This blog came into being after much melodrama and suspense. Let me share how it all began. The emotional fool that I am, I penned a heartfelt piece after my only son left home for college. I shared the piece among friends.
Friends being friends, appreciated the article and endorsed my writing skills. In a fit of delusion, I mailed the piece to the Times of India. Hoping to see the post in print, I was the first to wake up, sprint towards the door to grab the newspaper. Over time, hope diminished, life took over and I forgot all about it.
A few months later, while I was vacationing in Kerala, I received a call from a friend in Delhi. “ This article in today’s paper, is it your's?” With no access to the internet in a houseboat, I called my friend again.
"Read it for me. Does it mention my name?"
"Yes, it does."
I was overjoyed. As far as I know there is no other person by my name. Yet.
Remember when Shah Rukh motivates his ‘Chak De’ girls he says, “Yeh sattar minute tumhari zindagi ke sabse keemti hai, yeh tumse koi nahin cheen sakta? Those six hundred fifty odd words catapulted me from a perceived contrite homemaker to an acclaimed cerebral writer.Such is the power of words!
Anyway, I was a woman who had shot her literary bolt. Having tasted blood, my fingers danced on the keyboard like a women possessed.
Unfortunately, other than my letters to various editors, not a single word was published. I had no literary moorings, but the trigger for enthusiasm was the appreciation I received for that one article that reached a million homes. Naturally, dil wanted more.
Slowly my prized newspaper cutting was reduced to a piece of yellow parchment. The thought that many would have eaten bhel puri with grimy chutney on my article at various road side stalls added to the disappointment. The inner voice said, 'Read more, Write less'. I read several good books apart from the self-help genre I was earlier addicted to. Writing sustained, albeit at a slow pace.
The house was swarming with relatives who had thronged to meet my brother and his family from the US. Just after dinner, the phone rang. It was from the Times of India, Gurgaon office. A girl named Pooja was on line.
“My editor wants to meet you tomorrow morning. Can you make it?”
I can come right away to meet your editor in any corner of the world, is what I wanted to say. I was that excited!
The family huddled like Dhoni’s men. Hope bloomed and I foolishly imagined that the editor will vacate his seat, bend on his knees and say, “Where were you all these years? In my entire career I have not met anyone as gifted as yourself. We are firing Jug, Bachi and Shobha. Henceforth, only you will write for us.”
My date with destiny was near and everyone chipped in.
“CV,” said my son. “Mom do you have a CV?”
“What if the editor wants hard copies ?”
The husband went out at night and managed to get some prints. My sis-in-law pitched in with her precious inputs on my CV. Suddenly my little niece raised the mother of all questions. “What will you wear?”
“Does it matter?”
“Yes, it does,” was the chorus.
Finally it was decided that I should wear black trousers and a white top. My worst fear came true. The trouser did not fit. My mom strained her eyes to alter the dress much after midnight. “I could manage only half an inch. It’s a matter of few minutes. Hold your breath until the meeting is over. This is where your daily pranayam comes to rescue," she smiled. Trust my mother to come up with witty ones.
Next morning was all about ‘All the best, do well, don’t be nervous’. The supporting better half that he is, my husband took a day off. We drove to the editor’s office on the MG road.
To my surprise the receptionist said, “Madam, the editor is not in. He is in Delhi. There is some misunderstanding.”
“I don’t think so,” I said. “I got a call from this office.”
Flustered, I called up the editor.
“Who? Oh,yes. Sorry, I am busy today. Why don’t you mail a few articles and we shall see. Not more than two hundred words. We don’t have space, you see.”
I couldn’t see anything. I was holding my breath. Remember the trousers? And most awful was facing the expectant faces at home. What will I say? That my meeting was so inconsequential, the editor forgot?
That is when I decided to write a blog.
“Call it Freebird. No word restrictions, no editing, no running after editors,” said my son. “Your own space. Fly free, soar high.”
Freebird was born in August 2010.