Our cities are crowded. Maddeningly crowded. Noise, smoke, traffic and numerous aspirations.
People walk. They sometimes run. Perhaps their hearts have a song. I want to press my ear against the wall and listen to that song.
There are so many stories out there in the streets. Have you ever noticed?
So many people. Different backgrounds. Different childhoods.
Yet I can’t write. My characters are stale and unreal. There’s no ‘life’. My storyline is cliched enough. Why can’t I find a plot? A gripping plot.
Perhaps the best way is to stand at a busy city square for the whole day and just listen. Just listen.
Random snippets from phone conversations.
Overheard verbal duels between a teenaged child and a parent.
It’s best to open your eyes to a random new world that’s thriving with stories.
Stories that are not necessarily beautiful. Stories that don’t end. Why can’t I find stories? Perhaps I’m not a good listener or observer.
I have to listen first. Observe. Understand. Imagine. And write. I have a great urge to write about rural India. But I haven’t been to a village.
I see people who’ve come from villages to cities and made their lives entirely from scratch.
I want to talk to them. I want them to tell me their stories. But will they bare their hearts to me?
I see random homeless people cooking on the pavement. It makes me want to talk to them. I want to know their story.
I want to know about their lives – their once normal lives – the lives before abject poverty and despair and the downhill journey.
Perhaps someday I’ll learn to make them talk. Someday I’ll muster up enough courage to ask them, “So, how did you become homeless?”.
Someday their lives will be replayed in the form of some character I shall create. They will.
Till then, I’ll have to learn to listen, to observe, and to imagine.
It’s a lot to learn.