How soon 1


I have been meaning to write for the few who read my blog, but how soon the days pass, how small is the time measured in 24 hours. Meanwhile the drought claimed far too many lives and finally a political decision was made to send water – too late for lives already lost. The Assembly polls came and went and the two women leaders of Tamilnadu and Bengal made a fine point of their generosity while hiding much; and they won.

I suppose much is hidden by many. One of the things I desperately hide is the fact that I had once adventured by being India’s first woman detective. Or so the Press claimed at the time. A detective’s life is dirty, murky and never honest – much like that of the politicians. I spent nine months some twenty plus years ago as a detective, before I moved to publishing and remained there. And I spent the rest of the time trying to suppress, forget, deny the days of adventuring. I became so boring I bored myself. So when Anandana Kapur from Jamia Milia at Delhi researched and discovered me for her film on female detectives, my reaction was an emphatic ‘NO!’ to admitting on celluloid that I was once a detective, walking the wild side.
But Anandana was relentless in her persuasion and I ended up in her film.

During school my father had a transferable job and my mother packed us – meaning her children – up with her wherever she went. Maybe because as children we travelled as widely, perhaps because my mother died early, I learnt to always seek the most from each moment. How soon time travels on, how soon the beloved person leaves us, how soon the wondrous moments move on; so I learnt to squeeze every moment of its value and stored it in my memory chest.

When I shot with Anandana my Pandora’s Box of memories sprung open and memoirs stormed back. I began writing a crime story plot on her sets and suddenly my carefully erected walls crumbled. I remembered all I had experienced, the plots that came to me in dreams that I was too embarrassed to tell anyone of; the quick crime stories I wrote as a result. A life spent in cloaking myself in bourgeoisie saw me author crime stories and novels under a pseudonym – never my own name. Then the secret life went emphatically secret and in fact forgotten, till Anandana came along.

I began writing again and how wonderful it is to iron out all those tweaks of life in one’s mind! The only difference between writing then and now is that the more easily violent is this life in its reality, the harder it is to depict violence in my fiction. But I thank Anandana every time I sit with my writing – for setting my mind free.

The disappointments of life at large – the disappointment in the lack of general enthusiasm for our advances in space science; that of regressive Brexit, those of trafficking and abuse and corruption and environmental negligence come and go. The delights of how genes live on offset the disappointments. Sometimes it seems even 100 years is too short to experience all that life holds out to enjoy. Provided of course nothing is hidden, nothing is busily scooped up and swept under the carpet or locked away in a cupboard full of rattling skeletons to project a bourgeois image.


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