The Writing Process Is Over

Allow your demons to escape. Which demons? Why should you allow them to escape?

Allow the demons of uncertainty to escape the barriers of professional mannerisms you have erected  and you think you will find yourself alone in an empty cage fighting two opposing lions anonymity and insanity.

Oversell and be labeled a prostitute intellectually, undersell and remain anonymous forever. Push yourself to near destructive limits to get the high needed for the writing process to begin shifting gears in your head.

Abuse alcohol, sex, intoxicants in whatever order of legality, morality or availability. Then recuperate and rehabilitate. Write while you recover. Let the demons escape and find that they were angels, one was named talent and the other was confidence

Burn out as you try to chase the high you got last time. This time try different methods to burn out. Your brain needs stimulants and your body needs nutrients. Try them all. Get various boring writing gigs to keep up with the bills while keeping the great Indie Novel buried deep within your heart.

Fight the penury of youth only to fight the decay of  aging while you grow older. Happy Writer? Well Paid Writer ? Oxymoron Writer is what you get. Count your words because you get paid by the words. Sometimes the stuff is not great but even Shakespeare was not the greatest playwright in every play is how you console. When the mood fails you, use cliches, analogies, examples discreetly knowing you are cheating but hoping you  don’t get caught.

Try and inflate your rates for writing indifferent stuff for mediocre journals with money and find that reality is a hard pavement for a drunken man’s jaw. Try and not write for a few days and find laziness makes your brain as fat as eating carbohydrates for your body.

Keep your ego higher than your writing rates but lower than the self estimate of actuality of your talent. Let not the indifference of your reality be the actuality of your laziness. A writer needs to write a few words every day just like a wrestler needs to do a certain amount of sit ups everyday. Allow caffeine to be the least expensive drug for your body.

In case of doubting your own talent, never ask your friends for their estimate of your writing talent. You either make them lie and that is a dangerous habit. Or you lose friends. A writer has few friends but his fingers and mind shall always stay. Socialize without losing your edge. Isolate yourself when it is time to write than network.

When all is done and written, it is time to read and edit. Bring back the demons. No one ever got published on the first draft. Scrutinize every word. Tweak, and ponder. Doubt is your friend when editing and your enemy when writing.

When everything is done, the writing is published, the cheque is in and the money has hit your account, then relax. The writing process is over.

 

while I live and when I die

when I die

some wonder

what would I be known for

mediocre poetry

terrific blogs

terrible coding

being a hack

or being a hacker

i don’t care

i would be too busy accounting

for the righteousness

to my maker

and listening to his side

of the story too

while I lived

I sinned

I raised a noise and a din

Then I repented

I traveled the world

I saw some of the wonders

I found my faith

I lived a life

well examined

not an exemplary one

but still

I tried to live

to the best

I could

I did

Screenshot from 2016-08-26 19-27-26

Indian and Depressed

Indian and Depressed

I have lived with depression for over twenty years now, and I am 39. I have managed to create elaborate lies to take leave on the days I know I was feeling unwell and created an elaborate facade to maintain the air of normalcy a relentless middle class Indian neighborhood demands.

Being Indian and depressed is like being a famous movie star and being homosexual. You just don’t talk about it. Except people die of depression when they don’t talk about it or when they visit religious places instead of hospitals for a proper cure. Even yoga helps with depression more than religion does.

It took me a trip to the United States to find out that I had been given the wrong medication for half my life, and that I had manic depression and not clinical depression. When I came back to India my new psychologist first put me on mood stabilizers and then suggested a week in a Ashram. Among the things suggested in my week long stay at the Ashram were, telepathy exists because of the connection between our spine and top of our head (where Brahmins used to make their pony tail).

An earlier psychologist at a very famous hospital suggested I should just visit a hooker. That’s it. Get rid of depression by unsafe sex. There is no one I could complain to and there is no one to caution of such unethical doctors. In a nearest Government Hospital, my rarified middle class bourgeois sensibilities were offended by the huge crowds waiting in line. Still I had managed to spend 8 years being treated there before mustering up courage and money for the private psychologist. I then had gone off medication for a year before visiting the United States. So it took me a long long time to find out what was wrong even for a man above intelligence. I was a man who was once arrogant about being in the top twenty of the IIM entrance I had cleared. I am sharing this in the hope that you don’t wait twenty years to get yourself or your loved one the help they need for mental disease. It is just a disease. If we don’t shame people who are visually impaired, or hearing impaired then we should stop feeling ashamed of people whose cognition is impaired. Sometimes innovation and  creativity comes from such brains.

Depression may have caused me to change five jobs in five years after I finished my MBA. But I managed to write two books and stay with my own startup for the next ten. Why am I sharing this now? For too long the tax of being Indian demanded me to submit to honor and shameful silence. I delayed my treatment and lied about being depressed. I chose career and lifestyle options that worsened rather than improved my disability. I hope the next generation reaches out to find help in time.

Some Indian people who call depressed people as “PAGAL” or CRAZY. Indian and Depressed is better than Indian and Unhappy. Stop shaming people with depression

Turning 39 in Delhi

I turned 39 in June this year. It felt both mildly cathartic and traumatic.  39 and me? I felt like an episode in Friends , The One Where They All Turned 30. If you have not watched Friends, it was a television show which my generation watched. Like GAME OF THRONES but people were nice in FRIENDS  and no one died.

I have spent all my life in Delhi. I have loved and lived all over, but Delhi was always home port. Schooling, graduation, friends, the whole nine yards were spent in Ghalib’s city.

My generation was a curiously placed generation. Indian economy opened up just as we reached our teens. For us, it meant the number of TV channels suddenly went from 2 to 30 plus. Imagine being 12 before watching your first MTV video. We were not the millennials. We were not the Generation X. We had no Facebook or Instagram to like or share or post. There was no Instagram to post selfies to. There was no selfie. We clicked photos using Kodak camera and got the reel developed. Our memories are mostly in our head. Perhaps that is a good thing. Perhaps it is a bad thing. Time will tell.

When my generation wanted to say hello to their buddies they had to pick up the landline and call people. Mobile phones were too clumsy. Steve Jobs was yet to make his comeback.We had no Metro to travel. We went everywhere by bus. Buses were safe but rowdy. You just travel in daylight but that was Delhi. Autos demanded whatever they wanted and got away with it. We did have bikes and scooters and we used them (mostly we got them after much begging from parents). There was no Nirbhaya and no social media. There was much eve teasing but like traditional men we pretended to do nothing about it.

Life was simple for us. The boys had Super Commando Dhruv and Nagaraj comics. The girls played mostly among themself. We both had Chacha Chaudhary and Sabu. The boys also had Wrestling cards. One of the worst things of growing up was knowing Undertaker and all the Wrestlers faked their matches. Some of us still don’t believe it. There were no cartoon channels just a few cartoons and Tele Match for most of our pre-teens.

Board Exams were a big deal. The funda was Son, get nice grades in your exams in Class 12 so you can goof off for next three years in a nice Campus. Hyper competitive people had IIT and other entrances. The commerce people had CA exams. There was only one university in Delhi and it was mostly on strike. Now there are many Universities in Delhi and they create a lot of graduates traveling in the Metro at the same time apparently.

What did we miss? No Metro No Selfies, No Facebook. We still got by. We missed nothing.

Next year I will turn 40. So day a lot of my schoolmates and friends. I can see another FRIENDS binge watch coming on.