

“Yes,” Neil smiled, “the wife part.”

“Wha…! You…” Cathy burst out smiling. “You’re impossible! How did you survive so long? Nobody beat you up?”

“Nope.” Neil shook his head sincerely.

“Okay. So you’re not interested in talking about yourself, right?”

Neil suddenly held her head and turned it towards the window. “See the mountains? We’re way off them. We’ve just started to climb. We have two more hours to go.”

He paused. Cathy turned to him. He smiled. “I’ll not be able to escape.”

She fell silent.

The bus was beginning to climb up-hill. The creamy roads through an ascending landscape with foothills all around green fields now began to look portentous. Mountains soon crammed up nearer on one side, while on the other side the green fields and landscape began to fall further and further down. River Parvati moved along, sometimes becoming a ribbon thrown down into the deep valley, sometimes a cool, swirling entertainer, jumping around their pathway.  Their climb had begun. The bus roared its engine louder and began taking not-so-friendly turns at completely unprepared-for bends.

Cathy closed her eyes. It was obvious she decided not to ask him any more personal details.

Neil sensed that. He loomed over her and said, “With eyes closed you look beautiful.”

She opened them and flinched away, “Do you mind?” She seemed to like that phrase very much.

“No I don’t,” Neil said. “Anything to keep you awake.”

“But it looked like you didn’t want to speak?”

“I am speaking.”

“I mean … about yourself.”

“Okay.” Neil sighed. “What do you want to know?”

“It’s okay. I don’t want to make you feel uncomfortable.”

“I am very comfortable with you,” he snuggled an inch closer.

“Hello…!” scolded Cathy.

He grinned. Then became a shade serious and said, “What do you want to know?”

“What do you do, for instance?”

“Me?” He pondered. “I ruin money.” He laughed and then waved his hand, “Sorry!”

He turned somber for a while. He tried to frame his answer. A first-class college graduate running away from sickening jobs he didn’t want to do? A computer-buffer?

Or a criminal with a track record of assisting in a murder and slipping through the fingers of law abetted by an influential mafia person?!

“I escape.” He framed the answer and looked very happy with himself for doing so. He turned a smiling face to Cathy.

She looked nauseated. And turned away.

“Okay, I’ll be honest with you.” He decided to edit some of his track records. “I am a graduate looking for a job.”

Cathy sighed. At last she managed a sensible answer from him. She nodded and asked off-handed, as if to keep the conversation going, “What do you specialize in?”

Neil sensed it. He turned grave. “Girls.”

She looked at him stoically for a moment. Then asked, “Just the anatomy or an Ischemic heart too?”

Neil kept looking doleful. “Anatomy. I have yet to come across an Ischemic heart.” He leant back and whisking a warm spice to his voice he added, “I’d love to.”

She nodded, “Oh, yeah.” She half-asked the question. She turned away and then half-turned. “You know, you should go a little slow on your specialized objects’ nerves. You seem to be picking on them too much.” She waved her hand in the air, “Just a friendly advice.”

Neil jumped up and extended his hand, “Caught you. So we’re friends?”

Written by 15-year-old Aneesh Chatterjee and published by Ravencrest Books, UK.

A lone man finds himself at the height of criminal power, and sets his eyes on an unimaginably dangerous goal. When he begins to see the face of a hazardous enemy however, his path is obstructed by obstacles too great to overcome. In his fight for victory, he unhinges the life of an oblivious bystander – creating for himself yet another enemy. He obliterates all humanity from within himself and sets out to establish a single, all-powerful, global government to unite the world and end all evil. A once innocent girl with a thirst for vengeance. A detective fighting a losing battle with his back against the wall. A man with incredible power at his feet, on a quest to change the world. Three lives intertwine in a war that blurs the line between good and evil… forever.

PS. Aneesh Chatterjee is my son 😛

For quick and free download on PC or iPad

 

By Aneesh Chatterjee

After immigrating to Canada, my first worry was school. I never knew what schools in Canada would be like. Whenever I thought about it, I always pictured long, wide hallways with shiny tiled floors and countless brightly-colored lockers and crawling with students. The thought of what a classroom might look like never actually crossed my mind, though. I always pictured those hallways. Much different form my school back in India, where our lockers were actually our desks, and the hallways were actually balconies, opening out to the grayish-blue sky.

It was like plunging into a deep lake on my first day. And the worst part was that I couldn’t swim! Everything was so new, so different, and so tough, that I almost lost myself in an attempt to blend in to the environment. I forgot that being yourself can be your biggest asset. It took me a couple of months to realize it. I have to admit that my new “personality” almost changed me into a rude, angry and sulking person who couldn’t take a joke. Almost. I caught myself just in time at around February.

And, I felt a bit of unexplained joy when my locker started to feel homely. One good thing about joining the school weeks after term started was that I didn’t have to share my locker with anyone! I had my own, personal space which felt like a place I could trust (mostly because of the heavy lock hanging from it) but also because the people here were so honest and nice.

Every teacher here was a guide and friend, both of which I needed back then. Leaving the few guides I had back in India and finding new ones here was certainly something to go through. And although the system was much easier, it was still quite difficult to grasp the new style of learning.

Now that I am somewhat accustomed to the new styles, the next big thing – and fear – is high school. I’m scared that I might find myself in that jumped-into-a-lake-and-can’t-swim position again. But high school is about four months away, so I don’t feel I have anything to think or worry about right now except my life in my current school.

But even as this school seemed amazing to me during my initial days here, there was one thing it didn’t have yet: friends. I missed my friends more than anything when I used to roam around the field at recess alone, lost in my thoughts. Not that I had many friends, though. I’m not the kind of person who thinks they’ve made a friend just because they’ve said a simple “hello” to some nobody. Which is probably why I didn’t have many friends to begin with. But the few I had were as close to me as my own life. And, I remembered how I used to spend time with them during recess back in India, while I walked around the edge of the fields in the snow during the last winter. I had made a promise to myself not to tell anyone about this, because I was sure I would make a friend one day or the other. At least, I hoped. Later on in the year however, I admitted this to the school counselor. She recommended I try to make friends at a meeting that took place on Tuesdays. I have to say, it really helped. I have finally made a friend.

However, even now, there are moments when I feel like I don’t quite fit in. I try my best to blend into the environment. I know it’s going to take a long time before I feel at home, but – heck – I’ve got all the time in the world.

Published in Generation Next on 27 May 2010

This poignant copy was written by my son after our migration to Canada. He is now made the transition and will soon be joining university. He now has quite a few friends. The honest writing above may help a lot of kids make such a transition and adjust to a new country. You may share this in case it helps anyone.

(Aneesh is also the author of a futuristic novel, Requiem of Supremacy, written and published in London, UK, at the age 15, after coming to Canada.)