Wednesday, September 21, 2011

No 1 Fan - Part 6 - The End

<Well, here we are. Finally we reach the end of the Author's Tale. It took me one hell of a time to finish, but it's done. Give me a moment, I'm just so friggin' relieved. I've been working on this for almost a year now and I've gone from having a story to tell to getting sick of it and then picking it up again. Finally, it's through. I hope you've been reading the earlier installments. If not, here's a list, so you can read the whole story at an entire sitting. Enjoy:

No 1 Fan - Part 1 - The Author
No 1 Fan - Part 2 - Just Checking
No 1 Fan - Part 3 - The Book
No 1 Fan - Part 4 - The Reason
No 1 Fan - Part 5 - The Gist

She didn't even pause. Just went on about how a typo in his third book was actually a Freudian slip revealing that he had an untamed fear of heights. "I'm guessing she has a degree in psycho as well," he thought. And he didn't mean psychology.
Finally he stood up as if to leave. That got her attention.
"Where are you going?"
"Nowhere. But I've had enough. I'm telling you for the last time, I do not put hidden messages in my books. None whatsoever. Not even a hint of a hint. And if you're finding them, lady, you have some serious problems which you should probably look into."
She stared.
"You mean..."
"...not a single..."
"Not even half."
"Well, what about...."
"Or the time you wrote..."
"Absolutely not."
"But how about-"
She looked at her hands for a while. He noticed she was nodding very slowly. Her lower lip started trembling and her upper one almost disappeared behind it. He thought she might cry. For the first time, he realised just how important it was for her to find meaning in something, even in his writing. Perhaps it was easier because it was so simple and saccharine. It's easy to draw your own images on a blank, extremely bland slate. This was probably the one big thing in her life, the one thing that made her feel special. And he had just taken it away from her. For a minute, he almost felt sorry for her.
Just for a minute.
Suddenly, she seemed to come to a decision. Her head snapped up and once again her eyes were cold and emotionless.
"Well then I gues you really are just a talentless hack."
And she picked up her jhola and walked the fuck out of his life.
He would have been slightly pissed if he wasn't so grateful to see her walk away.


Later, as he sat in his study, he looked back on the whole episode and smiled. it was all so bizarre. And now that it was over, it even seemed funny. He realized that it was probably the first truly unusual thing that had ever happened to him in his entire life. His life had always been so humdrum, so boring that he had sought refuge in the magical worlds he created, not literally of course, but enough to keep him insulated from the outside world. His worlds were unusual because his World was mundane. But his work was terrible because deep down he knew his life was terrible. But now, something had happened, something strange and unusual and it had set
He switched on his computer and logged on to a Tarun Rai fan page forum. But strangely enough, he couldn't think of any insults to hurl against himself. He couldn't stop thinking about his No 1 Fan.
He logged out and opened up a Word document instead. Outside, the rain had just begun. The rumbling thunder had given way to the hiss of the raindrops falling on the trees, the quiet yet forceful sound of the breeze. The night was awakening as the world went to sleep. But alone in a room that smelled of wet feet, hunched in front of a computer screen, he typed and he typed until there was nothing left. And then he began to read. He read about his encounter with a delusional fan, his discomfort, her obsession, his embarassment. He wrote about trying to get a word in in vain. And the joy that he felt when she left. Perhaps he embellished or even made up some of the things that were now on the screen. Had she really chased him home? Was her jhola really filled with cigarettes? Was the tea he was sipping before she came really the best he had ever had?
Probably not, but he had reached the point where fact and fiction had become inseparable; where the truth flows seemlessy into the product of his imagination; in other words, that grey zone where real stories are born.
The minute he wrote the words 'The End' at the bottom of the document, he felt an unaccustomed surge of accomplishment. One that he had never felt before, but needed to feel again. So he wrote another story. And another one. Every time, he felt a rush the moment he completed a plotline and like a junkie, he needed to feel that rush over and over again. And each time, he needed to write more and more to get that rush. Unbeknownst to him, his fiction was maturing before his very eyes. What astonished him was the fact that each and every story he wrote was born from a memory, a memory belonging to the recollection of his uninspiring, humdrum life. But as if his No 1 Fan was a catalyst, he transformed the recollections of his past into finely crafted tales, the like of which had never flowd from his keyboard before. He reached the point where he could even include veiled references to individuals and incidents. At that point, he stopped. The echo of words long forgotten rang in his ears. A woman trying to pick out secrets from the pages of a battered old book with his name on the cover. He giggled hysteically the moment he realised that this was exactly what she had been looking for. He giggled but he typed on.
The sun rose on a dingy room that still smelled of feet. But they were dry feet now and a different man was sitting in the lone chair in front of a glowing computer screen. A pair of eyes read and re-read the lines before them while a pair of ears heard the familiar noises of the old lady downstairs getting up out of bed, stumbling over her cat and cursing. Still the eyes read.
This was it.
This was what he needed. He knew that this was going to be different. He knew it was going to work. He got up, shaved, brushed his teeth, combed his hair, put on his clothes, hit print, and walked out of the house towards his publishers'. They were going to love this.


They hated it. Or, to be precise, they found it quite an interesting bunch of stories, but not quite what they were expecting out of him, thank you very much, after all he had a formula going and they really didn't want to lose (so sorry, they meant disappoint) their core demographic, now did they, and they weren't quite sure this...manuscript really appealed to that demographic and surely he could nip on home and write the final installment to his Conqueror of Crowp series of young adult novels, after all so many people were waiting for it with bated breath and of course he understood, didn't he?
He understood. He tore up his contract with them that very day, legality be damned. Thankfully, his successful career of peddling bullshit to kids had earned him a pretty little sum which had been careful to keep stored away in the bank, living frugally and withdrawing it in small amounts so that one day he could afford that trip to Vegas and watch Love.
All thoughts of Vegas forgotten, he decided to take out all the money in his account and use it to publish his book independently. It was a gamble, but he hoped it would pay off.
Did it? Well that's another story. It's set to come out this November. We'll see if fortune really does favour the bold.
Two last loose ends to tie up before we leave Tarun Rai to his future, whatever it may be.
First, Anita Sen had left her copy of  The Red Door on the table in front of Tarun Rai. He found a name and address scrawled on the first page in a green pen and so decided to send it back to her, even though she probably wouldn't want it. Sure enough, it wound up in the trash with its pages ripped out and the cover defaced the very next morning. Anita never read another word written by Tarun rai. According to her, she was done with 'no-good talentless hacks'.
And finally, Tarun thought long and hard and decided that his upcoming book, his collection of short stories would be named after the two words which had driven him to keep writing right after he typed them out at the bottom of each story; had pushed him to finish an entire 500 page collection in a single night. Those words and the name of the book they inspired were:



  1. I am writing this before reading...U took so freaking long I have no idea of the story whatsoever anymore so have to take it from the top :P But good to know you drew the curtain on the series...FInally!

  2. I am done Reading it and it totally holds up... :)

  3. DUDE!!!!!!!!! :O :O
    I love thisss!!!!!! FACK!!! :O :O