A great story, according to me, is the kind of story, which should destroy the readers mind by the end of the story. A novel whose cover displays a small boy with his hands in his pockets, walking away unhappily, is a novel, which will be about the disappointments and failures of the small unfortunate boy. Never in your dreams, will you imagine, that the novel will in turn transform you into an unfortunate character who has no control over his/her emotions.
The teacher in my creative writing class read few lines from this novel. After reading the lines, she asked, “So what do you think about the novel?” I was already making plans of getting the novel by then. That day I went home at 3:00 p.m. and without changing my clothes or checking my phone or eating any snacks, I searched for a PDF version of the novel. By the time, my mother started shouting at me for having my dinner it was 10 p.m.
I am mad at times about reading, but I am a sort of reader who does not mind reading from any source- PDF or paperback or even kindle app on phone is fine; I never fuss about low light or carrying a heavy novel around. I decided to go to the novel store and get it the next day, but I was so eager to get the novel at the earliest, I ordered a Kindle version.
I looked at the titles of the chapter and wondered, how sad do they sound. I flipped the page to the first chapter- that very moment I knew I could not stop now. Why does the writer describe each scene so minutely — The men preparing themselves for the office, wives timidly portraying acts of affection from distance and even the act of starting a scooter? Then I understood; to describe something, which is far from being normal, you have to explain the normal vastly first.
When I was a child, people used to talk a lot. I felt the urge to match their talking capacities. Bit by bit I joined instances from the street, from other families in the neighbourhood, a tiny bit of my own life…joined all of them, and narrated all of it as an instance from my own life. The most amusing thing for me was, people believed me. I started creating stories, and slowly it became a habit and everything that I told people was fiction rather than reality.
As I go through the novel, I understand that I have more to do with the story than just understanding the plot. I started relating myself with the one character, which was always there throughout the novel. The more I read about his ideas of life, his theories of the absolute truth and his philosophical ideas and the more I believed that he was haunting me. At some corner of my mind, the boy was whispering, “this is the absolute truth believe me.”
By the age of 15, I was old enough to understand that life does not work with fictional instances. I stopped creating incidents and dealt with reality. Today after four years when I read this novel, I am forced to think about the stories I made up, the people who believed me and the theories I made up. The boy and me, both were successful in making people believe what we believed to be the truth of life.
Look at the irony of life. I, who made so many people spend sleepless nights with my stories, was myself left sleep deprived because of this one boy and this one novel. I spent two nights twisting and turning in my bed, and woke up with a shiver, because what I dreamt was beyond my control and dreams, which disturb you from having a normal morning. My friends dying and I dancing around their bodies, I leading a small child to a graveyard and burying him alive with joy, crying without tears and throwing people from my building’s seventh floor- that is all I remember from my dreams. If there is anything, I have not written it is because it is something, which is not to be written in words. I have seen myself in forms; I would never imagine myself to be.
There are mentions of many comics and caricatures in the novel. Which made me imagine more and more of how and what they might have been like. Novels with pictures are not necessity, for me. Nevertheless, for this novel I was feeling desperate to write a hate message to the novelist, “Why didn’t you put pictures of the caricatures the boy made… why did you do this injustice to me.”
Today morning I had finished 80% of the novel, but I was getting late for my class. Usually it takes half an hour to reach college. Today, I was daydreaming about the characters while riding my scooty. How does a father feel about his young adult son’s death? How does it feel to talk to walls? How does a sibling feel about his brother’s death? How does it feel to understand a truth, which is different from the worldview? How is it to feel like a corpse?
The entire set of how’s spun in my head. I was driving very slowly, that is what I felt…it was as if everything reduced to a slow motion movie. I reached class. It was empty and dark. Usually when I reach more than half of the class is full.
I felt, I was dreaming. I touched the desk, to ensure that I was not. Two girls from the backbench said hi. I was startled; I imagined that they somehow appeared in the class, which was earlier empty. I was unable to talk to them, in the usual way, because they were part of the dream.
It was only when one of them came and hugged me and then hit the bottle on my head, was I assured that I was not dreaming. I decided I had to finish the novel fast or else I would die either out of curiosity, or out of delusion. By the time I reached 94% of the novel, my teacher entered the class. I wanted to cry and shout at her and tell her that I am going to die if I do not finish the novel. However, my friend took the phone from my hand and my reading source was gone, I decided it was wise to focus of the class than to thinking about the ending. I have never appreciated having free hours. Today, as soon as the bell rang, I stormed to the library to finish the novel. I had a pending 500-word, assignment left which I did not do, because the novel was my whole life for the entire two days. However, I did not think of anything other than the novel.
When I reached the 100% of the novel, I could feel my hands shaking; I kept clicking the next button until there were no more pages to be turned. My head dropped down on its own. My friends were asking me what was wrong with me, the first time in my life; I did not have an answer to give.
I saw my friend engrossed in the same novel; initially I planned to talk to her about my feelings. Looking at her sad face, I decided to leave her alone because I knew that she was about to feel the same confused set of emotions, which I did, after finishing the novel. I just left everything as it is, and I ran up to the teacher who read the lines from the novel because I could not just take it anymore. I did not know what to do with myself. I started hearing more noises from the boy in the novel. I spoke to my teacher and she told me to calm down, and told me to write about it.
All of my brain was still stuck in the novel. As I left the staff room, my head was throbbing with lines from the novel. I was going down stairs with a turtle speed…and I do not know when I sat down on the stairs. It was only when someone said “excuse me can you please shift” did I notice that I was sitting on the stairs all this while.
In case you wondered, why did I not name the novel or the novelist until now? I want you to feel the same desperateness of finding answers as I did and the same frustration of knowing everything but not knowing the absolute truth. I want you to feel what it is to write with shaking hands and distorted mind about a Novel, which makes your thinking think.