Friday, March 06, 2009

Goodbye Shivani, See You Again

So that was Shivani. I am not going to write about her again. I will let her take a break so that she can resurface later, maybe a few months or years from now, as the soul of my next book.

But it was fun while she was around. Even though she was my own creation, I was myself obsessed with her for the past three or four days. The obsession shall continue -- but in the form of undercurrents rather than waves.

Many thought Shivani was really some woman who had borrowed my blogspace for one evening. In fact, the editor-in-chief of a US-based woman's online magazine asked me if she could reproduce Shivani's post. I would be lying if I say I didn't feel flattered. Many others suspected it was me but didn't know if they should ask me. Some went ahead and asked me if it was me, and I told them the truth. Though there were some people -- most of them close friends and regular readers -- who knew from the beginning that it was me. And then, there were a couple of them, the dimwitted ones, who thought it was my wife who was masquerading as Shivani: well, nothing could be farther from the truth and more hilarious.

The wife can be your best friend and your biggest support-system and the only person you ultimately want to see happy in this world. And all the writing you do and the hard work you put into it is only to make her feel proud at the end of the day. But she can never be your inspiration while you are writing -- simply because she is your wife.

Inspiration comes from unchartered territory, and that is why it is called inspiration. And when I say wife, I don't mean my wife: I mean wife, in general. I should have actually used the word 'spouse.' It is better to clarify such things because often, when you write a post, you are usually seen as the protagonist rather than the narrator.

True, there is often a very thin line between the thoughts of the protagonist and the narrator; but there are times when the narrator uses certain details to embellish the story. However, it does not necessarily mean that those details belong to his real life. But then -- for example -- if I write that I made love last Friday evening, I am likely to be asked things like, "But weren't you at work on Friday evening? Then when did you have sex?" or "Oh, so that is why you went missing for an hour that evening. And you said you were going to get some sandwiches." My previous post happened to have these lines, "No one at the workplace thinks I am creative. They think I am a lazy, foolish day-dreamer. I even get pulled up for that at times," and I had at least four colleagues coming charging at me, "This is a false allegation. What made you write all these things?"

I have discovered that adopting a voice is a more liberating way of telling a story. You can plunge into the innermost crevices of your mind and write whatever you want to and, when confronted, can walk away saying, "But that's fiction." Once you explain that, no one pauses to think that fiction and fact don't live in water-tight compartments and that they are actually entwined.

On the face of it, Shivani's story is fiction. Yet, it is a real story -- the story of countless women. Most of these women don't even realise they have a story to tell, so busy they are playing out roles alloted to them by destiny. Throughout their lives, they keep other fires burning, without realising that the fire inside them died somewhere along the way. They are pretty yet faceless, they shout at their children when they watch TV all the time and yet they are voiceless. The idea behind Shivani was to give them a face, a voice.

7 comments:

colourmewhite said...

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness, that frightens us most. We ask ourselves, 'Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, and famous?' Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that people won't feel insecure around you. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It's not just in some of us; it's in all of us. And when we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”

Maryanne Williamson

See you around shivani...the struggle will forever be on!

Anonymous said...

choice is theirs, isn't it? Then why crib?
Shivani or Shiva can all get voiceless at times (psst: that's why the need to adopt someone else's voice)
And, though I am a little lazy, I think I will spill my voice onto ink and hope it turns out to be worth reading :-)

Have u seen 'shabd'?

Deepa said...

My goodness! I just had to comment! Most fantastically written BG. Loved the Shivani posts.

nayana said...

yet another good post BG.. I think I am falling in love with...... your blog:)) so you see my boyfriend is a little upset with you...
may be your next blog should be about innocent flirting, is there such a thing..

Madhu said...

Hi Bishwanath,
After reading Shivani story it took me back in time when i had watched this film and had lingered for many days thereafter.The film "The Bridges of Madison county" masterfully directed by Clint Eastwood had Meryl Streep essay the role of mother,wife having unfulfilled dreams from her youth.Do watch it and u might just exclaim that Shivani brought to life in Meryl Streep.

Soumya said...

I've been following your Shivani story and of course, guessed she was your creation (probably an inspiration too). On reflection, I guess part of her exists in all of us.I know of several men who have sacrificed their time and interests to earn extra so that their family may live well.Like Shivani,they are equally unsung too!

hems said...

Thanks for that quote colourmewhite!!

Here's wishing all the Shivanis and other women the strength to face their fears ...