Sometimes I do not wish to write. It is a fear of falling short of expectations. Maybe this story is not as good as the last one, maybe it will not seem real enough; one of the characters might talk too much or come across as fake; and then there is always a temptation of twisting the end. But writing is much like life, no matter how much we liked it today, there will always be a tomorrow, there will always be good and bad times.
I was happy when I did not consider myself a writer, for I could write whatever came to my mind, in most uninhibited and candid manner. But then they said that you are a good writer and ever since I have to live up to that so called definition of ‘good’. Unlike me, he enjoyed being a writer. I hated that about him. I asked him once “Why do you not delve deep into human emotions, write about human misery, anger and happiness?” He smiled and just answered “I don’t deal in chemical reactions.” His characters were flowery, pointless, superfluous and pompous. I told him that I had read books in which animals talk, far better than his work. He simply agreed with me and said “My friend, it is only natural. Animals make much wiser talk.” It became my obsession to criticise both his work and his indifference towards its futility.
I remember that morning more clearly than I remember what I ate for lunch today. I was standing near the lake. Rays of sun were reflecting so much that I had to turn around as I waited with a troubled head. Police kept trying but could not locate his body. We would have never known about it, if it was not for a kid who had seen him earlier that morning. The kid said that he walked calmly into the lake and kept walking till he disappeared. Later that evening I kept sitting beside the lake, imagining him with his smile; a smile with which he disarmed the world and mocked it with each word he wrote. What troubled me most is that how can a person who was so nonchalant about his approach towards world, could take such a grave decision. I had trouble imagining what kind of agony he must have been going through, which he used to hide behind his deceptive smile.
The news of his suicide went viral. People, who had never heard of him, were talking about him in their business meetings; publishers who did not touch his work were now digging his grave (not literally) to find an unpublished novel, a half story written by him. Characters of his story were famous now. They were talk of the town. People wore costumes described by him to book reading forums and in local festivals. There was talk about making a movie, on misadventures of a stupid cop, based on one of his novels.
I kept staring at a blank sheet of paper and could write nothing, for no matter what I thought of writing, I felt guilt. Thought of writing something meaningful brought me a pain, a feeling that I was somehow deceiving him; that he was standing somewhere near and was mocking me. He had never criticised my work, but now it felt that he had being doing it all along. He had proved that after all everything is futile, like pretentious and hollow characters of all his stories. I hated them and I hated him, for taking away everything I had; my sense of purpose, the characters which I was proud of and a society which revalidated my beliefs.
I received a package today. It was from him. I kept staring in disbelief. My hands trembled when I opened it. There was a letter. It said –
“My friend, you were right all along. However you would have understood by now, this society only deserves the garbage I write.
PS: Please find my new book under my new name and in this one, animals talk. Hope you will enjoy it.”