BENGALURU: I could speak for myself. But would you believe me, if I told you?
Writers have a room inside their head where whatever they want comes true. It’s like magic. Really! Only sometimes, things start going horribly wrong. But then that’s an occupational hazard. And since it’s happening inside the head, nobody knows. Thank god for that. (Actually, I’m an atheist, but that’s what we writers call creative licence.
Just like that. With a snap of the fingers, the flicker of a lash or the discomfort of a tear slipping over a brimming eye, people you have met lately, only in your imagination, or sometimes not at all, start walking into your head and saying things that make you smile, or sad. Or both at the same time.
Writers could be out in the burning sun, dehydrating in its sweltering heat, but in that place inside their head they could be getting drenched in pouring rain. No, not just by a shower of ideas that drop from the imagination and fall on the parched soul, soaking it to fertility so that stories can sprout from a picture or a memory, or the naked pain in someone’s voice. Though I admit, that happens too, sometimes.
While the sun is scorching you from outside, inside, there could be raindrops falling on a tin roof, filling the ear with their delightful sound.
They could be slithering off in tiny streams down corrugated slopes, dripping down flaking brick walls and seeping into the ground with the musky fragrance of damp earth filling your nostrils. Outside, there could be stark darkness. Inside, a dance of flashing sunlight that makes you reach for dark glasses and sunscreen.
Or, it could be the other way round. While there is a party going on around you, with laughter and music and the chatter of noisy people filling up the air, inside there could be heartbreaking loneliness. What do you do when silences like this fill you up and start to choke you with their weight? When there are things you want to say but nobody to say them to? Well, if you are a writer, you retreat to that room inside your head and shut the door quietly behind you. You write.
And then you wait, for what seems like a lifetime sometimes, for the crowds to clear so that one real person - just one is usually enough - will reach out and read what you’ve written.
Will watch for that fraction of a second when the door to the room inside opened and shut. And will understand what you wanted to say when nobody was listening. Because, only then it completes the cycle and the writer - she’s free to write again.
Rachna Bisht Rawat is the author of The Brave and 1965 : Stories from the Second Indo-Pak War