Sunday, August 03, 2008

Mindless Churning Out

Now that people are expecting me to write (even if it is one person), I feel this pressure, almost like many Bengali authors feel when they have to churn out good novellas and stories before the Pujas. People wait impatiently for these annual issues of all the popular magazines and whereas some buy all the magazines (Anandabazaar Patrika, Anandamela, Sondesh, Desh, Bartaman, Aanondolok, etc.), some others coordinate among themselves about which magazines to buy. If Rekha buys Anandabazaar, Madhumita will buy Desh and they will exchange later. I belong to the later class. I believe in exchanging books. It always gave me the opportunity to mingle a little more with the girls. To keep them happy, I even borrowed M&Bs from my cousins and lent them. The girls knew Arijit had a library. If they smiled in return, I would think about that smile for a lifetime. There were many such smiles, and I didn't remember any of those smiles for long either, but that was a later realization. That was much later, when I realized it is foolish to be crazy about a girl's attention. I hope to pass on my wisdom to Aaron so that he can concentrate on better things in life.

But then, I myself am scouting girls for him. While Ananya found him herself, I found him Arshita and Sanjana. Ritu Malhotra says her daughter Navya is a little older, but she will wait for Aaron to grow up. Aaron won't be very tall. He is my son, so maybe he will cross me and be 5'9" at the most. Does basketball help? Ritu and Daman are both rather tall, so Navya will be taller than Aaron. Ruled out.

Do you try to visualize how your child will look when he/she grows up? I do that all the time. Try to close my eyes and think what he will become like. Will his eyelashes continue to be as long and dreamy, or will they fall off? What if his eyes become small like mine? And the career choices for him are again as vast: rally driver, model, painter, diamond merchant? He has this absolute fascination for gems. Sometimes you can skid on the imitation gems and jewelry strewn all around our floor. I told him he has to speak Gujarati and has to have some contacts in South Africa to become a diamond merchant, but he doesn't seem deterred by all that. "treasure, treasure" you can see him jumping all around, without even having read Stevenson's Treasure Island.

Treasure Island was our most fave novel. I know it was probably your fave too. I must have read it umpteen times. And then King Solomon's Mines. Will our children read those books? Will they read at all? Or will they not be bothered. My friend Hamsa hasn't read one fiction in her entire life. Has it made her a little unromantic, a little less dreamy? Too practical? I don't have an answer, but I feel you are missing out on a veritable treasure out there if you don't read fiction.

These days I watch movies more than reading books. Reading books had taken a backseat long back. Right after I joined publishing, I guess. Looking at manuscripts all day and learning to edit has taken the joy out of reading without being hawk-eyed about the typos and other errors. Editors are mostly cynical people and can't accept anybody else's writing without trying to butt in with their ideas. It is a generalization (and I will still hold that sweeping generalizations make the world a funnier place), but there are so many live examples that I have seen. I wonder how the editors would react if their writing was to be put under the lens. I write without worrying about construction or spelling errors. You cannot write and go back to it. You have to let it live and breathe like a living organism. Once born and severed from you, it is on its own.

Is it then wise to think too much about how your child is gonna grow up to be? Or is a little bit of editing necessary?


Mampi said...

Loved the mindful churning out. I have always envied the bangla reading culture. enjoyed the recount of your memories with smiling girls. How old is Aaron? About height thing, even I m worried about my son. But he has started to gain height after he started to go for swimming. Maybe that will help. HEHEHEHE, cannot help exchanging notes with other parents.
your write up is wonderful, one thing leading to another-and yet connected. As far as editing the kids' life is concerned. Strictly no, I wouldn't call it editing, I would call it sculpting. You cannot let the clay be... can you? But yes, leaving them independent about most of their decisions is what conscious parenting is all about.

Love said...

Be Yaaron Madadgaar Hi Kaata Tha Saara Din
Kuch Khud Se Ajnabi Sa, Kuch Tanha Udaas Sa
Saahil Pe Din Bujha Ke Main Laut Aaya Phir Wahin
Sunsaan Si Sadkein Ek Khali Makaan Mein

Darwaza Kholte Hi Mez Par Kitab Ne
Halke Se Phadphada Ke Kaha -
" Der Kar Di Dost. "

well, i'll teach Aaron gujarati if he wants to be a gem merchant...

and if he becomes half as wonderful as his papa he will be a very happy person dada :)

Oreen said...

love u guys for ur comments...

Pallavi said...

think your thoughts are valid. So much depends on what they are getting exposed to.

I loved and still love amar chitra katha.. :)

Hamsa said...

Has it made me:
less dreamy - no for sure
practical - you've given me a reason to say to others
a little unromantic - still wondering...

Lazyani said...

It's quaint that you would debate about editing he growth of your child. I remember the young Arijit as the epitome of resistance towards anything which smelt of editing his way of life.

And just to inform you, I still enjoy books as much as I used to and I still prefer them over films.

Jyotsna said...

no harm pondering on how your child will look like when he grows up.I did too but she shattered my imagination.My 13 yr old doesnt look like anything i had imagined her to be..she is taller than i am and most of the features have transformed into a young lady think away! no harm!
and keep writing..i'l be back soon

Rupa said...

live & let live....let aaron enjoy life, too much of editing will kill boss has eyes like hawks, too much editing....and, i agree editors think their writing is, the cycle continues....