Thursday, May 21, 2015

How did it all start?

I'm trying to remember, how had it all started. No, it wasn't due to any kind of physical pull that I grabbed that little pencil. But due to an inner urge from my mind. Though, at eight, I knew nothing about mind.  

So my mind urged me to grab that little pencil and scribble the first line of my first story.  I don't remember what that line was. But have a clear memory that it was about our dog.

Our watch dog had a weakness, to fancy our chickens. In their company, he would suddenly appear wagging his tail, front legs on a crouch, and his rear haunches high. That appeared his innocent invitation to play. But the chickens would move on bobbing their heads, playing down his invitation.
Ours was an open world. Having no compound walls our homes and yards weren't strictly private in the modern sense.  As a result dogs, children, humans, kittens, chickens and cattle all lived as part of a big community. Some compounds had boundary walls but hadn't flourished beyond dwarf ridges. When a visitor suddenly leaped into the compound of one family others knew they should be ready to part with some essentials and delicacies. 

Now of course things are changing, my brother told me over the phone last month that a tall cement wall was confining our eastern neighbor, so he wasn't able to see his childhood friend and family anymore from the front patio of our home.

So, we were living in that boundary-less world, and I was eight, when one day our dog went one step ahead. He began chasing one of the hens and after isolating her to one side blocked her movement by running in front of her. She flopped on to the ground and began spreading and flapping her wings in submission and out of fear. He then circled around her skittishly, sniffing at her and showing off his macho strength. His behavior challenged her friends who ran up to her leaping up, crowing, and circling around her. But he went on doing what he was doing and when he was sure of his victory, slowly pounced upon her, and exactly at that time her friends chorused a call, which didn't sound anything like a chicken call. It was a distress call that sounded like a dog barking. 

We weren't able to witness the whole incident, but only heard the collective barking of the chickens. My mother was busy cooking lunch and we were lounging around. The whole scene was later narrated to us by our neighborhood population.

When our mother ran out we followed her to the scene. Our neighborhood was already there and one aunt had lifted up the distressed chicken in her hand who was shivering like a leaf. 

My mother gave a distressed lecture to our dog about the need for behaving in a boundary-less world and about his responsibility in taking care of all of us.  I didn't check whether he lowered his head in shame and wagged his tail to agree to my mother.

So my story was about that incident. Of course, I was angry, angry with our dog. It was unfair, the way he behaved, and wasn't acceptable.

I didn't give him a lecture instead poured my anger onto a paper. All anger that got penned up within me, which wasn't expressed in the midst of my mother's peace-talk. When I was finished with my story, a kind of pride fanned my mind. It resembled a story in my class 1 text book. I started dreaming of somebody using my story in a text book. And my mother was very pleased to read it. She said she felt very proud of me. That gave me courage to disclose my wish to her that I would like to be a story writer one day. I mean to write a book and publish it.

I remember how my mother tried hard to hide the gloominess suddenly looming over her happiness.

She slowly explained her reason; a story writer has no life, because he or she struggled to make both ends meet in life. And she also revealed she had a dream about me that I should graduate in science and I should get employed.

I knew my mother wouldn't say things she weren't sure of. And, my wish to come across a story teller to gather firsthand information about her struggle in making both ends meet, never materialized. Later in my mother-tongue textbook in class ten, I read about a story teller dying out of hunger.  

I became a graduate and later a post graduate. In life I had to leave my wall-less world and travel to Africa. I got a family, two wonderful children who gave me happiness and joy in every second in my life. However, I never managed to fully part with that wish of mine to be a story writer. It remained with me, grew with me, and turned to be my passion. Still it stays with me.