The cursor blinks on my screen as the premeditated text beckons: “share your story here…!” Above it a grey line separating the content from the name records in little grey letters “Post Title”. Once you try to maintain an active blog, you’re familiar to these usual way of things in WordPress. “Share your story here…” as the blank page stares at you, somehow makes itself into one of the most inviting things anyone has said all day. “The paper has more patience than people”, Anne Frank had said to me from the pages of a fat volume when I was thirteen and wondering. At twenty and still wondering, I reckon perhaps it’s not just that. Paper unlike humans is a safe portal to unload. Perhaps safety comes way before patience in this age of stepped up insecurities and trust issues. Or is it just me?
A white sheet of paper inked with symbols that make sense to a particular linguistic register, is capable of holding in its vacuum the complexity of the inkers mind and kept by itself, still convey the same state of mind after days and years of it’s first being inked. What’s more amazing, the same set of symbols on paper when held by someone other than the aforementioned inker transports by some magical connexion the same state of mind in the viewer, activates the concealed buttons of feelings so much so that it makes us react to a whole set of emotions: crying, smiling, overwhelmed, ecstatic or weeping with the fervour of being torn in between!
Books like humans, stay silent unless you bump into them, just another passerby in the mindful sidewalk of life..Stretch a finger over the tough ribbed centre of its spine, run your fingers through the pages, take in that ancient smell of parchment and stories or feel your way softly over the velvet of its cover. Before long, you move in comfortably in your chair and speak to it over the smoke of coffee: “Hey, man what’s your story?”
And countless inkers from the other end of the world would count petals (“he’ll read me, he’ll read me not!) in eager apprehension of that one chosen question. As you sit back in your recliner and start reading the book, somewhere a writer “happy-sighs” in his sleep. Somewhere, at quite another end of the world perhaps, an inker of magic symbols called words, who had stared long and hard at the static reading (“share your story here”) on his screen, wondering what his story ever was before getting about the same anyway, just name a shooting star after his wish. As people over the years shut themselves down like huge volumes of ‘fictions-you’ve-never-read’, perhaps it’s time to get to the fiction first before you can ask that of a person! Perhaps our bigger volumes of literature are indeed in a way, an essential unwinding of humans, of getting into the most inaccessible corners of someone’s mind and coming back with a vertigo of feelings, thoughts and emotions that the writer has never before dared to respond in answer to one of those small talk questions (“Hey man, what’s your story?!”) and yet felt the need to come all out with it at the face of a paper – to submit to the ancient treaty of trust the paper promised the person, and perturbed by the heavy burdens of mind, found an outlet and unloaded! As the paper stands filled now, inked with words that may or may not make sense, it rests in the dusty shelves of the bibliophile’s haunts waiting upon a shooting star wondering if he’ll ask over the hot steams of coffee, “Hey man, what’s your story?!”
(PostScript: I write this on the evening of the last day of the year 2016 probably the prey to one of those things they call the “writer’s block” at the moment, unable to make new resolutions as nothing of consequence is to be gained from following New Year’s cliches and somehow substituting the lack of resolutions, instead, by a need for revolution. The pen has always been more useful than a sword and perhaps I’ll carry one for all my battles..So this New Year as I dwindle between the futility of making resolutions, I’ll ink a revolution in the name of reading instead. “I resolve to revolt against the nature of my times to not pick up the book from the shelf. This New Year, I resolve to read!”)