destination india

Sunday, May 29, 2005

the birth of writers

God created this World and Man created visions of how to survive in its cruel surroundings. The beautiful trouble free world with a wonderful variety of offerings, courtesy Mother Nature has, over a period of time, receded into the background. In fact, they have disappeared. They have been replaced by misplaced priorities. Those who run the mile to the minute, trying to prove that they exist, perish on the wayside, unsung. In spite of that they must run because that is what everyone else is doing and no one wants to be singled out for criticism.

All this is true for ninety point nine percent of the masses. It is the remaining zero point five percent that makes all the difference. How? Because they are that miniscule percentage who paint pictures on canvas of what we all try not to acknowledge; they are the people who believe that the pen, rather than the sword, still remains the mightiest weapon in anyone’s armory; they are the ones who weave the magic of song and music to prove to us again and again that the early morning is the most beautiful moment to live for, that the moon has not lost an iota of her charm.

They are the creators of visions.

I remember the story of a young boy who wants to be a writer. A renowned writer lives in the vicinity. The boy continuously pesters his mother to introduce him to the writer so that he can become his student. The mother keeps on putting it off thinking that, over a period of time, the desire will vanish just like any other whim of a child. But, that does not happen. Finally, one day, the woman takes her son to the writer and prays that he be accepted as a student.

The writer looks over the boy, smiles and hands him a book.

‘Learn this off by heart and come back to me,’ he says.

The boy takes the book, thanks him and leaves. The mother, gradually, forgets all about the incident. But, the boy does not. After some time, he goes to meet the writer. This time, he is alone. He returns the book, thanks the old man and sits down at his feet.

‘Please accept me now as your student,’ he implores.

The old man smiles.

‘Yes,’ he replies. ‘You have it in you. One who has learnt off the dictionary by heart does deserve to enter the portals of writers. But, before I proceed, I want you to look down below you and describe to me what you perceive.’

The boy looks down from the hilltop. He sees a range of mountain, lines of trees, a few cottages, and some cows grazing in the fields. He, accordingly, narrates all this to the old man.

He pulls the child close to him and says – ‘don’t you see the smoke coming out from the chimney of that cottage, or the dog lying at the its doorstep or the river meandering lazily in the valley or the birds flitting from branch to branch or the squirrel scampering about gathering nuts or the clouds in the sky? My child – you have to observe every little thing around you. Then only can you create that which will hold others spell bound. It takes patience, dedication and perseverance to become a writer.’

The old man, if I remember correctly, was Leo Tolstoy.

(to be continued…)

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