Posts Tagged ‘being a writer’

Okay, I’m getting over my heartbreak over Rafa losing in the French Open. It’s taking time and I’m still in therapy but I have no doubt I’ll get over it before AEGON’s queen’s club championships. I would like to thank my support group RaFans Anonymous for aiding my recovery.

I’m back to doing the basics of what I do, which is write funny stuff. It’s important to do that before beginning the next one because you do get drained after you complete the previous one. So, if you don’t want a tired new novel you’d better brush up on your joke writing skills beforehand.

You know it’s real hard being a writer. It’s hard because people assume that you’ve got an easy life. As my sister says, “All you do is read, watch television and tinker away on your computer all day long. And, at the end of the day, you don’t even have to show anything for your effort.” Let’s see, low self esteem, manic depression, suicidal tendencies, raging alcoholism…life’s a ball.

It’s even harder if you’re funny writer. People just don’t take your problems seriously. Here I am standing on the ledge, ready to jump off and my neighbor pokes her head out of her window.  “Hey, Smita what you doing?” And I say, “I’m thinking of suicide.” And she says, “Oh, new joke?” And I say, “No, I’m thinking of committing suicide.” And she says, “How about a joke before you go?”

And the pressure! Every time I see my friends, they’re like, “Written a new chapter yet?” Do I ask them, “Hey doc, cut open a new heart lately?”

I complained about feeling drained to a friend the other day. And he suggested drugs. “Nothing quite like drugs to free your mind…give you the ultimate rush.”

I looked at him thinking he was suggesting party/recreational stuff like ecstasy. Nope, he was talking about hard core stuff. The kind you shoot up your nose or into your veins. I looked at him, aghast. Like I need a new addiction.

“That’s stupid,” I said. “Why can’t I just go drag racing if I want a rush?”

He looked at me as though I’ was nuts. “Let’s see. To go drag racing you need an open highway. The closest one is Bombay Poona Expressway But to get to that you’ve got to drive at least two hours through the city. That’s four litres. Then you need another ten litres once you get onto the highway. That’s 650 bucks for an hour of fun. For that amount you can get stoned for a week!”

Boy, it’s scary what the Taliban ouster has done to the global drug economy.

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There are flip sides to being a writer you know. People are always looking to elicit freebies. For example, the other day I went to the funeral of the mother a friend of a friend of mine. A vague uncle of hers, as soon as he heard that I was a writer, looked at me as though I were the answer to all his prayers and said fervently, “I have a job for you. See all these people here? Well, why don’t you speak a little eulogy for their benefit?”

I was horrified. No amount of protests that I didn’t really know the deceased (may her soul rest in peace) all the well did the trick. He just patted me on the back and said in an avuncular fashion (as he should, since he was the uncle) and said, “You’re a writer, you’ll think of something.”

There I was, stuck with having to write a eulogy for a woman a barely knew. So I did the only thing I could. I rummaged through the dregs of my memories for instances of my interaction with her. The only things that came to mind were the time when I was fourteen and she chased me out of her house with a rolling pin (literally. I’m not making this up) for being a bad influence on her daughter, or the time when we were fifteen and she caught us holed up in the bathroom with a can of beer.

Pin drop silence.

I looked up to see people staring at me. The uncle looked appalled. My friend looked worse.

“How could you?” she fumed later. “You turned my mother’s funeral into a circus.”

Oh well, they did ask a funny writer to speak the eulogy. Seriously, Indians have no sense of humour.

Then there are times when people call up asking for all kinds of favours – copy for brochures, content for their websites, scripts for pilots. Hey, all I’m asking her is her time, they figure.

Never mind that when it comes to returning the favour, they studiously avoid your eyes. So I never really get that pair of glasses free. The best they can do is give me discount on the retail price, which is still higher than the wholesale price by the way.

C’est la vie.

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