Monday, January 11, 2010

The Lost Symbol And My Stories

I just finished reading 'The Lost Symbol'. Now, I am admiring yet another masterpiece of Dan Brown. I could not resist my temptation when I knew about its publication. I was especially moved by 'The Da Vinci Code'. When I expressed my desire to my friend living in US, he sent me a copy immediately.

My passion for reading novel, however, has not been so long. Well, I used to read some Hindi thriller novels in my schools days. The twist came when two college students came in my office with a folder containing Nepali stories. They asked for my help to type and print the thesis that has to be submitted in college during their bachelor third year. The interesting fact about the work was that you can write your thesis on any topics but volume of the paper should not less than 70 pages. And they were anxious whether their stories were well enough to cover all 70 pages.

Seeing large volume of papers, I casually said, "Don't worry. I will write a story, if these are not enough." I was pretty sure those stories would be sufficient. Unfortunately, they weren't. We have a proverb in Nepali that goes: you fall in the pit dug by yourself. Because of my commitment to the students, I was compelled to write a 'real' story, which I had not done before.

With initial hiccups, my pen began bleeding black ink smoothly over white paper. It was already midnight but I was hardly half done. In the meantime, the characters in the story were roaming in the dense jungle at midnight surrounded by evil forces. My hand was trembling with fear created by the scary scenes of the story, and I could not write anymore.

Next day, I said to them, "Ke garne? I tried my best but I could not finish." After reading the unfinished story, they said in unison, "It isn't a story. You're writing a novel." Novel? They suggested me to write laghu katha (short story) so that it would turn into full story. Accordingly, I wrote another story and eventually their thesis got completed. They sincerely asked me to complete this story but I did not pay much attention. The unfinished story languished in the shelf for many days. I didn't have intention to write novel, but the story kept annoying me. So, I thought to give it a final touch. It took me several days to finish this. Oh, it was so difficult to focus on writing. Mind is a wanderer.

When I went through the full story, my first impression was not good. The story was plain and tasteless, like curry without salt and spices. The only solace I got was it no longer hunted me thereafter. This whole scenario, however, motivated me somehow.

I discussed the issue with a friend of mine who did Masters in English literature and now working on the research in the field of Cultural Trauma for his M. Phil final semester. He explained that novel can be written in first person narrative, second person narrative and both first and second person narrative (mixed style) in a single novel. He suggested me to read some novels that he provided. This is how I began my journey of reading fictions. The next journey is 'Catch-22'.

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