Some day I would like to tell a story. Probably not mine. I doubt a time will come when I will be ready to leave myself so vulnerable. But there will be elements of me in it. Every piece of writing is like a footprint of the writer’s soul. Unknown to me, this blog has become a pensieve holding an anthology of characters I have either met or been, some time or the other, in some form or the other.
I have recently adopted a new hobby, ‘people-watching’. It’s interesting to read the emotions and nuances that people try to hide. Many of my characters are spun out of that.
A few months back I was attending a mehendi ceremony.
There were two sets of mehendi-vaalis there. The ‘primaries’ (as I have termed them) were the more experiences artists and were reserved for the first family. They were seated on the sofa while their clients sat on chairs. The ‘secondaries’ who probably charged less, catered to friends and extended family, and they were squatting on the carpet. I’m sure the hosts intended it as an exercise in budgeting, but it inadvertently set up a class conscious environment. My secondaries were obviously not happy. By the time it was my turn, I realised that they had lost all interest in being creative and like cookie cutters were simply alternating between two sets of designs. I soon became Thing 2.
That was inevitable, wasn’t it. If you rob a person of their dignity, you will kill their self-pride, and a lack of work-pride can only generate mediocrity. In all our misguided casteism and reservation, isn’t that exactly what we have done to our country?
If you want to want to see people stripped raw and bare of pretensions, go hang out in a hospital. As crass as that sounds, it’s true. Nothing strips off the superfluous as effectively as being faced with death.
If you need ideas for your creative writing exercise, go hang out in a hospital. If character+conflict=plot, then this place is teeming with characters in conflict.
If you want to really face yourself, go admit your loved one in a hospital.
That being said, I sincerely pray that you are never put in that position, and neither am I ever again.