No Roses for the Master
by Raja Sharma
The bent old body was not able to move even a few steps with the help of those legs which had kept him standing for almost six decades in front of his students. Life had moved so fast that he did not even get a little time to think about himself. The black coat over the white shirt and blue trousers had been his recognition in the college compound. A figure that pulled reverence and obedience, not because of the authority as a professor that he possessed, but because of the humility of his nature, was hardly ever the representation of the academic degrees which he had earned in his career. To a layman he would appear to be a common clerk from any of the government offices in the area. He had seen thousands of students pass from M. B. Degree College to find the fulfillment of their dreams, but he had never aspired to take the wings of flight which would carry him to the world where awards and recognition wait for the aspirants. Teaching, as if, was his religion, and one could see him standing in his classroom, with his trademark smile and powerful voice, which was powerful not because of the high pitch but because of the knowledge it carried.
Today he is going to bid adieu to all this, for he has found that the soul is willing to continue but the physic is not helping. Where had he reached? What had he gained? What had he given to his students? Why was all this happening? Why couldn’t he continue to teach? Thousands of questions were taking shape in his mind. He had always told his students to study devotedly for their better future but where he himself had reached. He had studied under the best of the teachers, at the best of the colleges, and acquired desired degrees, but what he had missed was also not known to him. His family, his wife and children, were presumably happy and well off, and there was almost everything in the house to maintain the so called modern standard.
Many ideals had inspired him to move ahead and he had done so. The philosophical thoughts of Socrates had kindled the fire. Science was the charm of his life, and to pursue the career of a scientist was almost imminent but one day the introduction to the philosophy of Buddha created an impediment. One who was a prince, who had everything at his disposal, had so willingly renounced everything in search of wisdom made him uncertain whether he should continue with the ambition that he had nurtured for a few years. Gradually, the deep study of the works of Bertrand Russell, J. S. Mill, and some of the ancient Greeks brought a visible change. He surrendered and decided that life was meaningless, but it was difficult to remain alive without doing anything because one has to earn one’s livelihood in this world.
His amble into the central hall of the college was watched by thousands of students who had gathered there to listen to their esteemed teacher for the last time. The function had been organized by the college administration to honor Mr. Dev Prasad Verma, who had served the college for about four decades. No one wanted him to leave because they felt as if a part of the body of their education was being taken away. He was a kind of living library, an encyclopedia, a knowledge bank in him and even our best of the data banks can not boast of the memory that he possessed.
A thundering applause welcomed Mr. Verma to the dais.
“It is an undeniable fact that the things which are there today will not be there tomorrow; they will either be replaced with some other things, or their forms will change. But in the case of humans there is a slight difference. Humans come and depart but their words remain for the posterity to explore, interpret, and to raise a new kind of world from the ashes of the past. Many of the greatest scholars had passed away before the arrival of Christ, and this world experienced many changes but their words have remained alive to guide, to inspire, and to lead us to more light. I say “more light” because I don’t believe in perfection, I believe in further improvement.
However, I feel that our definition of a civilized human being is highly questionable. A person goes to college, earns degrees, studies science and commerce, invents new things, adds to the comforts of life, amasses wealth, and bequeaths this tradition to the posterity. I find the progress of material here because all his life he adds things and things. Human has not progressed at all but he has become less animal for sure. To prevent himself from sun and cold he designs clothes, produces coolers and heaters, to save time in eating habits he has introduced fast foods, and like wise in many other fields there is only the visible addition of things. The pace of life has become too much.
How diligently our students study the lines written by Rabindra Nath Tagore and William Wordsworth but when it comes to real life you see no flowers surrounding them. Of course, plastic flowers have captured almost every market. The song of the nature that is audible when you cross a meadow or a valley on foot is subdued by the drone of the jet planes which in the name of fast travel deprive you of the greatest of the delights that Mother Nature provides. Learning anything new is definitely an enjoyable experience but in our academic institutions the same process has been made so grotesque and insipid that the learners feel burdened under the volumes of books which are prescribed by the administration. Volumes have been added but the delight has been missing.
It would not be appropriate to dwell at length on the topic of warfare because all of you know how advanced we have become at killing each other. All the governments of all the nations, all the academic institutions in all the nations, all the teachers in all the academic institutions, in one voice, have been advocating the better life and better future but they, perhaps, misquote the words, because when they say a better life, I see a few more new things so that physical exertion could be less.
I tell you, my children, that there is nothing more important than your existence as a living human being in this world. I have taught thousands of students during my teaching career but I am ashamed to confess that I have been unable to produce a single civilized human being, who could shed spontaneous tears seeing the pains of others, who could dance with the nature, who could hug other humans from different parts of the world, who could offer his helping hand to the people in distress and need, who could willingly partake his better fortune with the less privileged ones, who could proudly disregard the differences which are so religiously taught by every so called civilized society in this world, who could love other living beings, who could feel happiness in the happiness of others, who could smile for the last time, before closing his eyes forever, and say, ‘I am leaving this world a little better.’
Though unwilling to leave you all, the natural burden of this body has literally compelled me to say good bye to all of you.”
The hall suddenly exploded with a thundering applauds, and the lone professor began to walk, with the help of his walking stick, towards the exit.
How Could I Love That Monk?
by Raja Sharma
A month ago when Sumedha had stepped into the palace, she was bursting with adventure: huge carved wooden doors, sculpted images, spiral staircases, small decorated rooms for ladies, and big hall-like rooms for men, painted and illustrated domes of ceilings, wall-hangings, and luxurious carpets and rugs. The things were old but they had not lost their colours.
In her embroidered traditional dress, Sumedha was ecstatic, and should she not feel so, after all, Pukhraj was their only son and she was the only daughter-in-law. Then Pukhraj had said, “Any family would be proud to get a daughter-in-law like you. You are welcome to the Toshniwaal family.”
For all that she was feeling an unexpressed protest. She was from the family of intellectuals and Pukhraj was from a business family of Rajasthan. It was the love between them that had brought them together and had it been an arranged marriage, Pukhraj’s parents would not have agreed to the match.
Pukhraj and Sumedha were studying together in a Medical College. When Pukhraj completed his M. D. and he was forced by his parents to get married, he informed Sumedha. Though she did not want to, she agreed and they got married. She was not ready at first because she was preparing from her exams, but when she thought over the entire issue, she got ready, for she did not want to lose Pukhraj. No one objected from Sumedha’s family but her mother was a little worried because Pukhraj’s family was a very traditional family and she was not sure whether their educated daughter would be able to handle the pressure there. The boy’s father was not ready to bring a daughter-in-law from different caste. The marriage had to take place because Pukhraj had decided and he could not think of marrying any other girl. Sumedha was his love and he could not live without her, whether his father blessed them or not. His mother was on his side so everything got settled after a bit of disagreement, though his father had stopped talking with him. Finally, his mother mediated and reconciled father and son.
The mother did not want that her son should take a decision which could separate him from his parents. She did not show openly but she must have cursed Sumedha who had trapped her talented son, her only son.
Their marriage was not a grand affair but after the marriage Pukhraj’s father gave a grand reception and the festivities continued for a week.
It was a very religious family and they were strictly vegetarian, even onions were not allowed in the house. Some vegetables and seeds were also prohibited. She wanted to tell them about the nourishing elements of certain edible things but Pukhraj stopped her. He did not want to hurt the sentiments of his religious parents.
“You have to stay here only for two months, and after that you will be going to Udaipur for your M. S.” said Pukhraj to Sumedha.
She wanted but she could not protest, though she knew she would have to come back after two years to live in this village. Their family Guru had ordained that a public hospital should be built and both, Pukhraj and Sumedha, were supposed to serve the villagers there. After all, Pukhraj’s father was like a king in that area and people respected his words. Sumedha was also of the opinion that a doctor’s prime duty is to serve his patients, and money was never there in her mind. She did not want to join a big hospital in a town and charge big fee. At least this point was enough to console her because the public hospital was going to provide free medicine and treatment to underprivileged people.
She was waiting for her result; she wanted to get gynecology branch because she could help the poor women in the village. The expectations were very high.
The palace was bursting with activity. The Guru was arriving after two years. Pukhraj was excited too because he wanted to inform the Guru about his plans regarding his hospital, though he did not know how the Guru would react to his inter-caste marriage. The Guru had always been kind to him and he would often praise him.
Certain salutations were honored while addressing the Guru and Sumedha was often reprimanded by his mother-in-law because she often talked very informally with the Guru.
“He is not coming here to have lunch with us; he is coming to bless us. Food is just a formality. He is not a common man like us,” said her mother-in-law.
The Guru and his disciples took very simple meal but the mother-in-law had invited many of the relatives and friends there. The mother-in-law was preparing food for the Guru and the cooks were cooking for his disciples and other guests.
Sumedha had been ordered to wear a traditional dress and Rajasthani ornaments. Sumedha liked wearing light and simple dresses but the occasion demanded of her to obey her in-laws. Loaded with ornaments and makeup, she found it very difficult to move around freely. They wanted to show that the new daughter-in-law was one of them and it was the matter of their prestige.
When she was about to put on jewelery, a pair of earrings and a light gold chain, her mother-in-law entered the room, carrying a dish covered with a velvet cloth piece. There were heavy gold bracelets, diamond sets, and silver anklets. The mother-in-law began to adorn Sumedha. She looked in mirror and found that she was like a walking antique jewelery shop. She hid her feelings from the older woman and kept on smiling to please her.
Her mother-in-law having left her in the room, Pukhraj entered the room and said, “Who is that smile for?” He came to her and embraced her passionately and showered her with kisses all over her face.
Before she could protest, his father’s voice echoed in the hall downstairs, “Pukhraj!”
He released her and ran out of the room.
The increased activity in the house suggested that the Guru had arrived. She stood at the window whence she could see the courtyard clearly. Her father-in-law washed the feet of the Guru and his disciples with scented warm water and brought them into the drawing room.
Though the Guru was an old man, his glowing face and broad smile had changed the ambiance around. Everyone was ready to follow his commands. Suddenly, a monk, who had, perhaps, been left behind, entered the house. He washed his hands and feet and looked up. Sumedha’s eyes met his eyes. Those pure and childlike eyes of the monk had some kind of power in them. She turned her face and withdrew herself from the window. She came back to her room and sat on the bed. What was there in the eyes of that monk? What had happened to her? She was shivering.
After a while, her mother-in-law and some invited women entered her room. She touched the feet of the elders and took their blessings. The young women sat beside her. She felt quite comfortable because she did not feel that she was from a different caste.
“Please tell us, who proposed first?” said a young girl.
“Our brother, Pukhraj, is so innocent. He can’t have taken the first step,” said another.
Had her mother-in-law not been present there, she would have bluntly told them that she had made Pukhraj wait for her ‘yes’ for two months. He was stubborn and finally she had to agree. They really did not know their Pukhraj.
A cousin of Pukhraj was also present there. She had a Diploma in Fine Arts from J. J. Arts College, Bombay. She has her hobby classes in a town nearby. She said, “Oh our brother is really something. He did not even give a hint. He has really found a gem for himself.”
A relative said, “Our uncle’s daughter-in-law is also a doctor but she is from our caste and she is from a very rich family!”
Sumedha was not ready for this and took her a while to come out of that shock.
“What were you asking auntie?” Sumedha turned to an older woman.
“For a few months, I have been experiencing irregular menstrual periods.”
“How old are you, auntie?
“You don’t look that old. Anyway, it is not a problem. I will write you some medicines and it will be all right,” said Sumedha with a pleasant and convincing smile.
There was no stoppage after that because women began to appear from nowhere. They had their own physical ailments. After all, the new bride was a doctor and everyone wanted to avail that opportunity. The room was soon like a nursing home which was over crowded with patients. Sumedha was checking them and writing prescriptions for them. They seemed to be quite satisfied and happy.
“Now close your hospital, Sumedha and come down. The Guru and his disciples have eaten. Now you must come down and take his blessings,” said his mother-in-law, entering the room hurriedly.
Sumedha picked her instruments and papers and kept them in her briefcase. She composed herself and looked in the mirror before going out.
She was very tired in the evening and she collapsed in her bed. She had seen the young monk very carefully and she felt she knew him. His face was dancing before her eyes. When Pukhraj bent down to kiss her, she shouted and jumped off the bed.
“I got scared!”
“Were you sleeping?”
“Are you tired?”
“Yes, I am exhausted. Aren’t you tired?
“I am tired and I do want to lie down beside you but I will have to go down to listen to the Guru’s discourse. I have to inform him about the project of our hospital,” said Pukhraj.
“Is it necessary for me to accompany you downstairs?” said Sumedha.
“You have to come,” said Pukhraj in his playful but authoritative voice.
She did not want to go but the scope of negation was finished when the servant came with the tea tray, “They are calling you downstairs.”
She changed her traditional dress and put on a chiffon sari with light ornaments and came down. Her mother-in-law did not like it but she did not say anything in front of the guests.
He was sitting near the Guru. Sumedha did not want to look at him but the eyes of the monk had an attraction which compelled her to keep looking at him. Pukhraj introduced Sumedha to the Guru and he blessed her by putting his right hand on her head. He appeared to be a very gentle and intelligent person. She gave him the due respect and touched his feet.
“Daughter, you are a doctor and you know that inter-caste marriages bring two different people closer and new virtues are developed. My only request to you is to serve the poor people of this village. There is no lady doctor in the village and our women in village have to face a lot of difficulties. I am happy that Pukhraj is going to start a hospital in the village to help the poor villagers. When he had gone to study medicine, I did not believe that he would come back from the town to his own village to serve his fellow villagers. One more thing, one of our nuns is sick in the monastery here. If you have some time, kindly visit her once,” said the Guru in a very sweet and compelling voice.
“It is my duty, my lord,” said Sumedha with extreme respect in her eyes.
Sumedha could sense that her mother-in-law was really proud of her. Pukhraj heaved a sigh of relief too. The Guru got busy in conversation with other people but the young monk was watching Sumedha.
While coming out of the main hall, Sumedha said to Pukhraj, “Who is that young monk?”
“He is monk Sagarchandra. He had joined the group of the monks when he was barely eighteen. He is highly educated. He is an M. A. in two subjects, Environmental Science, and English. He is involved in the translation of an ancient Buddhist script. He lives in the neighbouring village,” said Pukhraj.
Sumedha did not know when the discourse started and when it was finished. She was lost in the thoughts of Sagarchandra, the young monk. She was surprised that he had subdued all his desires to become a monk! Was it so easy? Can he really overpower his carnal desires? Carrying these questions in her mind, Sumedha came back to her room.
Though she was tired, she found it difficult to sleep. Her curiosity was increasing with every passing moment.
“He is not even 25 I believe,” said Sumedha to Pukhraj.
“Yes, he is young.”
“You said he is an orphan,” said she.
“Yes, his father passed away when he was still a child. His relatives appropriated his father’s property and sent his mother and young sister out of the house. They took shelter with the Guru. The Guru requested some people and they found a suitable boy for her. She is married now. He sent Sagarchandra to school and paid for his fee and hostel fee. The boy was free to choose any career for himself and the Guru never compelled him to do anything forcefully. But, young boy came back to the Guru and began to get blessed through the Guru’s teachings.
Sumedha developed more respect for the Guru.
Next morning she took her bag and reached the monastery. The nun, Shanta, was an old woman. Her blood pressure was too high, so she prescribed some medicines and sent for a few injections. Having given an injection to the patient, Sumedha began to wait. She expected the patient to fall asleep.
“How long has it been?” said Sumedha.
“I have been sick for more than a year. I can’t go anywhere now. They send my food here, mostly milk and fruits,” said the nun.
“You are very weak. You must eat well. You must stop your restricted diet,” said Sumedha.
“I can’t take care of my body now and I think it is the time of my departure from this world,” said the nun and smiled.
After a few moments, the patient was fast asleep. Sumedha found that monastery very peaceful and humble.
A younger nun entered the room and sat beside Sumedha.
Sumedha was unable to understand what power those nuns and monks had with them to abstain from the physical pleasures to live a life of celibacy.
“You are a doctor, aren’t you?” said she.
“Yes, I am. What can I do for you?” said Sumedha.
“I feel I have a knot in my breast,” said she.
“Do you feel pain?”
“No, there isn’t any pain but the size of the tumour is increasing and sometimes I find it difficult to raise my left arm,” said the nun.
“This is really a serious matter. I must check you now!”
She hesitated for a moment but Sumedha insisted so she got ready. After the check up, Sumedha said, “I will send the medicines. Take those medicines regularly. And if there is no improvement, you will have to go the hospital in the city.”
“I am lucky, perhaps, and you have come to the village to treat me,” said the nun, thanking Sumedha with the expressions in her eyes.
“Next week, I am going to Udaipur, I study there. I request you to come with me. I will take you to the hospital there. There must be a monastery nearby. You can stay there. I will visit you every day,” said Sumedha.
“It looks impossible. I often go to Udaipur and stay at the monastery there but I don’t want to go to the hospital,” said the nun.
Sumedha talked with Pukhraj. She could not understand how that nun had developed breast cancer in spite of following a very strict routine of celibacy and controlled diet.
On the other hand, the other nun, Shanta, who had high blood pressure, was recovering fast. In a few days, she was completely cured. She visited Sumedha in their palace; she was highly obliged to the doctor.
It was a very hot day in the month of June but the heat was not felt by the people living in the spacious rooms of the palace. Sumedha was reading a novel that she had found in the old library there. Her in-laws had gone to the nearby village to attend a marriage. Pukhraj had come back home but he did not disturb her because she was lost in her book. He took his lunch in the kitchen from the servants and went back to the clinic. He was supposed to go to the site of the upcoming hospital.
The book she was reading was titled “The Scarlet Letter” written by Nathaniel Hawthorne. A woman was accused of adultery and she was punished in a strange way. She was forced to wear letter A for many years….
The story revealed that even Europe was not free from those stinking religious customs and traditions which suppressed women to unimaginable extent.
She heard a knock outside. She descended the stairs and came into the hall. She did not find any servants there. There was a small aperture next to the main door and she looked through it. Monk Sagarchandra was standing outside. She was in a dilemma whether to open the door or send him back by saying that no elders were present in the house. It would be the monk’s insult and the elders would not be pleased with her behaviour.
“Please come in, honourable monk,” said Sumedha and invited him in.
She washed his feet and prepared a special seat for him in the drawing room.
“Please be seated,” said Sumedha to the monk.
The monk kept his stick and shoulder back down and sat down. Sumedha entered her room to phone Pukhraj.
“Pukhraj, dinner is not ready.”
“Stupid, I had told you that food must be ready before the sunset,” he was angry.
“I thought only you and I were in the house so I delayed the preparation. Mother and father have gone out. All right, you come quickly. There must be someone to give him company,” Sumedha gave her excuse.
“I am leaving the site. An engineer is coming with me. There must be something in the refrigerator. Cook something and offer him. You will have to give him some food to carry with him,” said Pukhraj.
This was the first time she felt trapped there. When she came downstairs, the monk solved her problem and said, “I will take milk and some fruits.”
She rushed into the kitchen and warmed a glass of milk and added some dry fruits to the milk. She brought some cakes and sweets as well.
Having finished milk, the monk said, “What is your name?”
“You are a doctor. Your name justifies your virtues,” said the monk.
Sumedha could not say anything.
“You are quite different from other women,” said the monk.
There was a pause and when Sumedha felt that the pause was being stretched to a limit, she said, “Shall I pack some fruits for you to carry?”
“No thank you. I don’t need anything more.”
Once again there was a pause.
“When I saw you the other day, I felt restlessness. In M. A. I had read Robert Browning and John Keats. I was trying to understand the physical aspects of their love in their beautiful poems. Today I am restless because of that feeling. Sumedha, I am restless…”
“I must leave,” Sumedha was obviously angry. Her face was burning. She did not know what she should tell this young monk. She started to leave the room.
The monk’s voice was heard again, “You have not heard what I want to say. Let me complete my sentence.”
“Do these physical desires are worthy of a monk like you?” said Sumedha.
“I know but the mistake is not entirely mine. I try to meditate and the jingle of ornaments is audible.”
“No one forced you to become a monk. And it is never too late. Leave everything and enter our world. Get married and live happily,” said Sumedha softly but the tone was stern. She was speaking in a mocking manner.
“That is what I have come to tell you, Sumedha. Let me confess!”
“Is there no way in your religion that leads to the outer world?” said Sumedha.
“Sumedha, I have not come here to regret and repent, or to ask you a way out of my situation. I am not defeated. I was unknown to these carnal desires but I am sure that I will win over them very soon. I must go now!” said the monk angrily and got up.
Sumedha felt overwhelmed and guilty. She felt sorry for the young monk. She should not have behaved like that.
When Pukhraj came home, he gave her good news that she had succeeded in her exams and she had obtained gynecology branch.
“I talked to them on phone and they say that your classes will begin in about two weeks. You should start your preparations,” said Pukhraj.
The last sentence brought tears to her eyes. The thought of separation and living in town made her weep.
“What happened? I will meet you every weekend and sometimes you visit me,” said Pukhraj.
Two months had passed in knowing people there and understanding the customs and rituals. She had hardly enjoyed the initial blissful months of their union.
A few days before her departure, news came that Sagarchandra had fallen unconscious in the monastery. He was fasting for the special occasion of a festival.
“Shall I come with you, Pukhraj?” said Sumedha.
“Women don’t go there!” shouted her father-in-law.
Sumedha whispered, “Doctors can go.”
“Father, let her come with me. He might be serious and she can assist me,” Pukhraj tried to defend her.
Pukhraj examined the monk very carefully and forced his mouth open to give him a few drops of orange juice. He was not cooperating even in that unconscious state. Finally, the doctor succeeded and the monk stopped resisting.
Suddenly, Sagarchandra’s voice was heard, “Sume..dh..a…I have defeated my carnal desires. I am victorious.”
Sumedha was stunned and Pukhraj did not know how to respond. Many expressions crossed his face. She could not meet his stare. The monk went back to his unconscious state.
While applying drip, Pukhraj’s hands were trembling. Though he tried, he could not hide his tremble in his voice, “Sumedha, you go back home!”
Having entered the palace, she ran into her room and began to weep. She did not know how to react or what to say. Suddenly, everything had been snatched away from her.
While driving to the city, she wanted to say something but Pukhraj interrupted and said, “What is done is done now! I shall bear everything.”
He did not come to meet her for four months. He told his parents that she had to study hard and he did not want to disturb her. Sumedha could not understand who the loser was! She was standing between Pukhraj and the monk.
She had not done anything bad but she had been proved everything that went against her pious and unblemished character. She had to bear the curse of the confined society and she decided to bear it without a word of protest. She did not mind what others would say but how she was going to convince Pukhraj that nothing had happened between the monk and her.
She had to face this stoicism and mortification for the mistake that was not hers.
How to be a Good Story Writer !
by Raja Sharma
Values are given words and words are shared with the readers who try to get nearer to the values conveyed by the writer. Though I have taught Literature for more than two decades, I had never given importance to the fact how much others can benefit from my experience. Then came a prophet, Mr. Walter L Jones, and everything changed for me.
A huge majority of the writers are often trapped by an illusion that structure is their ultimate goal while writing a story. Structure is a kind of God to them. Undoubtedly, structure is an inevitably important part of your story but it might as well destroy story if excessive attention is paid to it.
There is no dearth of hit movies and novels in the markets flooded with new releases. They seem to be fulfilling all the requirements of story but I feel that they seem to be contrived, uninspired and lifeless and one can feel that the writer has moved with a plan.
These kinds of writers are merely mechanics who assemble the different parts. Some linguists call them Story Mechanics. They plan the structure, syntax, length and so on and according to the prescriptive requirements contrive a story. It looks like a fancy paint job. Many of the Great Masters like D.H.Lawrence, Thomas Hardy, Stevenson, Dickens, Rudyard Kipling had perhaps never heard about the blueprints, plan, sentence arrangement because they were guided by the values they had in mind. They were the writers who could be called Story Weavers. Such writers begin with subjects or concepts they are passionate about and the structure draws its form from the material. Their characters are people before they become characters. In their stories events take place first and then they become a plot. They keep values before theme and a genre is secondary to a world they develop.
I will call these writers Storytellers or Story Weavers. Their stories have the power to captivate the mind and the fullness of human emotion. The spontaneity guides them through their story to make it involving, engrossing and mind arresting. They take you along in their world of values and emotions.
Shall we start now?
To my students I tell not to think about structure for the time being. Forget about characters, plot, theme, genre, etc. First of all try to draw an inspiration and then develop it. Next comes exposition and finally the act of storytelling.
Your inspiration can emanate from many sources: it can be an overheard conversation, a story written by somebody else, a newspaper article, a journey, a place, a real life character, an event, or an encounter, etc.
First of all a suitable environment is needed. Some writers prefer a secluded place and some write while listening to music. It is your personal choice and to suit your mood you should find or create the environment. The compromise with it may not be what you want. Tools may be chosen according to the availability or your preference. Keep one thing in mind that any creative art ought to be , by necessity, performed in seclusion, for many geniuses will come in between to comment upon the incomplete work and as a result depress the writer.
Developing the story is the second stage.
Now you try to populate the story with the people you want to keep in. Don't ever think about the end product. write a few lines about all the characters and what they are going to do in your story or what is going to happen to them in your story. Forget about style, diction, length, etc. because they will take care of themselves as you move along.
Generally, a good exposition can tell people what the story is about. It is the writer's choice whether he wants to give hints about the characters or expose them with the progression of his story. In some cases you will have to be careful about the exposition because the target group of readers may not be as well equipped in their reception as you might think. EXPOSITION if handled properly can add to the strength of the main story.
Storytelling should begin as casually as opening a packet of cigarettes or waving a hand to a passing friend. Start writing as if everything is happening in front of your eyes. Sometimes, it happens that a writer is spellbound by the grandeur of a sentence that he or she has written but immediately after that the pen stops moving because the power of the preceding sentence frightens the writer and he is trapped in the comparisons whether he or she should try to maintain the standard of the preceding sentence or write naturally. Don't ever fall into such traps because they will take you deeper into the structural maze and your story will be comprehensible only to you or a few cursed souls who might try to find out what you are trying to say. One or two amazing complex sentences can prove to be an icing on the cake but if you try to make the whole cake like that it might be nothing more than a big lump of sugar.
The final point is to reread and rewrite what you have written. In some cases editing by a better qualified person may be helpful but if you are sure that your words are deliberately arranged by you to convey a particular meaning or sense, then don't go for it. Spellings, spacing and other formalities can be performed by any editing software or by a learned person. In some cases your distorted grammar is the requirement of the story. My main objective in writing this paper is to convey a clear message to the writers or the aspiring writers to start writing with a deaf ear to reviewers or critics because I have concluded that "A critic or a reviewer is a creature who tells a writer what you have written." Though he or she as a critic or a reviewer might be miles away from the reality. Don't laugh! I also tell the writers what they have written.
14th June 2008
This paper I had written for the students and I thought it might help a few. The points presented here are from my own experience and your opinions might be different.Thank you for reading. Rajasir