The Making Of A Book – Part 3
My history teacher often wondered where I got the matter in my lengthy answers at examinations.
“The stuff that you’ve written about King Harsha Vardhan is not all in the text book” Mrs S once quizzed me, at the parent teachers meeting when I was in class 9. Then turning to my mother she added smiling “though I have to admit that Shuvashree’s answers are so well written, in such a gripping manner, that I have to give her extra marks even for content outside of the syllabus.”
Encouraged by Mrs S’s compliments I blurted “Miss, I read all about Rajyashri in Amar Chitra Katha(comics) when I was younger, so I got carried away in telling the story for the answer.”
When I was six or maybe seven, our neighbour- a young lady of twenty five also a teacher, told my mother “Aunty, your daughter narrates stories in such an organized and structured manner.”
My cousins and friends, when in college, used to joke when I began recounting any incident saying “please narrate your story backwards, you will tell us all the minute details and we don’t have the patience to wait for the climax.”
“If you want to hear my story, you must let me narrate it in all detail,” I would quip “or there’s not going to be a story at all. I recall incidents pictographically and need to share it likewise. ”
“Ok, ok, then just fast forward it, till the climax” my sister would goad me, in order to get me started.
After all, I always had a lot more juicy information and gossip up by sleeve than her or our cousins and friends, perhaps because I had a sharper sense of observation.
All of these instances, when I look back at them so vividly now, make me realize I always had an inherent need to tell a story. This was perhaps because I assimilated a lot from my surroundings and from the plentiful I read since a child. Though funnily I could not remember so well stuff that was in study books or that which I was forced to read and thus was always an average student. Moreover, very often I would not be able to complete my examination papers and invariably leave out a few questions, thus losing plenty of marks.
It was only after I started working that I practised and mastered the art of concise writing to such an extent that I gave up on my narrative style. I had to re learn this all over again when I started to write short stories, gradually building up to complete my novel.
But in spite of my knack for story-telling, even writing for that matter, I would not have considered writing seriously to get published, if not for a chance encounter with a reputed publishing-house representative who happened to drop into my office in Oct, 2009. It was a brisk chat with him and his sharing with me the email address of his organisation that set me off on the obscure search for a publisher for my collection of short stories. It was the effort to find a home for my short stories that propelled me to write a novel.
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