This was something I had to write for a creative writing assignment. Thought I would put it up here as well.
Psychedelic lighting. Smoke rose up in helices, withering away into random parts of my room. Outside, the general hullabaloo of hostel life made itself faintly heard. But almost all sounds were drowned out by the great buzzing of four brains, one of which was mine. Desperate times called for some desperate thinking, and, as a wise man once said, four heads are better than one.
The humdrum of academic life throws an occasional spanner or two in to the works of any student. Such a blip had occurred in mine when an assignment to write a short story proved to be particularly difficult. It was time for the rescue team to get down to its act and in this case the team materialised in the form of three friends who were particularly jobless that night.
Smoke continued to rise, the distinctive smell of a particular member of the flora becoming more and more pronounced.
“So”, I said. “Gentlemen, you have gathered here to bail me out of a sticky situation and I will need all that you have got to set matters straight”, I rambled like a Mafia don addressing his cronies. In a few more words, I described the situation at hand and the acute case of writer’s block that had kicked me in the crotch and nullified all efforts so far.
“Bottomline is, gimme a story”.
The brains continued to whir, like some great machinery at a factory, beating all other aural competition hands down. Anyone walking along that corridor could have been forgiven for thinking that they had been suddenly transported to Jamshedpur or some place where they indulge in such activities.
It was some time before the wheels slowed down for fuel, the machinery slowly winding to a halt.
“What exactly are you looking for?”, asked Dawg.
“I don’t know. Anything”.
“I mean, like comedy, sci-fi, dadaist....”
“Anything, Dawg. Anything”, I said, trying not to sound desperate.
The whirring and the buzzing forced itself back in to the scene, though periodically intercepted by random half baked suggestions such as “Dude, I read this book recently....”, “How about you try....” and even “Macha, have you seen Enthiran?”.
Things were far from rosy. It was everything but rosy. If a five year old kid had asked her dad what rosy meant, he would have pointed to our situation and said anything that is not this is rosy. In short it was bad.
“You know, if you want you can be this dark, deep guy. Shady past, murky future. That kind of thing”, suggested The Dude.
I had not planned on that, but it was a start and the best one so far. I took it.
“Angry young man or disillusioned guy dabbling in myriad illegal activities?”, asked The Dude.
“I prefer the latter”, I grinned.
“He can frequent the shady circles of the city, scavenging for Flying Spaghetti monster knows what, unable to satisfy the inner cravings of his soul with the dire pleasures the city offers. He seeks nirvana”.
“Bimbos and booze bore him. Cannabliss is all too common. What he wants, no one knows”.
We sat open mouthed. straining our ears to catch every last syllable of the words that were dropping from The Dude’s lips. Pearls they were.
"And he is all angst ridden, ok", said Dawg, taking up from where The Dude left off. "Can't speak for thirty seconds without saying the f word or the c word four times. His mind is like one of those whirlpools I saw on Discovery channel. You fill up his dialogues with such stuff,dude. He hops from woman to woman like a bee in a coterie of orchids. Our man should be a gun totting, rum guzzling, weed smoking metro sexual womanizer. The whole story should be around as clean as Suresh Kalmadi".
“And then he meets this awesome girl somewhere. Her eyes are as blue as the skies above and as deep as the ocean below”, chipped in S.
A bit of background on S. S had one ultimate aim in life- to start a little known, and possibly innovative venture known as the Gift Shoppee. Till date, no one knows exactly what this bit of entrepreneurship involves. Like my protagonist, it too has a murky future. But many and complex are the vagaries of life and S had some how ended up in college.
“I know!”. S jumped up excitedly. “Our hero is in a Gift Shoppee, checking out some tribal beads from Nagaland. Amidst the strings of beads that hang there, his eyes meets those of this girl. Both of them are going for the same string of Naga bead. A collision is imminent. Strong situation, don’t you think? One complete with romance and mystery. Thrilling”.
Three pairs of eyes looked at him in pretty much the same way they would look at a particularly foul smelling trash can. That he had lost it was the general consensus.
“Dude, shut up!”, interjected The Dude. “Bring a girl in to it. Yes. So far you are talking sense. But what is all these crap about Gift Shoppees?”
“Yeah, no Gift Shoppees”, I agreed. “Girls, yes. Definitely. How do we move on from there?”
“You appadiya insert a couple of paragraphs about how your hero hangs out with the girl and flirts with her. The hero can tell her a couple of Commonwealth Games jokes. They are mighty funny and gives the impression that you and your protagonist are intellectuals who are concerned about the fact that the country is going to the dogs.”
Once again, I was awestruck. I was this close to drafting an agreement with The Dude to make him ghost write for me for eternity.
Dawg had another brain wave.
“You can end that sequence with our hero kissing the girl or something like that. Hold on as long as the censors will allow. Then you got to decide whether the you let the camera shift focus to the shining lake, the fragrant flowers and the chirping birds or call a spade a spade”.
I was left to ruminate on why life keeps throwing such tough nuts at me to crack while in the background S said something about the two being alone in the back of a Gift Shoppee. By the time I told him to shut up, he was describing how the owner of the Gift Shoppee would walk in on them and say “Ain't a thang, dawg”.
The next half an hour witnessed a downpour of random ideas that had varying degrees of relevance to my story. It was what is known in literary circles as constipation of thoughts in a diarrhea of words. I put a couple of feet down on the issue but had almost no effect. I might as well as had tried to summon the sun to my backyard at midnight. Its pretty amazing how fast some people can talk. Its almost impossible to get a word in sideways.
I don’t know what happened next. Everything seemed to grow dark and heavy. Words hit me, like the pitter patter of rain on an asbestos sheet. I felt as if someone had tied lead ingots to my eyelids. It was a futile attempt to keep them upright.
Sunlight petered in under my door, looking to the left and right apprehensively, as if in doubt whether it actually belonged there. A plethora of alarms sounded in my room, which after a long battle, finally caught the attention of my aural nerves. Something hairy was shaking me awake.
I opened my left eyelid. Dawg. Things began falling in place as memories from last night came back, slowly but steadily.
“What happened to your story dude?”
Five minutes later, I was typing away rapidly on a laptop, much like a woodpecker on a tree. I knew I was not going to make much of an impression with my makeshift attempt but something had to better than nothing.
“Dawg. I need a rocking first line to start my story”.
“You start with something like ‘Let’s legalise marijuana’. Anything will be cool, bhai”.