Friday, February 26, 2010

The Never-Ending Story


1

She didn't like it when people called it a case of writer's block. It gave one the impression that writers weren't humans-only some pre-programmed story-telling machines who never ran out of inspiration.
Atleast that's the way she felt.
But it didn't matter. Whatever one called it she was dry of ideas at the moment.

A blank MS word document lay open on the laptop screen as Sharanya sat on her bed with eyes tightly shut-her eyebrows knitted together in concentration.
In her mind's eye she was desperately trying to conjure up an image-but everything appeared vague at the moment. She could only make out the silhouette of girl-a girl with long dark hair and startlingly brown almond-shaped eyes. But she couldn't tell whether she was happy or sad-'cause her face was shrouded in a thick layer of mist.
'That's good...now show me your face...c'mon now.' she said to herself.
At this point her pressure-cooker let off steam with a tremendous hissing noise and the girl's image vanished in a puff of smoke.
With a sigh she opened her eyes again and made a dash for the kitchen.
15 minutes later she was back to her bedroom-looking disheveled, troubled and in a worse mood than before.
Not only had she burnt the rice yet again but on tasting the curry she found it too hot.
Now very few people knew this but Sharanya Singh Rathore, the famed romance novelist, was also an accomplished cook. She seldom messed up in the kitchen.
At least that was the case up until now.
Now.....
She was an acclaimed fiction-writer who had risen to fame with her debut novel. An author of three published novels, two of her works made the best-seller list for 6 months each.Critics hailed her as the 'uncrowned queen of Indian romance'-the only romance novelist to command a decent male readership.
Her books were selling across the nation at all major book-outlets. She was reaching out to thousands of enthusiastic readers, making them laugh and cry along with her characters, restoring their faith in happy endings.....every single moment.
Now she was a public figure.
Now had changed so drastically from then...
The 'then' in which Sharanya Singh Rathore was little else aside from just another home-maker. The 'then' in which Sharanya was more than satisfied with the sole identity of being Rajiv Rathore's beautiful wife and Aditya Rathore's doting mother. The 'then' in which she considered herself to be the luckiest woman on earth for being blessed with such a perfect family.
But 'then' was a thing of the past now.

Because Sharanya Singh Rathore was only Sharanya Singh now. She had dropped the Rathore from her name ever since her divorce 6 months ago.
The Rajiv Rathore whom she had loved with all her heart was involved in a custody battle with her over their 10 year-old son.
No he never cheated.
But he never approved of his wife's new-found fame. Sharanya's growing popularity drove a wedge between the two...so slowly that even she didn't recognize it until it was too late.
It seemed all those years she had stayed faithfully by his side during his slow climb up the corporate ladder were forgotten in a matter of months.
His job. His family. Life was always about him.
Success could only be his. Not hers.

The plush 4-roomed apartment seemed to have grown so much smaller ever since she started living alone. At times she had the nagging suspicion that the walls were closing in on her with each passing day. At other times she debated whether or not it was time to visit a counselor.
But stubborn and headstrong as she was Sharanya hated to cave in under pressure.
Although she had considered returning the advance payment to her publisher a few times she didn't have the heart to actually make that decision-somehow that would mean losing.
And for the time being she had lost quite about enough.

The tick-ticking clock on the wall informed her it was 4:30 p.m in the afternoon....only 4:30. She shuddered to think of how slowly time would pass that evening.

The warm afternoon sunlight was pouring into her room from the north-western windows bathing her in its glow. Sharanya closed her eyes in contentment and realized what exactly she needed at the moment.


2

A few minutes later she was locking the door to her apartment and making her way towards the elevator. After 10 more minutes she was walking down a paved path that ran through the centre of the nearest public park.
This was the only place where she could absorb some more of that pristine sunshine.

She slowed her walk to take in her surroundings...a few familiar faces, a few new ones, yellowing grass carpeting the ground, Mr Malhotra sitting alone on his designated bench, the balloon-seller at the gate....everything was the same. Even the dead deodar tree at the far south-eastern corner.
Unconsciously she started walking in that direction.
The last thunderstorm of the season had proven to be fatal for the tree which was now standing in a sort of a bent position....remnants of the broken branches were strewn at its foot and the roots were losing their grip on the soil.
The yellowing and brown leaves at the tips of the branches confirmed Sharanya's worst fears.

'It isn't dead yet.' a voice spoke from behind.
She turned around to look at a bespectacled, wrinkled old man with a clutching stick in his hand.
It was Mr Malhotra.

'How do you know?'
He smiled.
'You see those upper branches...' he pointed in the direction- 'look closely...can't you see something there aside from the dried leaves?'
Sharanya followed his gaze and squinted in the sunlight.
Her eyes widened...'cause sure enough she could see tiny green leaflets sprouting from the tip of a branch.
He was right.
'I think your eyesight is better than mine Uncleji.....' Sharanya said finally.
'Hmm........I was once a colonel you know.' he smiled good-naturedly.
'But eyesight has nothing to do with it....' he added- 'I could see because I was looking for it.
You didn't see because you believed the tree was dead.'

Sharanya blinked. The man had a knack for hitting the bull's eye.

'Ah it's almost sundown.....I better get going now...so why haven't you been around lately?' he asked.
'Well I am working on a new novel...that keeps me indoors most of the times.' Sharanya replied truthfully.
'Write away my young lady...write happy stories....and remember to send me the first copy.' he said and broke into a raucous peal of laughter.

Sharanya smiled gently and watched the old man as he walked away. Without turning around he raised his hand upwards in a gesture of biding goodbye.
He was the same man who came to this park every day with his wife of 35 years until the day she was no more.
But he didn't stop coming. And he still laughed. And he still wanted to read Sharanya's book.

Suddenly her lips parted as her face broke into the widest smile in months.

How foolish had she been to assume that her story was over?

Sharanya broke into a steady jog down the path towards the exit.

The story of life was ever-changing, ever-evolving. It simply never ended.
As long as she was alive and breathing.....as long as she could feel the heat of the sun on her back....as long as she could see Adi's smile.....she knew she had a purpose.
She had a hundred more stories to write, a thousand more smiles to spread, a million more lives to touch.
She didn't need to worry about her ending anymore.
For her story was only just beginning.

 

Special thanks to Nightwing of Mavericks for his valuable suggestions.


Sig 2

44 comments:

Nightwing said...

beautiful..one of your best works till date..so realistic..a slice of everyday life..told in a mature and unbiased way...superb..keep up the good work!!!

atindriyo said...

The song of life!
Your best work till date.... and the way you made those emotions shine....
amazing.... it's like the sun peeping out of the clouds after rain....

But what I liked most was the restraint you showed while painting this little piece of life....
Extraordinary, I must say!

Siddhesh 'Ravan' Kabe said...

woah this was too good... :D wow...the beginning was the end and the end was the beginning...ossum!!!

Lovd it..

Apratim Mukherjee said...

Sunshine represents happy times and rainfall represents gloomy days...But as we move on in life, we should always remember that both sun and shower make the rainbow... Your lovely story reminds us of this truth of life...keep up the good work...

Siddhesh 'Ravan' Kabe said...

btw was very skeptic on reading never ending story...but the story ends beautifully...:D wow...

firefly said...

awesome sam.. one of your best works..

The Laughing Man said...

Not bad at all... I dont do imagery in my stories very often... so... I always enjoy your work... I am usually all about the dialog...

Karthik said...

Very neatly done. It flowed so effortlessly.
I loved the last three lines of the story very much. They define life, they define strength.
Somehow this story reminded me of one of your own stories (don't remember the title); about a girl walking along the beach and encountering a wise man.

So when does Sammy's novel hit the bookshops? :)

Mr. Pramathesh™ Borkotoky said...

Awesome!

Liked the flow.

Just make the 1 & 2 more prominent.

Mr. Pramathesh™ Borkotoky said...

One more thing.

I learned a few things from this piece. I may use the style sometime. :) Hope you don't mind. :)

Samadrita said...

@Nightwing:I'm so glad to have satisfied you with this piece.Your feedback means a lot. :)

@atindriyo:Thanks a lot for t hose warm appreciative words.Getting your comment after a long time. :)

@Sid:Dhanyavad Sidji.That made my day.

Samadrita said...

@Apratim: What can I say?I'm just plain happy that I got your feedback.You liking the story is an added bonus.Thanks!

@fireflyHey Rohit thanks a lot for the lovely comment.Keep reading. :)

The Laughing Man:Yea this story had no real plot and very little scope for any real dialogue.I just directed all my energy towards depicting the emotions.Glad you liked it.

Samadrita said...

@Karthik:Hehe yea that story also ended with a note of hope in the end so I guess that's where the similarity stems from.
My novel?Lol I'm just an amateur writer.or let's just say a budding one.I got loads to learn.But hey you are free to dream right?
I bet I'll get to read your published work before anything else. :D :P

@Pramathesh:You got to learn something from this piece of writing?Must say I feel honored after learning that.Thank you!And no I don't mind at all.Come again.

♫ Ƹ̵̡Ӝ̵̨̄Ʒ ♫ ayu ♫ Ƹ̵̡Ӝ̵̨̄Ʒ ♫ said...

wow..this is an awesome story..you made me realized so much things about life..and you really write smoothly..i love your style in writing..your descriptions are simple and not that long..:)its really a beautiful story :3

reply on my blog..thanks :3

Nethra said...

Wow! The narration was so smooth and the concept so clean. I just loved it, especially the moral of the story. You are some writer. :)
Good going. :)

Rajlakshmi said...

loved the beautiful ending... leaves me with a posituve feeling :)

Samadrita said...

@ayu:You read my story.Yay!And you liked it too.Double yay! :D

@Nethra:Welcome to my blog Nethra and thank you for those kind words.Just an amateur here who only dreams of writing well someday.Come back again. :)

@Rajlakshmi:My stories invariably end with a note of hope.That's kind of my trademark style..nice to have your wonderful comment.Hoping to see you here again.

Selenium said...

An excellent motivational story.
I like the way you brought up the philosophy of life. :)

Hopeless Romantic said...

I hope i don't have to go through so much catharsis to get my book across...

Just a few pointers -

a) why so many one line paragraphs. You can easily assemble them neatly.

b) There was no mention of his husband pov in his writing career. As a reader, i would like to know about it before passing any 'judgment' on her current scenario.

c) How can i get the google buzz widget on my posts?

I have seen you writing even better than this....keep going....

cheers!
Amit

Hopeless Romantic said...

in her* writing

Samadrita said...

@Selenium:Yea that was the intention anyway.Happy you liked it. :)

@HR:Coming to your questions pointwise-
a)The one line paragraphs stand alone on their own merit.
Like for example this one-
But 'then' was a thing of the past now.
The explanation for this statement is provided in the preceding paragraph.
But yes maybe I could've assembled some of the other one-lined paragraphs into the earlier ones.

b)I think her husband's point of view is clear enough.The typical male ego that always craves for all the attention..can't stand his wife hogging most of the limelight.That's the main reason for their split..

c)I will post the link for the buzz icon on your chatbox :)

Thanks for your feedback btw.

pritha said...

A good story......."Writer's block" is actually quite demoralising.But I liked the way the character came out of it.

Daone said...

I was actually relieved when it ended, y'know. But no, not in a bad way. Coz this one was absolutely perfect and I didn't want a single extra element shoved in which would make this a thanda affair. Simple, percise and gentle, this one hit the bull's eye. My heartiest congratulations to you :)

Samadrita said...

@Pritha: Thanks!

@Daone: Wow finally I get your comment.Yay this totally made my day.
*broad grin*

heavealie said...

this was like a warm breeze on a cold winter day although its very hot in mumbai hehe!!well written but i thought it would be much longer!!the first part gave the impression that you could have written much more but i know,people dont have that much patience to read!!i liked the ending,shines in its own way!!a story with a beautiful message!!wat more do you want? :) keep writing!!

Abhishek Khanna said...

beautiful post.. :)

came here through blogadda

Sayandeep Kundu said...

beautiful...nice...life itself is an endless journey..let us paint it with different colors..colors of a multifaceted intellect and ineffable emotions..

Samadrita said...

@heave:Such nice and warm words describing my story-that's enough to make me smile.Yes sometimes people don't like to read long posts so had to keep that in mind.In any case I'm glad you liked it.Just read your story and commented. :)

@Abhishek Khanna: Ah yes I'm humbled that blogadda chose this a post as a spicy pick.Good to know you liked it.

@Sayandeep Kundu: Yep that's the message indeed.Good to have your comment after a long time.

somsubhra said...

Splendid writing. I would've used more adjectives,but my fellow posters have already saved me the effort.

Hmm..I was looking for some inspiration to start my own blog,I think I have found it now.Thank you. :)

P.S: "As along as she was alive and breathing..." --- Sorry,but I wanted it to be just perfect. ^_^

Samadrita said...

@somsubhra: Aww your appreciation means a lot to me.Thanks for pointing out the typo..it's corrected now :)
And yes you better start your own blog soon.

nesquarx.com said...

Don't know if it's your best yet. I liked it the most yet. Made me smile. (:

Lazy Pineapple said...

A real heart warming story....it definitely made me more positive about life. The neding was perfect :) kudos for such a wonderful story.

Samadrita said...

@nesquarx: Wow I'm glad the story could have that kind of effect on you :)

@Lazy Pineapple: Thank you lots.Welcome to my blog btw!

Quintessence Of Illusion said...

I could relate to this story very well.........effortlessly flawless....loved it gal

Samadrita said...

@QOI: Me happy. :)

Soumya said...

Khub bhalo. story telling is a different art in itself. it was smooth, intriguing at places. Needless to use any adjectives.

Keep it up!

Neha said...

awesome story..very beautifully narrated..this small story teaches so much..wish we all start thinking this way; then the life will indeed be beautiful :)

Shrabasti Banerjee said...

Hey. This is nice and sweet :). You don't know me, hehe. Just thought I'd comment. Also, Sharanya's a nice name.

Samadrita said...

@Somuya da Dhonnyobad.Sune bhalo laglo tomar bhalo legechhe :)

@Neha: Thanks my lady.The appreciation does provide me with comfort. :) Keep reading.

@Shrabasti Banerjee: In this blogging world we hardly know each other and yet we do.So don't say such things girl.
Welcome to my blog.....glad you liked the story :)

MADHU RAO | (INDImag.COM) said...

Feel good stories often end up being coerced and trite. Not this one. Beautiful !

Shrabasti Banerjee said...

Yeah, probably :). But then, you're not *completely* unknown, I guess. My dada and you are pretty good friends..he studies with you. Anyway, I know how much neater comment windows look when the last comment's from the blog owner, so I'm sorry to wreck the aesthetic perfection that was your comment box :P

Shrabasti Banerjee said...

Oh hey, and the 'startlingly brown almond-shaped eyes' remind me of Harry's startlingly green almond shaped eyes :)

Samadrita said...

@Madhu: Wow thanks.Coming from you..this appreciation means a lot to me :)

@Shrabasti Banerjee: Oh now I know who you are.Asked your dada :)
It's really nice to get to know you and further have your presence on my blog.
And no having the blog-owner's comment at the very last does not matter.It's just that I feel one should always respond to the kind comments left behind by readers. :)
Yes Harry's eyes were almond-shaped indeed....but it has no connection to the story.It's merely a part of Sharanya or the author's imagination.

mukul said...

simply awesome......felt really good after reading it.....simple yet so inspiring message ....life goes on ....fantabulous

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