Sunday, May 8, 2011

A 'once upon a time...' with a very happy ending!

Once upon a time, long long ago, in a far away land there lived a Young Girl who loved to read. Well, maybe it was 2003 and the land was Gurgaon, but the point is this girl really, really loved books. She also loved to write and in a distant past had written reams and reams of prose and poetry, but that love for writing had sort of got overtaken with a million other seemingly important things-to-be-done that had crowded up her life. Things like building-a-career and getting-ahead-in-life and climbing-the-corporate-ladder.

Once in a while the Young Girl did stop however to smell the roses. Or rather, in her case, since roses weren't that abundant in Gurgaon at the time, she stopped to read some books. Lots of books. For long hours into the night and whenever she could catch a quick break during a busy work day. In lunch hours and on the road and sometimes, when the book was particularly unputdownable, even in the office loo (just don't mention this to anyone okay? thanks). And on weekends. Oh those glorious, languorous weekends filled with hours and hours of reading.

At the end of one such particularly happy weekend, the Young Girl, feeling quite inspired by some of the tomes she'd read, said impulsively to her husband: "Someday, I want to write a book."
She half expected him to laugh off her statement but to her surprise he turned around and said, "Yes, you should. You write well. Why don't you do it?"
"I will...someday", the Young Girl laughed and went on with the rest of her life. But somewhere in her head the thought had firmly planted itself. Someday she would write a book. She had a very good idea of the sort of book it would be. It would be a funny book, but it would also be very romantic and it would capture several nuances of the corporate life the Young Girl lived and breathed every day. The Young Girl began to look at life with a different perspective. Every experience became a vignette that she could capture in The Book. A batty boss screaming because the font size in the sixteenth presentation of the day was light green and not deep purple stopped becoming a source of frustration and became an inspiration instead.
"I will write about this batty boss in The Book" she'd tell herself as she modified the font colour.

The Young Girl had a close friend at work and she confided her plans to write to her too. The close friend was most encouraging.
"You must write!" she urged "Sometimes when you speak, you're so animated, it's like watching a real-life version of Tom & Jerry! What fun if you can put some of those thoughts down in a book!" The Young Girl was most encouraged and her dream of The Book became stronger and stronger.

A few years later the Not-So-Young Girl had moved to a different city and a different job. A lot of things in her life had changed but some things remained the same. She was still busy with building-a-career and getting-ahead-in-life and climbing-the-corporate-ladder. She still had a Dream for The Book, and often, this dream helped her cope with some of the less than rosy realities life often threw her way. Then the Not-So-Young Girl went through a big life changing experience. She had a baby. Her life, or what remained of of it that hadn't turned topsy-turvy as lives often do when you bung a baby into the picture, began to revolve around the baby. She took a break from building-a-career and getting-ahead-in-life and climbing-the-corporate-ladder to focus on the baby. And that's when her husband reminded her about her Dream for The Book.
"Why don't you write the book now that you're on a break?" he asked "You may never get the chance again."

The Not-So-Young-Girl knew he was right. Now was the best time to begin. And so the Dream began to become a reality. She started writing her book. She wrote when the baby was asleep, in the afternoons, for long hours into the night, on weekends and holidays when her husband took care of the baby. And she realized that she was happier doing that than she had been for a long time. Suddenly, building-a-career and getting-ahead-in-life and climbing-the-corporate-ladder didn't seem so important any more.

She had her days of course. Days of self- doubt, severe crises-of-confidence, of feeling like a lost ship with the lighthouse nowhere on the horizon.
She would often wake up her husband with cries of "I don't know what I'm doing! What if I'm not a writer! What if nobody likes what I write! What if I don't even know how to write? What am I doing?!"
"Just write your book" her husband would tell her. "You're doing great. But I'm going to have to move to the guest room to catch up on sleep if you're going to make these 4am conversations a regular feature."

One day, at long last, The Book was finished! The NSYG (I'm getting carpal tunnel syndrome with all this typing, and I guess you're not exactly thrilled with reading that over and over are you?)was ecstatic!
"I've done it! I've written The Book!" she exulted.
"Fantastic!" said her husband, who'd read every single word himself and suffered inordinately through all her "I've written five more words! Read, read, read! What d'you think? Huh, huh, huh?"
"And now to get it published!" he said with a smile.
"Published" squeaked the NSYG "The Book you mean? I have to get it published?"
"Unless, of course, you want to get it pickled or bottled?" asked her husband wryly.

And so the NSYG, resisting the strong urge to curl up under a corner of her duvet, began the long drawn out task of getting The Book published. She approached a publisher she had dreamed of being published with, in some of her many wild day dreams, and sent them a synopsis of The Book. And waited. And badgered the husband with more whiny 4am pleas "D'you think they'll get back? D'you think they might be even remotely interested? Huh? Huh? HUH?"
"Relax, lets wait and see how it goes" her husband always replied calmly, even as he eyed the guest room earnestly.
A couple of weeks later the publishers replied. They liked what they saw, and could the NSYG please send the complete manuscript as soon as possible?
The NSYG promptly turned into an absolute nervous wreck and spent two feverish all nighters reading and re-reading and refining The Book. Finally, with her eyes feeling like buttons and fingers like jelly she sent out her manuscript.
And waited again. And waited some more. And had nightmares about the chief editor hating her manuscript at the end of which she'd wake up her husband on the verge of a near nervous breakdown. And had dreams about the chief editor liking the manuscript at the end of which she'd wake up her husband in a happy haze.
"Do you think she'll like it? What if she hates it? What will I do? My life will be over. Waahhh!!!"
"Hey you know what, she liked my book! She LIKED it! Oh crap, it was a dream! Oh crap! Waahhhh!"
And on and on. Her husband held her hand, and wiped her tears and assured her all would be well. He also moved into the guest room.
One day she got a call from the chief editor. She liked the book, would the NSYG like to sign a contract with them?

At this point the NSYG went into a happiness-cum-hysteria induced near-coma and the husband had to be roped in to take things further.
The NSYG could only think of one thing. The dream had come true. The Book was going to be published. Her 'once upon a time' had a happy ending. And she was the happiest girl in the world!

P.S. Er, P, do you think you might want to move back into our room from the guest room anytime soon?
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