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?