Monday, May 02, 2005


The paper lay on the table. Its white emptiness beseeching him to write. But the words wouldn't come.

He looked at his pen. One of those cheap use-and-throw models. Capless. Blue ink drying on its ball-point. It was futile - trying to write. He had been at it for two weeks now. And nothing to show for it. Feeling thirsty, he took a swig of water out of the bottle that lay nearby. He was sweating, the air lay heavy with the memory of cigarette smoke, the ash-tray full of butts. The cigarettes helped. They kept the hunger away.

His fingers groped for the pen, picked it up, and with an effort that belied the will behind it, began to write.

Time elapsed. The seconds adding up to minutes. Slowly. Inexorably. His pen screeched with every word that he wrote; his sweaty palms blotting the paper onto the table underneath. He leaned over, willing his wrist to move, laying out words on the paper in a desperate attempt to weave a coherent plot.

But the words dried up after a while. They always did these days.

He found himself as creative as a recorded audio cassette - playing the same songs over and over, not a single new note to be heard, the voices ever the same. He hated trains for the same reason - the way they ran the same route everyday, at the same time, somehow reminded him of the same, stale, cliched story he kept coming up with. For that matter, he hated eveything about himself these days - his cramped room with its claustrophobic corners; his mohalla with its narrow streets, rabid dogs, open gutters and thieving urchins; his day job as a typist; the dingy, rickety train he took to work...especially the train.

He looked down at what he had written. His once strong, beautiful hand was now reduced to the uncertain, scrawny scribble of a retard - the words making up the same story that he had already told a thousand times. He was angry at himself. He could sense the rage gradually build inside him. He felt a dark, dense, liquid cloud fogging his senses, cluttering his thoughts, paralysing his imagination.

He looked at what he had written again. And then, in a calculated act of controlled fury, he grabbed the sheet, crumpled it, and threw it at the wall. He heard it flit across the room, hit the wall, and fall with a soft thump amidst a heap of others like itself.

And then, silence. Nothing moved. He felt the cloud in his mind recede. Almost as if it had formed just to prevent him from writing. And now that he had given up, it was on its way; its job done. Like a plague that leaves behind it a city with only death living.

Defeated, he rose from his chair; rather, fell out of it. He walked around his room, enjoying the vacancy of his consciousness. He had come to relish this brief respite that giving up always brought about inside him. Like a man sentenced to hang enjoying his pardon; until the King changed his mind again. He knew the cloud would come visiting again. And again.

He stopped at his book-shelf. His eyes lazily scanned the titles. Caressing the words. He took out his favourite. It always cheered him up. Its crimson cover, yellowed pages, antique type-set...they reminded him of happier times. He had lost count of the number of times he had read the book. And everytime he finished reading it, he wished he had had the chance to have written the story.

He wished he had had the chance to have written the story.

The cloud came back swiftly, this time inciting a flood of thoughts. Thoughts he did not want to think. Thoughts he did not wish to acknowledge. But it was useless. The cloud won. Always.

He went back to the table carrying the book with him. He sat down, opened the book to its first page, took out a fresh sheet of paper, and started writing. The director would have a new script tomorrow, he told himself.


Anonymous said...

This is very good picture of wat a writer goes thro' wen he sits down to write. In fact this is true of many ppl, when they take apen and papaer and attempt to write something and dont go beyond the margin adn the date. Many a times, they look at pieces, they wish they had writeten; it always remains a wish. So, all in all, a very gud expression of thought. The analogies were inch per fect, esp about the train. But, dont u think u hv used some cliche's which could have bee n avoided. For example: a calculated expression of controlled fury etc. Nice work though.

musafir said...

@ anon: Thanks for the feedback!!

As for what you call cliched, I think it said what I wanted to put across, and I don't think there's another way to say the same thing.

Will keep your comments in mind, and keep visiting!!

Srikar said...

very well written. The whole scene is well setup before the eyes...

consumerdemon said...

everytime i read a good book or see a good movie, i wish i had thought of it. and beat my selfup for not coming up with anything new, anything creative. i know how he feels...

musafir said...

@ srikar: Thanks a ton - feels nice to be appreciated.

@ consumerdemon: Didn't know you shared the same sentiment!! :)

The Man Who Wasnt There said...

Well if I were you I would replace the "pen and paper" with a laptop and word editor and the "Yellow covered book" with a website...and writing a book with making a blog entry!;)

What was the yellow covered book anyway? :)

musafir said...

@ girish...!: Haha, yeah probably should write a 'in-the-future' version of this post, and just replace everything with what you've said.

And it's a book with a "crimson cover" and "yellowed pages". As for what it's about, it's entirely up to the reader to use his imagination!! ;)

. : A : . said...

Very nice imagery here. Writers block can be a real pain sometimes.

musafir said...

@ .:a:. : Thanks. It really is frustrating when the words don't come!

. : A : . said...

Yes it is. But they came up here very well!