Tuesday, September 06, 2016

Of writing my first Novel

It’s been more than a year since a new post. Not that I haven’t tried to write. Like our judicial system lagging with so many cases unfinished, my writing folder contains unfinished stories. They just kept dragging on and on. Hope justice comes to them someday.

A good deal of focus had been turned to the publication and marketing of B Ground West, my first novel. After the initial hustle bustle, things have settled. So I am in a mood to write and finish a blog post and save it from being a prisoner of the draft folder. A collection of my experiences while writing the novel would serve this purpose well.

Source: Biography Writing Service.com

The first draft, most of it, was written in a studio apartment in Navi Mumbai. Writing is a lonely job, more so when you have to make your own food! One thing that does help you through this process is music. The entertaining hindi movie ‘Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara’ had released somewhere around the period. I fell in love with the title song which has lines ‘Kab tak giney hum dhadakne…Dil jaise dhadke dhadakne do..Kyun hai koi aag dabi…Shola jo bhake bhadakne do.’ The song was on loop for a few months. The lyrics are inspiring and the music soothing. The song is etched in my memory and it transports me to those time even now.

For me the best place to get the flow of a story is to stand near a (not so crowded) Mumbai local train door. The trains in Navi Mumbai do provide this luxury during non-office hours. I was working at a coaching Institute, hence could afford this luxury. Standing at the wide door with the wind hitting you hard as the landscape of Navi Mumbai rushes through like film images, you are suddenly visited by the elusive link in the story you had been waiting for.

If you are a smoker, you will tend to smoke more while writing. When there is a craving for cigarette and you take out a cigarette from the pack, place it between your lips, search for the match box on your table and open it only to find that you are out of matchsticks; it unsettles you a good deal. Then you search the whole room for that one small wooden piece on which the inflammable material is still intact. The bed, floors and kitchen don’t have any. One cannot ask anybody for the matchbox in the middle of the night. The only option is to go out and find that lonely chaiwallah on a cycle to light a cigarette, cursing all the way ‘yaar tune maachis kyun nahi kharidi cigarette kharidte waqt’ while the street dogs are on the prowl. A bigger issue may arise when you are out of cigarettes and the chaiwallah decides to go on a leave. Then the one rickshawallah who could lend you a bidi will save a story from being deleted from your mind.

 One of the parts of the novel is when four friends are smoked up. I was unable to write that scene satisfactorily and decided to do something about it. Some of you may have heard about getting into the skin of the character, few actors do it. Taking some inspiration, I decided to recreate a similar state of mind while writing the part. You can find few things close to the police station in one of the major areas of Mumbai! It was only when I could get into something myself that the narration came about.

Thankfully while at Navi Mumbai, I had friends from Kharagpur, who would listen to the novel as it was written and offered comments and feedback. Bineet, Ashutosh and Sarosh were the people who were stuck with me in these moments but like good friends, they always gave their suggestions.

The final chapter of the novel was written at the IIMA library. PhD students, when I joined were supposed to take classes with the two year MBA students in the first year. I had to take time out of that schedule to complete the chapter. Most of what was written has been removed in the final version though.

These small experiences, only few of which I have mentioned make the writing process interesting and attractive.

Would love to get comments, if you like this post (and may be interested in reading further) or by chance have read my novel. 

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