Tuesday, October 5, 2010

The Reader (Innocent version)

After the Check-in, the security checks and what not, I was allowed to walk into the waiting lounge of the New Delhi Domestic Airport. The shops didn't attract much of my interest, so I had two hours of time to waste before boarding my flight to Bangalore. I went upto the food court there, took a Zinger meal form KFC, and found myself a seat overlooking the airport view outside. Though it was a domestic airport, I personally thought it was a grand view. Passenger Aircrafts like Boeing 737s are about two stories high, but watching them from a higher place up, that too through the unobstructed view of the glass panel walls of the airport terminal - it feels like you're some King overlooking the majestic view of your Empire.

I stuffed in my headphones into my ears, played some soft Japanese Music (Noto Mamiko, by the way, she sang the ending themes for Hell Girl :D ) and took out my Notebook and Pen. I thought I'd write some fiction. But writing fiction isn't an easy task. I need to have a plot, then I'd require to cook up some situations that'd force my characters of the story to follow my plot, and some finer points that a writer should never neglect, had to be taken into mind too. After some though, I started writing something.

I don't know how much time had passed, but some four pages later, I heard someone say "Are you a writer Mister?" I turned around and found a girl of about 10 or 11 years of age looking at me. She was extremely fair, and her accent told me that she wasn't an Indian kid.
"No, I'm not a writer, but an Engineer. But I like to write some stuff up in my free time." I replied.
"You are not a writer... but you like to write..." she said in a doubtful tone with a face filled with an expression of curiosity.
"Yes, I like to write down my thoughts in free time sometimes." I tried to help her train of thoughts. She turned her eyeballs away with her small fingers over her lips. Then she suddenly looked at me again.
"So you write a Diary?" she said with a questioning tone. It turns out I totally derailed her thoughts... or wait. Were they on track at all?
"No, I write stories that build up in my  mind."
"So, you are a writer after all!" Her face suddenly brightened up. "So tell me Mister! Tell Me. Do you write good stories?" The brightness was too much for me, so I looked away from her to resume my own train of thoughts which by now seemed to be low on fuel. She asks me if I write good stories or not. Truth be told, no one ever read the stories I wrote so I didn't know if I should praise myself. I had no first hand proof or recommendation that my stories were any good. 'How am I supposed to know if I'm a good writer or not??' was the question that ultimately kept hitting me. But I finally thought of something to reply to her.
"I can't say, because no one reads my stories." To this answer, she made a curious looking expression.
"If no one reads your stories, why do you write them?" She asked me bluntly and innocently. But her bluntness to say, was sharp enough to pierce through my chest.
"Well young girl. You see, not everyone writes for others to read. Some people, like myself for example, write for self-satisfaction. I guess a girl of your age won't understand." No sooner I said my last few words, her expression changed suddenly. She turned angry and her pitch rose up.
"But I know. I'm not wrong! My Mom is a famous writer and she told me she has to write so that other people read them. My Mom can't be wrong!" I was considerably taken aback by this retaliation. One or two families sitting around us started looking at us. But my thought process started again. She was the daughter of some famous writer... so how many female writers I know who had Kids? My rather primitive brain didn't have enough information or resource, so it gave up thinking about this rather quickly.
"Well, your Mom is right. Writers write so that other people read them. But I'm an exception. I write for myself. Other people may not like what I write." She partially returned to normal. I guess she had a mother complex.
"But how can you say they won't like it if you don't let people read it?" she was now becoming exceedingly difficult for me to handle.
"Ok. So why don't you read one or two of them to decide for yourself if I'm good or not. I can't say I'm good, but at least you can see for yourself." and to this suggestion, her face brightened up again. She jumped over the two seats separating us to the seat next to me.
"Please Please show me your stories." I had a tough time trying to stop her from not falling off during her jumps.
"Ah! Wait. I'll search for a story that'll you may like." and having said this I started searching for a suitable story. 20 seconds into the search I realized all my stories were adult. Probably because I'm still single or something but somehow, unknowingly all my stories had something significantly adult. I couldn't make her read these kind of stories. But soon enough, I found something suitable for her. I handed her my notebook with that page open. She took it with much enthusiasm. But soon she made a troubled face.
"Is something wrong? The story not good?" I asked her naturally expecting her to reply 'Horrible.' or 'Hideous'.
"No. I can't understand what's written. It looks English, but I can't make out the words. It's a very bad handwriting." she replied promptly. I never felt as embarrassed or ashamed over my handwriting as I was feeling now. Even though I've been reprimanded by my parents and my countless teachers about it, only this small 11 year old could take my feeling of shame to a totally new height.
"Well then, let me read it out to you. I'm sorry for my bad handwriting though." I said, trying not to think heavily about it. She gave a smile immediately and handed me my notebook.
"Yes Please!" was her response. I was temporarily stunned. This girl didn't think my handwriting was an issue. She just wanted to listen to a story. That's all.
"But before I start, tell me why would you want to read my story when your Mom would have written far better stories?" I asked her. But she became silent.
"She writes good stories..." and then she looked at me with big innocent eyes "...but I can't understand most of them. I mean... she works so hard to write them and all... but they are all sad..."
"Well, don't think too much about it." I cut her short. I got the feeling she couldn't tell her mom that she didn't like her stories or didn't want to read stories that are probably for more mature audiences or types that she doesn't like. Simply put, she won't say something that'll hurt her Mom. "OK. Now, pay attention to my story. Promise me you'll tell me if it was good or bad. OK?"
"OK." She smiled again.

Then I told her a story that was a total mix of Harry Potter and Star Trek. I tried to act out the dialog so that she could take interest in the story. Every time I tried doing so, she'd laugh out in giggles. Finally I don't know how long it had been, but the story was over in what I assume was 20 minutes. Her beaming face was blinding my eyes. "Mister, this story was very very Interesting. You should let other people read your stories!!"
"Ah! Well... I guess I can then."
"Mister! You have more stories right? Please tell me more stories." and she got upto my lap. Her cute face was directly staring, or rather pleading to me.
"OK. Relax. I think I have another here." I turned the page hoping to find a story suitable for a 11 year old girl. I think I did, but 5 minutes into the story, I realized she fell asleep, resting herself on my right arm. I sighed. It must have been a boring story that she fell asleep. I didn't move... I just sat still so that i didn't wake her up. Her Mom must be here somewhere and it would be bad if this little girl out of excitement or curiosity or whatever mighty lord put in her head,  started chasing after me.

I looked out at the view in front of me. The airplanes were taxiing, and some were preparing for take off. But their movement felt like some video game screen where I could control which plane had to move, which ones had to take off or which one had to be sent for repairs. But soon, I rejected my thought because it started resembling like some Facebook game my friends played non stop. 15 minutes after she fell asleep, a lady called out "Excuse me!". I turned around. It was a foreigner lady.
"Ah! Are you this girl's mother?" I asked her immediately before she could accuse me of being a kidnapper or a child abuser or what not.
"Yes. Is she asleep?" she asked me with a concerned face.
"Well, yes. I'm afraid my last story must have been boring." and then I told her everything that had happened up till now before she could turn any of my aforementioned fears into reality. It turned out that she believed my story... well, I told her the truth anyway.
"I'm sorry my daughter has caused you so much inconvenience." she said in a friendlier tone than before.
"No. No. She is a very cute and very adorable child. I'm afraid I'm the one who must have caused you some worry." I tried to be very formal and very Gentleman-like.
"No. I'm happy that you took care of her. I wanted her to eat her Salad but she doesn't like them and ran away from the food court. I tried searching throughout the waiting area but couldn't find her. I was about to make the authorities make an announcement about her, but I caught a glimpse of her from a distance."
"Good that you came about. I must mention she is very proud of you."
"Ah! Is she?" She giggled in a similar manner.
"Yes. Even though she thought I was a writer, and wanted me to read out my stories, she still considers you to be the best."
"Well. I'm a professional writer, but recently I've hit the writer's block. I was frustrated and couldn't pay much attention to her. My editor let me take a leave, so I could come here to get over it. But I guess my breakup with my husband is still weighing down on me even though it's been quiet some time."

And then the announcement about my flight's final boarding call was made. I gently pushed the little girl away from my right arm as her mother picked her up. I picked up my bag, took my notebook and tore the pages of the story I had narrated to the little girl.
"Here take this. This is the story that your daughter liked. I'm sure she'd want to read it later on."
"But... isn't it your material... I mean you're a writer too. Right?" she said in a hesitating tone.
"No no. I'm just an engineer who writes sometimes for his feeling of self satisfaction." I said. She was hesitant, but she ultimately took the sheets form me. I then immediately rushed to get to Gate No. 9 to board my flight.
"But Mister. May I know your name?" she called out from behind. I turned around.
"Try writing a story your daughter will like for a change, rather than what your audience would like. I'm sure your daughter will love it and it'll help you get over your writer's block. Bye!" I said and ran off to catch my flight to Bengaluru.

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Author's Notes
-----------------------

This is a completely fictional story I started writing when I had to wait for two hours at the New Delhi Airport for my Flight. I initially thought I'd write a Description of this Amazing new Domestic Terminal, but somehow the notebook I had was filled up with story about some girl that didn't exist.

Come to think of it, the guy at KFC didn't notice my presence (and hence didn't take my order), let alone a cute 11 year old girl. :P

Plus, I wanted to write something like the way Ruskin Bond writes... hence this rather... Ordinary story. But if you're reading this far out in this post... Thanks for reading :)

P.S. - I also notice I've written a shorter story compared to my other works :)
P.P.S - I've italicized the dialogs for ease of reading.

8 comments:

Abhinav said...

well i must say ... too good... and since i know you well i am pleasantly surprised at the realistic nature of the fiction you have written... keep it up :)

♥ Chocolate lover ♥ said...

loved it ^______^

♫ Ƹ̵̡Ӝ̵̨̄Ʒ ♫ ayu ♫ Ƹ̵̡Ӝ̵̨̄Ʒ ♫ said...

ill read it again in my e-book..:D

hehe~

RE:well..i just watched the whole series on animeseason and youtube :D

haha~ no need to download it.."D

♫ Ƹ̵̡Ӝ̵̨̄Ʒ ♫ ayu ♫ Ƹ̵̡Ӝ̵̨̄Ʒ ♫ said...

well..yeah..ive heard of koi kaze but i haven't watched it..:/

ill try ^^

anyway, about your short story! it's light to read and easy to understand! i love the lesson in the story and how you narrate it in simple words..:) i love the personality of the kid hehehe~

raindrops said...

O my god... till the time i had not read the footnotes i had no clue of this being a fiction, a very interesting gamut of your imagination! However, of whatever little i know of you i was'nt sure if you could be the 'real' central character of the story.... :P

Samadrita said...

I'm so sorry to be the last one to read this story. But the good point is that I DID read. :D
I love fiction based on reality more than the unrealistic ones...anything with a smooth-flowing narration, a simple plot and characters that leave me with a smile are enough for me to give it a thumbs up. I must say this is your best till date. Keep writing! :-))

♫ Ƹ̵̡Ӝ̵̨̄Ʒ ♫ ayu ♫ Ƹ̵̡Ӝ̵̨̄Ʒ ♫ said...

aww..thanks selenium..:D i hope it could be possible hehehe~

♫ Ƹ̵̡Ӝ̵̨̄Ʒ ♫ ayu ♫ Ƹ̵̡Ӝ̵̨̄Ʒ ♫ said...

RE:@selenium: well, this is really a painful poem, actually its a true to life narrative poem where the girl who narrates her situation is actually me :)