Art, Blogging, Book, Book Review, Bruises, Bullying, Chapter, Damini Kane, Debut Nove, Fan, Fiction, Friend, Mumbai, Notes, Novel, Partners in Crime, Review, Soundcloud, storytelling, Summers, The Sunlight Plane, writing
The want to start with an observation
Damini’s book feels like a super hero story, in that usually, the world of two 9 years old children — what they think, how they feel — is often not known to adults upfront. It’s like Matrix’s code, one has to develop an intuition to see what might be happening in their minds and hearts. The super power Damini gives the readers through her story, is that everybody has a direct access to the lives of these children.
I scribbled about in the book like a mad man. I’ll only be able to jot down a subset of everything in this blogpost. Reminder to self — while writing the final review, consult the scribblings as well.
Oh, where do I even begin. Let’s start with an example of the observation I made above. Tharush’s father says “I think it’s worse for a child to live with two people who are always fighting each other. It doesn’t create a good home environment, you know?“
to which follows the following text —
“Home environment”, Tharush repeated, because he had never heard those two words together, and they combined to form a concept he had even considered. Homes had environments?
He thought back to all he’d learnt in school about the environment. That it was polluted, that there was acid rain, that a healthy environment was important for life. The implications for that inside a home… For him, home was where it was safe and cool, where there was food and love and his toy fighter jets.
“Do we have a healthy home environment?” Tharush asked suddenly.
See what I mean? This automagically allows humour to jump right in. Honesty precedes humour (I think?)
and I don’t think I’ve seen it anywhere else. It could be because I have not read many books altogether, but whatever the reason, I’ll explain the writing pattern with the help of an example of an excerpt from her book itself —
(Tharush asks this in the middle of a conversation he has initiated with his father, to know what a divorce is) —
“So what happens to the children?” Tharush asked, and his father gave him this look, as though saying, NOW you’re thinking.
The this in the above sentence is a solid placeholder and escape hatch from the temptation of using an adverb. This pattern, of placing placeholders and actually showing the reader exactly how a person might be thinking or what they might be doing, instead of redirecting that work to adverbs which would, in most cases, only be able to give a hint of that action or feeling is amazing. Adverbs are indirect, one step farther in trying to give an adjoining and explanatory hint about the verb they are trying to embellish, if that makes sense. I’m going to try this writing style in my writing, everywhere that I can. Another example of an adverb saved (without the placeholder) —
“No!” he cried, his voice high and panicked. “I didn’t do anything! I found it like this!”
Another one(without the placeholder) —
“Don’t be silly”, his father replied, prompt and warm.
Another one, and this one is the most genius of all —
Tharush let out a noise he didn’t even know he could produce. Some combination of an explanation and a wail. His fingers dug through his sweaty hair to somehow contain his excitement…
Another one?(without the placeholder) 😁 —
He lowered his eyes in some mixture of shyness and guilt as he awkwardly kicked the floor.
Hence less is not always more, especially in writing long form fiction.
“Okay.” Tharush let out a breath of air he didn’t know he’d been holding. “Good”
I can practically see the breath gushing out while he said Good.
“Freak!”, Vikram suddenly shouted, and all at once, Tharush felt the wind expel from his body as the football collided brutally with his ribs.
A bad sentence (that in all likelihood I would have written) would have been a descriptive sentence that Vikram threw a ball towards Tharush immediately before where the bold part of the sentence above starts. But deferring it til the consequence of that action makes the reader excited and gets on reader’s nerve to rush to the end of the sentence. Talk about sentence turners (analogy to “page turners”). Another one —
“You can’t just cower before him because of what he might do, you know,” his mother replied, but her tone was appeasing.
The bold part keeps the reader up on his seat, still, looking for the behaviour of her tone, because she had shown, in the sentences previous to the above (not written here), irritation and annoyance towards the bully who had bullied her son, and her mother. So it was likely at the start of the sentence above, that she might have said this in an irritated, or angry tone, but the tone of the sentence was left hanging in surprise well up until the end.
“It’s…” Tharush began, his voice sounding raw and scratchy. His throat hurt. He wanted to curl up and cry, but he wasn’t going to give Vikram that power over him. Taking a brave little breath, he finished, “They’re idiots”
This complemented one thing so nicely — Tharush’s will to become strong and willed, because he wanted to fly fighter planes, and how could he fly them if he was expelled because he was weak. Another one —
…”Now why would you lie about that”?
He blinked, blinked, blinked, but that was useless against the burn in his throat and the sting in his eyes. “Vikram did it,” he muttered, wiping away before they got any worse.
The bold sentence could have been poorly written as a description, premeditating the fact that his eyes were becoming watery and stingy and his throat was burning. But instead Damini showed what was happening as the consequence of that. We all try to hide our tears from anybody present in the room directly looking at us, by trying to constantly and repeatedly blink in a futile attempt to not let tears fall down. He blinked, blinked, blinked. Again, PURE GENUIS! Another one (a person who has unexpectedly been caught doing something he was not supposed to be doing) —
Aakash jumped violently and turned, shoving (I’d have used a weak ‘hiding‘) one of his hands behind his back as his wide, terror-stricken eyes locked onto Tharush and his lips parted to form barely intelligible stutters.
In the first glance, one might think that a fragmented dialogue showing Aakash stuttering would have added upto this. But the fact that it is so detailed testifies that, that could have been an overkill.
His red shirt looked almost orange in the yellow light of the building’s lobby.
The other day, a dear friend proposed this idea. Classifying ourselves as very near to how asexual people are known to be, we discussed how many people in this world would want to spend nights just sleeping together with people like us — people who do not really have sexual impulses with the allowed proximity of bodies but without pre consented sexual allowance. Imagine you are in a room with a friend, you both are pretty tipsy (or not), one of you lies down on the bed after a while out of tiredness and casually calls the other one to join you, to perhaps ask them to stroke your hair, or to just come on the bed untying their shoes. The offer or the reason for the proximities of the bodies could be anything. You come close and this sudden urge arises — to touch them, kiss them, and perhaps to have sex with them.
We do not almost always have such impulses (and I don’t drink). She said how nice would it be for people to find people like us who wouldn’t give a chance to ruin a morning then spent in repentance. Then she asked the question, which sparked the title of this blogpost (she used this word in the WhatsApp chat conversation and I stole it) — would people pay for us kind of escorts to be with? I thought it was a brilliant idea. We are smart, intellectual, spiritual, we both have’ve had sex, so it’s not like we have no idea what it feels like (oh the sudden rush of pleasure!), we are poets, we write good if not great short stories, she’s an economist, I’m a software developer, we both meditate, we love unconditionally (literally), we listen raptly even to the most boring conversations, I’m very good with my hands over bodies and hair, I’m a good kisser and hugger ( i believe it is not a hug, unless embrace is at least as long as a minute ). I mean who would not want to be with us to just embrace and sleep with? So many people either go to their beds alone thinking if they had someone to be with, or they particularly do not like the person they are with. Some do, but many don’t.
She started asking her friends if they’d pay her to have her for the night to just peacefully sleep. Most of her friends said no, but then it’s not proper research done with friends now is it?
I like the idea of being a Gigolo. It would be a TREMENDOUS save of time (even if I’d have to perform sexually, I wouldn’t mind). Most of the times, I’d have to work at nights, and I’d have my entire day to myself (unless of course I’d be needed) to work on the ideas I’ve always had — about writing, about coding. If you know someone who’d hire me, please comment, I could really use a job 😅
When my dear friend read this article, and we had a conversation, she was so excited she went this far —
Last night hailed thunderstorm from all over the places and directions, it was windy and later it got rainy. This morning, it was one of those mornings when the ceiling fan is not needed yet you still want it to rotate with the whirling of the winds that comes fresh after touching the mountains around. Kinda like the natural drinking water that flows in streams in Shogi, which is also one of the primary drinking water resource for many.
This morning was a sudden relief from summer heat that had started clutching the town for about two days. I had my blanket wrapped from head to toe, savouring the cold winds that came in through a window that was left open in anticipation of nothing special. This morning, when I thought I could just lay around here forever, I dreamt about you.
We were back in college, we were dressed up. I, was dressed up, that was really unusual of me. I don’t remember what I was wearing, but I guess you were wearing a yellow dress, yellow probably closing #ffdb00. And we were dancing. I don’t remember if there was any music playing, there probably was. But I just remember we staring in each other’s eyes and dancing slowly fluidly. Others were dancing as well. It was like Mumbai, nobody bothered about what other person was engaged in or doing, which is never really possible in our alma mater, but well this was a dream, misty mixtures of past and or present and or future, not in control.
It felt like a respite from time, it was amazing. We weren’t thinking anything in particular, like the yester days, when we’d keep asking each other what the other was thinking, when the other was thinking nothing in particular. Time stopped, because there were no thoughts, no botheration to aid the rate of change of thoughts hence time. You were a pretty good dancer, though I don’t know that in reality of course. I’ve just heard about your epic laughter and your epic screams, probably even heard one when I was passing by Isha Goyal’s room.
I don’t want to thank you, thanking needs separation. But since I can’t be in your presence to explode and offer silence side by side, I’ll have to use words to grotesquely say the experience that might have been. I offer you my gratitude, not because I have it to give it to you, but because it oozes out like pee when the bladder is bursting. For checking on me, sticking by me, inspiring me, cutting my crap and getting me straight to what can be done and what is needed.
I miss you, I wish we could go on a long drive someday, listening to my Indie, Folk, Alternate and Country collection of songs, and also the old Hindi songs.
Probably I’ll make it happen. As I stand in front of the mountains, which once stood as my audience for the first declamation contest I prepared for, and let my unkempt long hair dabble on the wings of this air, I remember you, intensely. Goodnight.
It was 5:30 on a Tuesday morning. The air was quivering and the sunlight was yet to throb. By the time I was just about to arrive at the entrance of the joggers park ahead of a colony of dilapidated bare brick labor houses where the smell of hamaan took my by surprise, over a turn downhill, I saw a light brown (or whatever the exact colour is) dog (a labrador) run towards me. I normally get super scared at the sight of a dog starting to run towards me, and run for my life and paving way to a phenomenon known a chase.
But I didn’t. I was flabbergasted at myself. The dog leapt over me, with his forelegs reaching my upper abdomen. Then I heard his owner callout his name.
We’d given Casper to father’s former driver, Bobby uncle, for the reason that my parents were living separately and we were moving a lot for multiple reasons, so we couldn’t take care of him properly. I felt embarrassed to not have recognized such a lovely dog with whom, though I’d spent only a couple of months, I’d started belonging to him. Perhaps it was because I was sleepy.
Bobby Uncle didn’t recognize me either, Casper kept playing with me and I with him. I’ve never had a friend like this, who had recognized me so quickly and leapt over me with so much happiness. Casper had taken care of both my father and mother in separate times. I wish I could spend more time playing with him but I can’t, he’s gone. I’ll keep bumping him from time to time I guess. I just want to keep my hand on his head and be grateful for his existence.
Musings on poetry, language, perception, numbers, food, and anything else that slips through the cracks.
Musings on poetry, language, perception, numbers, food, and anything else that slips through the cracks.