Monday, March 16, 2015

It's good to be stubborn

I got up urgently. It was dark, and the room was breathing relaxed silence, unlike my whirling mind. I fervently groped for my notebook that I used to keep on my side table or sometimes even under my pillow.

I don’t understand why interesting ideas flash at weird hours! I didn’t want to disturb anyone, so I silently grabbed my mobile phone and switch on the backlight, and started scribbling on my notebook. Trying to catch everything that was running in my mind. Satisfied, I was about to switch off my mobile when I heard a sharp voice.

“What are you doing?  Are you planning to ruin your eyes?”  

Mayank! I had been caught, red-handed, romancing with words. I didn’t want to get into an argument. And, what was I going to say? I quietly switched off the backlight allowing the room to slip into the comfortable darkness.

My mind was not done yet. Again, that flash moment. Once again I reached for my notebook without a stir. I decided against touching my phone. I slowly opened the notebook, and started writing without knowing the direction of the flowing words.

“You are so stubborn, rather crazy.” Mayank murmured.  Damn! That rustling sound of paper. They just can’t keep quiet. “You do it all the time. Still awake at three. I don’t understand this. You’ll make yourself sick, Sumi.”

I didn’t reply. Yes, I did that almost every day. Mostly at this absurd hour. But, I did it because ideas are ephemeral. If I leave it in my mind, they tend to vanish by morning. I wish our brains had a save button. Sigh.

I had just started writing. Few published poems in local magazines, and I had started nurturing the dream of being a writer. I didn’t know if it was foolish. I was generally self-engrossed, thinking about something, not listening, sometimes, what people were saying.

I wrote few pieces (I tried short stories after poems) in my free time (if I didn’t get, I extracted). Mayank had no option but to bring fresh, crisp brilliant white papers, stamps and envelops. I sent my stories to the different magazines, brimming with relentless enthusiasm. I waited patiently, already dreaming about my flourishing writing career.

After a few days, a crisp envelope had arrived, addressing Sumita Sahay. My heart was fluttering, with hope and happiness. I opened it, read it, and then closed it, hung-faced. It was a letter of rejection. I didn’t know that just like my ideas, my dream was fleeting.  Foolishly premature.

Then, again a letter. Letter after letter. Rejections after rejections. Disappointment after disappointment.

“Don’t be like this. It’s okay.” Mayank said one day, finding me sad. There were no more scribbling. No more back lights.

It was not okay. I thought, but preferred to stay mum.

“Say something.”  He reiterated.

“I was foolish to think that I could be a writer.”

“No, you are not foolish. You are stubborn.” Mayank said, smiling.

It irked me. I knew he was not a bit interested in my writing efforts. “This is not funny, for me.”

“No, I am serious. So what if some of your pieces have got rejected? Don’t let rejection affect your efforts. I think, in some way rejection is good for your growth as a writer.” He was saying, and I was startled. The term writer, for me, seemed alien from his mouth.

“See,” He continued. “Getting rejected doesn’t mean you are bad. Maybe, your writing needs more polishing to make it shine in front of the editors. Keep trying. You know, it’s good to be stubborn when it comes to your passion. Don’t listen to anyone who tries to discourage you. Don’t even listen to me if I ever try to do so.”

You? You would never do that! Now, I am sure about it. And, if you ever do that, I have your own words that I have saved in my mind permanently. I thought.

Those words, those precious words, coming from a person I had least expected from, brightened something inside me. Bolstered my optimism.  Rejuvenated me with refreshed enthusiasm. 

Really! I am too stubborn to give up. I won't. I decided.

"Are you going to scribble again, tonight?” Mayank asked interrupting my conversation with my rekindled hope. I looked at him blankly. “Please switch on the light. Have you seen your handwriting when and god knows what you’ve written in the darkness?” 

“You saw my notebook?” He shrugged.

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