13 November, 2016

#GuestPost :: The Story of a Story by Jatin Kuberker

About the Author:
For the mortal world, I pretend to be a Software Engineer who works hard (or hardly?) in the hours of a day. I am the guy next door, a hard core Harry Potter fan and a movie buff. I literally ‘live’ every movie, I have strong opinions about its content and I hate it when a movie based on an interesting concept is messed up for the sake of commercial value. I enjoy watching cartoon shows (doremon, dora and Choota Bheem) with my son. I never get bored of listen to the endless chatter of my wife. When I’m not writing, I make toys for children.

But beyond the boundaries of this ‘cholesterol rich’ coil, I am a rider of rapturous thoughts. I am a thinker, a philosopher, a seeker, a story-teller, a writer, a wanderer and every other thing that a thought can be. At times some of these figments fire out of my thoughtful bowl and command me to write, muse, create, recreate, destroy…EXPRESS!

Who Am I? I have been asking this question to myself since 33 years, and I got a different answer always. Sometimes I get confused and think, am I asking the right question to seek the correct answer? or may be that am I missing the  whole fantastic universal drama around me while I am busy finding an answer to an irrelevant question?

Does the answer even matter?

The Story of a Story

People often ask me: how do I write a story? My friends, to whom, I am no different from them, question me with surprise. How do you see a story in a seemingly simple, everyday situation? And when I tell them, ‘well, it just hits me’ I get an awkward look in return.

Having given a simple answer, when I myself reflect on the question, I find it to be a multistep, unorthodox and a (little) complicated process. Reality fiction is my favorite genre. It is because the stories written under this genre are real, relatable, quick to understand and provide the reader with a completely different perspective on everyday life. There need not be protagonists or antagonists in these stories, but there are situations. A writer is often a keen observer, he collects experiences, situations, and memories into his thoughtful bag and tries to attach them to various frames. And to a writer like me, Life is full of inspirations, I find my characters in the people I meet, I capture visuals from the places I visit. All these are sublimely preserved in the creative corner of the mind until the right inspiration meets the right expression at the right moment.

I will try to decode my process of story writing by telling you a story...well, a story of a story! 

Here I go…

I got my education done from a missionary school. My school has a huge campus with a football ground, 2 shuttle courts, a basketball court and each standard having three sections in which, yearly, about five hundred students get enlightened to the light of knowledge. Many ‘Aayas’ (maidservants) were employed to clean and maintain such an infrastructure. The eldest and most favorite among them was Ailamma. She was in her early fifties when I was in the kindergarten. She lived in the servant quarters and served at the lower primary sections. She was kind, patient, ever smiling and every ready to serve. It was Ailamma who cleaned us, when we as toddlers, dirtied our pants. Out of all my memories about her, one of the vividly etched visual is the way she swept the junior corridor. She bent down the distance to the ground without even bending her knees and did the sweeping. This iconic pose of hers somehow remained with me forever. Once promoted to upper sections, I lost the personal touch with her. At some point, I learned that she lost her only son to a bizarre fever. At another instance, she was robbed of her valuables, her husband betrayed her. All these events, bookmarked themselves in my mind under her iconic pose…

Once out of school, I headed off to college in a different institution, graduated, won a job, got hitched and life went on. While I got busier with the world around me, the memory of Ailamma was nearly forgotten. 

Recently, I got a chance to visit my school. Out of all the nostalgia that poured out, how could Ailamma be missed? I learned that she was still there and lived in the same servant quarter. She cannot work anymore, she has grown very old…yet, the picture of her was still afresh in my memory. I envisioned her to be much the same as what she looked like when I last saw her; wearing the same smiling, having the same caring attitude…

But, on reaching Ailamma’s quarter, I could not withstand the sight of her. She had grown very old. The Ailamma I knew was stout and strong. But now, she was weak, handicapped; It seemed that the iconic posture indexed in my mind has struck with her forever. Thanks to the years of cleaning and sweeping, her back is now arched permanently; she could not stand straight anymore. Her daughters relinquished her. She lived at the mercy of the institution and dies every minute. These visuals tore into me, they searched for some rational or irrational explanation that lead to this condition of Ailamma. A lady who had devoted her life to service, why was she being punished this way? why she had to undergo these phases of calamity? Why is God so indifferent towards her? What happened to the Karma equation? and why the spiritual jabber about 'Do good - expect Good' failed here? 
In my quest, I heard a voice from inside my deepest corners of belief…it was my grandmother’s.
In one of her story telling sessions during my childhood, she had once told me that out of all the animals on earth, the Pig is the most unfortunate one. When inquired as to why, she said, ‘Beta, a pig can never admire the sky, it can never supplicate or grumble to his maker!’

At that point of time, I don’t know why and how, but the words of my grandmother started to compile a thesis and hinted me: 
“Could Ailamma be the most lamentable among the Humans? After the service she did in her life, all she got in return was a life full of disaster, hopelessness, misery, pain and tears. Today, at this age, she still suffers pointlessly and she cannot even look up to the heavens and complain or pray to her maker!”


This, as it seems to be, may not be a presentable story but rather it is something, impactful. It is something to think about. It is food for thought. It amalgamates memories, philosophy, ideology, social conditions…compares windows of time...and furthermost, it is relatable. As a reader, did you not remember the Ailamma in your life, while reading it? 

Now, this piece could leave my pen as a short story…Or, it could be a part of another bigger anecdote about philosophy…I could compose a biopic with a social undercurrent … a satirical short would likewise be great…Or it can be a novel, with Ailamma as a focal figure managing circumstances and society around her…the possibilities are unlimited!

Both my books ‘While I was Waiting’ and ‘Cabbing All the Way’ follow a similar line. They are real stories wrapped around with the slenderest conceivable layer of fiction, just for the sake of presentability…

This is how I am blessed, this is how I write and this is what makes the writer in me, complete! 

About the Book:

Twelve people agree to an idea of running a shared transport service from a common residential locality to their out-of-civilization office campus. Twelve different minds with equally diverse personalities gel with each other to fulfil a common need. At first, the members collide on mutual interests, timings, priorities and personal discipline, but in the course of their journey, they become best friends, make long-lasting relationships, mentor and help each other on various mundane matters. The journey goes on fine until one day some members try to dictate terms over the group. The rift widens with each passing day, the tension surmounts and finally all hell breaks loose... Will the journey continue? Fasten your seat belts for the journey is about to begin...

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