Thursday, November 05, 2009


Lutyens Delhi. Gawking at nameplates. White bungalows set back in enormous gardens from another age. If you lived in one of these, how could you relate to the baccha-party in the basti (slum) that I walk past everyday? How could you even see?
Different lives, different frames of reference.


Traffic-less- Monday was a holiday there. A golden pall over India Gate and North block (?). Viewed for an instant.

Sarvana bhavan.A crisp dosa. Bliss.

Opulent, exquisite hotel. Limpid, mughal-style pools. lush inner courtyards. Luxury palls.

Trees with room to grow. Space for branches holding up a vast canopy. How I envy that.


Spiffy Delhi airport. India middle class is out buying. Nice and lively is GOOD.

In On Writing, Stephen King details about how he was a compulsive if precocious writer, and how he began peddling (illegally, but of course) cyclostyled pages of mystery stories he’d write as a schoolboy, and how his school placed him as a part-time sports columnist for a tabloid after school hours. Early genius, even though he had his share of rejection slips.

Back to my schooldays. Writing was elitist, “good” writing made it to the notice board, your best handwriting on special marble-finish lined paper, pink or blue, crisp sheets from the toniest stationers in town, Kalpana’s. I never made it to that shortlist, not once. Somewhere along the line this feeling bred, that one had to be “permitted” to write.
Which is pure balderdash.

7 comments:

Loup said...

My sentiments exactly, however you might want to head out to Chandni Chowk or some of the galis there to be disabused.

BTW.. was there until this Monday :)

AmitL said...

Ah..that explains it-you were in Delhi..:)Yep,you can't relate the posh areas of Delhi with any slums,surely..
----
U're fond of crisp dosas of the S. Bhavan type?That's surely the best bfast/lunch one can have,right?Right after idlis,of course.:)
--
'permitted' to write..:)I felt amused by that-probably because of the thought of editors and their 'permission'for printing.:)

PQ said...

Wow that was an amazing piece there...going to leave a big comment this time :-)

Beautiful bungalows, we had this habit of going for night walks and staring at all of them in my hometown. Most of the charity comes from some kind soul in the bungalow though, not sure if they could relate or not.

India Gate - visited 4 years back...visited the capital only twice so far and I realize that 95% of Indians don't even get to see it once.

I gotto check out SK & don't worry about not making it to the list then, you will make it to a best seller list soon. And btw, in this zamana of self-publishing, why care about rejection slips? Have you ever considered it?

I am going to look up balderdash now :-)

norrbu said...

the gap, austere di, not just the rich and the poor but of the happy and the unhappy. How do we criss cross the different frames of reference to realize that not all is bad. For those in the middle.

austere said...

Loup- was there for two days of meetings, no time to breathe. Yes, Chandni chowk and winding, narrow lanes are more my thing.
Did you make it to parathewali gali?


Amit- the disconnect is disconcerting, how can these rule makers be framing rules when they aren't even in the same frame?
yep, must go to Ramakrishna if you come to Bby.
Well, in school it was pretty elitist to write.

pQ- thanks. :) Charity from some kind hearted soul I agree with, but present day Kings and rulemakers in a cocooned world cut away from reality is what worries me.
self publishing seems a way of selling out, I'd rather live with rejection slips.
Dont quite fancy the idea of standing at street corners trying to sell them books. :)
SK is a must must read. Have reached this portion where he writes abt his coke and daru addictions. Ouch.


norrbu- like a true buddhist, you've taken the middle path. The pursuit of happiness, all encompassing.And made me think.Thanks be.

quin browne said...

reading this proves your superior writing skills.. your deft weaving of languages, ideas, thoughts.

i should print this and hang it up as an excellent example of 'good' writing.

austere said...

quin you are the kindest nicest pal ever.honestly.