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Tuesday, February 11, 2014

A tale of tales

Let me tell you a story, for two reasons. The first is that time is running out and clearly, time is always of the essence. The second is, it’s the only thing I can do, with any sort of passable merit. So let me get on with it.
There once lived a small boy in a city. The boy still lives but he is no longer a boy. He is a man now, and he attends to manly duties as they might come to one, with time. But once, he was a boy and he had dreams. These dreams were passed on to him through books; rows and rows upon them, all arranged neatly like the prayer lines during his morning assembly. And all he learnt from them, as time passed, was to have a wish; a wish to write the words and worlds that were written in them. Like the words that flowed out of those books, down through his mind like so many quiet gurgling rivers, he wanted his name attached to them. He wanted his own stories to flow out of his nib and make hundreds of mouths around the world turn into little ‘o’s in wonder. Was he able to do it? You bet he was. But the 'o's on peoples faces continued to elude him. 

So he struggled in school to tell his tales. He scribbled them on answer sheets. He penned them down in numerous exercise books. On a few occasions, he even tried to pass them on in the maths paper. But like butter on butterpaper on a hot summer day, it didn’t stick. But the boy did not want to give up so easily. His parents mounted pressure on him. ‘Be a doctor’, ‘be an engineer’, they said. They brought down young lads, their late adolescent pimples still showing, engineers who had just started out and fledgling doctors who would be practicing in a few years’ time. But that little boy stood his ground, an oak that refused to be bowed down by winds.

Time passed on. And it let its rot set in the boy’s dreams. It decayed and turned, bits of it quietly slipping away. But one thing remained; a little gift that the books had given him. It was his sense of wonder, one that led him down the road towards an unending thirst for knowledge. It carved out the job of a copywriter for him…one that let him earn his daily bread and not let his spark of creativity die. That boy (nay, a man now!) still often seeks a quiet moment off his work. He uncaps his pen carefully and crafts his tales for anyone who cares to hear. He still dreams that withered dream of pursuing the Creative Writing Programme at UEA in the UK and set out to complete the dream that the little boy had dreamed so long ago. And someday, by jove, he will.

This story, as you might have guessed, is mine. When I read about this contest, I almost wished that the top prize would be a scholarship to a Master’s Programme in Creative Writing in the UK. Not getting rewards have never stopped the writer in me. I saw this as a chance of telling a story that I have never had the courage to put down in words. I do not know if what I have written here will ever come true. However, I do know, that this contest has made me pick up the proverbial pen yet again and put down my thoughts into words. I has made me start spinning my yarns and interweave them into a tapestry of lore. And for that, I am thankful.
Stories, in their purest meaning, stand for something which is not based in facts. By that argument, this is a story and not one at the same time. That little boy is still waiting out there, to create his own shelves filled with books carrying his words. And as I write this, he is smiling. 

(Written for the #knowledgeisgreat contest. Learn more about it at knowledgeisgreat.in)
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