Ajay was an IT consultant by profession. He was neither a geek with intelligence oozing out of every word he spoke, nor was he a dumb person. He considered himself to be budding writer. The reality though was that he was not a bud going to bloom very soon, but a seed buried 7 feet under the soil. During his college days, Ajay and his friends would drink on weekends and occasionally loathe the lack of right brain functions in them. None of them had anything to do with divergent thinking or arts. The only thing creative they managed to do was to make history in their college by lying around in different physics defying angles, in geographically unique places, after getting drunk.
Ajay always wanted to be part of the creative brigade. He was fascinated by people exhibiting talents such as writing, poetry etc. He loved writing. His first tryst with writing started when he wrote answers to questions he had no clue about in the exams. He would write a longer answer for them than the ones he knew. Outside academics, he tried his hand at writing something related to computers and technology another subject that he loved, but when he sat down on his computer to write, after a few lines, he would slowly stray to watching porn, . Then he ambitiously planned to write about his preparation for an MBA in a blog titled “MBAQuest”. But when the preparation in itself went down the drain, what could he write about. All his efforts to keep his love for writing alive were hitting similar roadblocks.
After a bit of hibernation, just a couple of years back, when Ajay was dating a French girl, like a miracle, he was able to churn out a few lines that rhymed. The girl was completely floored by his poetry, her limited English prowess played a great role in that. Being naturally elated, he quickly tagged them as “poetry” in his blog. He was extremely happy that his right brain did exist. He knew that his lines were pretty good, but just to get a stamp of approval from someone who knew better English than his girlfriend, he shared the poetry with a few friends. He carefully chose the ones who would only appreciate it, even while reading it with their eyes closed. And by the way, the girl was not really French, just an illiterate fair girl from Pondicherry.
He continued to write on the blog about his thoughts and opinions. He had a vision to write novels, columns and he wanted to do it full time. But he was a little restrained in his vision and didn’t want to be a Stephen Hawking or a Dan Brown, he was happy to compete with Chetan Bhagat. He was restricted in his vision only because of his limited vocabulary. Lets cut the crap, the reality was that he liked the Idea of sitting at home doing nothing and writing a few posts, columns, novels and making money out of it. He could also claim that he was in dhyana about his next big idea, even when he was sleeping during the day.
He started sharing his posts without inhibition primarily on Facebook, some of his good friends appreciated it consistently. Though he did not crave for it, the attention he got for his original masterpiece was laughable compared to the likes and comments that girls invited on Facebook with a simple “:)” as a status message. Ajay even wondered if posting under a pseudonym through his beautiful wife’s FB account would get him more attention.
Ajay now wanted to graduate to writing stories. He had never written one and hardly read a few. But had experience in telling stories about his whereabouts to his parents and girlfriends when he was not found at the place he was supposed to be. He knew, that this was enough of an experience.He thought that if he had to become a novelist or a prolific blogger, he needed to write for a wider audience.
He started following a lot of bloggers and browsed through their blogs everyday on his iPad while traveling to office. No, he was not stealing ideas, but just getting inspired, you know. Just then he found out about a contest on a bloggers networking site about writing a story on “Love, Adventure & Miracle”. He was not really keen on the contest as he believed that writing was spontaneous and not induced. He wrote to express the thoughts that came to his mind and loved to express them with a touch of humor. But this logical reasoning didn’t last long. Soon he began to think like Rakhi Sawant, about the publicity he would get, even if by mistake he won the contest. He decided to give it a go.
Love stories were the only way he could club Love, Adventure & Miracle. But then the love stories he knew of, had only Love, Sex and Dhoka. He had no clue how to change Sex to Adventure and Dhoka to a Miracle. Sex at least is an adventure when you are young and a miracle when you are old, he thought. To seek inspiration, he scanned through other submissions that were already made for the contests. There were some wonderful romantic stories which no doubt had love. With dark nights and lonely road where lovers were stranded, the story had adventure and to get back them to safety, there was a miracle. He loved reading them, he too wanted to write something similar, a love story with a little bit of adventure and miracle.
5 Days before the deadline
In office, amidst a busy schedule to look busy without any work, he started to write on his Laptop. He believed that once he began writing, he would get his magic touch and would be able to complete his story. When someone came to his desk, he would look at his own story as if it was an unattended object at a railway station. After 2 days, he managed to write a love story filled with fist fights, a car chase and a miraculous rescue of the heroine to safety. But when he read it, he suddenly had a lot of respect for the script-writers of B-Grade Bollywood movies. He knew that it was not his cup of tea. He wanted to write something different something unique.
2 Days before the deadline
He reasoned that the love in the title of the competition could be even about the love for his puppy. Inspired by his own love for writing, he thought he would pen down a story about an average clerk becoming a novelist and the trials and tribulations he faced in his journey. When he got the idea, he was thrilled, Ajay even quickly imagined his story being adapted to an art movie starring Irfan Khan in Hindi and Prakashraj in Tamil. If it became popular, he could always claim that’s how he became a writer. But when he sat down to write it, the ideas weren’t becoming a reality as quickly as his dream, the narration was so very non-existent that even Johnny Lever would refuse to act in it, if it was to be made into a movie. He decided that he wouldn’t try anymore. He just told himself that he was not good at writing stories and certainly not something that is not spontaneous.
The day before the deadline
The contest was ending the next day, he grabbed a glass of red wine, raised a toast for having tried, ate the burnt toast he had made and went to sleep. He woke up to a dream of having written a wonderful story for the competition and also winning it and getting his difficult to fit in a passport size photo face featured on the website. He jumped out of his bed. Chetan Bhagat is also chubby he thought. Wait a second, that was not why he jumped out!. He got the plot for his story, that’s it, he thought. He had finally hit upon a great plot for the story. That was his style, he thought. It would showcase his love for writing and he quickly made a mental note, Love – check, Miracle – check. But what about adventure, there was absolutely no adventure in the story. Well he decided to cook up something. He still had 8 hours in the day to think about it.
He decided to type out some lines he had thought of in the shower, during his bus ride to office on his iPad. As soon as he sat in the bus, he took out his iPad to realize that he had not put it on charge last night and he neither had a notebook or a pen in his bag. He quickly asked the fat girl slim seated next to him for a pen in English. She didn’t understand a word of English and kept on saying “No English”. Ajay could not even point to the pen in her shirt pocket, he was not ready to take chances of she misinterpreting it. He cursed his company for sending him to an onsite trip to Israel, where Hebrew was the main language.
He consoled himself and started rehearsing the story in his mind. As soon as he reached office, he opened up his laptop and opened up all the applications to pretend that he is working and a notepad to write his story. He planned to write until noon and continue with his work (unusually he had some tasks to be completed that day) post noon. He could stay up late in the office and finish his work if needed, or at least eat the free pizza they give in office for sitting late. No sooner than he started to key in the first line, the phone on his desk rang, it was a call from his manager, and he requested Ajay to join a important meeting. He tried to reason that he has work to finish, but the manager told him that he could do it post-noon and this meeting was very important for him to be part of.
His dream of writing a story for the contest was almost nearing its end. He didn’t give up and thought that he still had a chance given his quick typing skills. He went to the meeting with his iPad and found a place to sit, close to an electrical point and started using his iPad. The VP of the company was sitting in the meeting with a pencil and a paper and our grandson of Steve Jobs Mr. Ajay was pretending to take his meeting notes on an iPad. It was a nasty look from others present in the room, given that he had joined the company only a few months ago and was still in his training period and had nothing much to contribute in the meeting. That look for Ajay was like rain falling on a buffalo. He pretended to listen to the presenter and was busy with his story design. He was quickly jotting down whatever he had thought in the bus and arranged the ideas and flow.
The meeting was stretching beyond its time, it was supposed to be over by 11.30 AM and it was already 12.30 PM, there were people yawning and burping in hunger but the presenter was just rambling on. Ajay was getting restless, as he had to meet the deadline for his work as well as the story. He realized the plight of his colleagues from his previous office when he used to call them for meetings in the afternoon just to stay awake. Then all of sudden, a colleague said that he could smell something burning. At that moment, Ajay heard nothing, and his sense of smell became stronger than his sight and hearing. The voices drowned and he could not see anything, he also could smell something. Boss in the next room was eating pizza and garlic bread he thought, when his colleague pointed out to smoke from the projector, before he could gather himself there was a noise and the projector in the room conked. The meeting was called off for the day as it was time for lunch.
Joy knew no bounds for Ajay, he was quickly up and out of the room along with others. He ran to his laptop and started writing his story until the power was back. He grabbed a sandwich for lunch at his desk and completed 1/4th of the sandwich…oops story.
The power was back and he had to get back to work. He prayed for a fire in the building, to a power cut, to a bomb threat, to finish his story. That would be some real adventure for the judges of the contest instead of a stupid race against time, he thought. But none happened. He was reluctantly doing his work and after a couple of hours around 3.30 PM, the servers (not some one who serves you food, its something that serves you things that you don’t need) he was working on had some problem which could only be rectified the next day and he had to stop work. He was overjoyed and thanked Charles Babbage and the IT industry for all the uncertainties that they built in to his job.
He finished fingering (when writing with pen = penning, why not typing with fingers called fingering!) down whatever he had thought of. He read the story himself and his love and passion for writing a story was now in front of him (along with the 80 common mistakes in writing English). He thanked god for the miraculous idea the previous night and for following it up with quite an adventurous race against time to complete this “Tale of a Story”. Holy Shit! there was some real adventure lined up, his blog host tumblr was overcapacity!! He hurriedly apologized to Charles Babbage and thought that he shouldn’t have poked fun at the IT Industry and most of all not lied about his adventurous server crash!
Finally after an hour, the site was up and he published this story on his blog and posted it for the contest and took a ride back on the bus having a vision about winning the contest! and going on to write a few more of his stories, before becoming a novelist living in a orchard, drinking wine & writing stories.