Shops are already putting up Christmas trees and playing the carols. Which means another year has gone past. How do I look back at 2009? So far, it has been the worst year of my life and also the best. Strange, isn't it: the best year also happens to be the worst!
Mathematically, a plus and a minus should cancel each other out so that you are left with a zero -- a clean slate. But life is not mathematics but chemistry, where a electron meets a proton to form a new, stable compound. I shall be stepping into 2010 as a new, stable compound. In any case, the years ending with an even digit have always been nice to me. I was born in 1970, got the appointment letter for my first job in 1992, moved to Delhi in 1994, got the appointment letter for a job in Chennai (which changed the course of my life) in 2000, got married in 2006 and so on. It was an aberration that my first book should have come out in 2009: maybe the best of it will happen in 2010.
Also in December 2010, I shall turn 40. Half of my life would be over, and yet my biggest dream remains unfulfilled. It shall remain unfulfilled unless I work towards it, and it is about time that I did. It is a simple dream on the face of it, but not simple at all when the dreamer happens to be me -- someone who is used to living paycheck to paycheck. But I am determined to make it come true. Here is the dream:
Owning a house by the sea or in the lap of a mountain. At daybreak, I would greet the sun with at least 12 rounds of sun salutations followed by a sequence of yogic postures that would include five minutes of shoulderstand and three minutes of headstand. After that, a breakfast of bread and eggs and juice in the lawn, if there is one. After breakfast I would proceed to my study to write. The study would have a large desk in the middle of the room. Three walls would be lined with books, while the fourth would be adorned with Bose speakers as well as various framed pictures of R.D. Burman and Kishore Kumar that I would have stolen from the internet and developed into prints. That would be the music corner.
I would write non-stop till noon and then pour some beer for myself and go over whatever I've written since morning. Most of the time, I would be happy with my work and proceed for lunch. A simple lunch, nothing fancy. Post-lunch, I would sit in the balcony and light a cigarette and catch up with the gossip over phone and also look at various contracts and cheques sent by the publisher. A short nap and then I would be writing again. In between, I would get a text message from the bank: Rs 4.5 lakh have just been credited into my account.
Just before sunset, I would go for a long, brisk walk. Another text message from the bank: Rs 80,000 credited into your account. Oh, the advance for the new book. I would return invigorated and go for a shower and come out to find 'literary' and other friends waiting. I would go behind the bar counter and declare the evening open. The bar would be well-stocked with duty-free alcohol, but friends would not be discouraged from bringing their own booze. After two drinks each, we would move to the music corner -- with drinks in hand, of course -- and worship Kishore Kumar and R.D. Burman for a couple of hours. From a bartender I would transform into a DJ.
Sharp at 11 I would declare the bar closed and say goodbye to all of them. Of course we would all have had dinner by then -- simple food cooked by a certain Ram Singh or a Ramu Kaka or a Ganga Ram. Once they leave, I would pull out a book from the shelves and put myself to sleep reading it. So dear friends, that's my simple dream. Please pray that it comes true by at least 2012 -- a year that ends with an even number.
Wait a minute, I forgot something. I left out my wife from my dream day in my dream house. Let me come back to you with a rewritten dream, lest I am left out of her life.