Thursday, May 24, 2007

CHAPTER 4 - Our First Meeting

[If you've just landed yourself on this novel you might consider starting from here]


I don’t drink coffee usually except on days I’m waiting for Dubleu. I know you’d go ahead and ask me –

“What does coffee have to do with Dubleu?”

“Is he frequently late and you need coffee to restrain your senses from falling asleep?”

“Is there some deeper meaning too?”

“Or is it just something you say because you’ve been assuming that your readers are a freaking bunch of fools?” (That’s some serious accusation!)

None of those are correct, though. I’ll give you a more reasonable reason. This place that I’m sitting in presently is just one of those open air cafeteria that you find in the outskirts of a busy, busy town. And although they do serve many things other than coffee, either nothing is as good as the coffee they serve over here or everything else they serve over here is even worse than the coffee. So that I always end up hiding behind a monstrous coffee mug in which they serve coffee over here. See, it’s that simple. I don’t know why we always think in complicated terms. Why are simple things so full of complications for us? Aren’t we just an antithesis of Dubleu who finds all his complications frighteningly simple? And which one’s really better? You go figure that out as I sit here waiting for my protagonist, Dubleu.

On a second thought, since I have you today I won’t be waiting through silence. I’d rather be telling you about our first meeting.

I remember our first meeting not because it was our first meeting, neither because it was very unusual, but because it was the only time when Dubleu was already present in the cafeteria.

“I want you to write on me.” Dubleu had told straight away like most of my shameless clients.

“I generally prefer the paper”, I replied.

“No… I mean, about me.”

“A biography?”

“No. A novel.”

“Does your life have a plot?”

“It may if you wish.”

“Hmmm. Does it have any interesting things happening in it?”

“I’d make sure it does.”

“I can’t start writing a novel based solely on your promises.”

“Okay, I’d make you sign a contract with me.”

“And what would it state?”

“It’d say that provided you complete this novel much to my satisfaction, you can keep any one thing you choose from the novel for yourself.”

“Any rules and restrictions to that contract?”

“Nothing as such except that you must state what you wish to keep with the last few chapters to go.”

“Hmmm. I like your contract. It definitely sounds like some thing worth experimenting with. I’m game.”

I don’t know what Dubleu finds so interesting about this cafeteria. Okay, I agree that the cafeteria is in the centre of an endless field. And you find the horizon at an equal radius in whichever way you turn. The breeze blows from all of these directions simultaneously converging in you. So that you sit in the perfect balance of the rhythm of the blowing wind. There’s music in the wind itself – sometimes it plays through the subtleties of My Funny Valentine, sometimes the intricacies of The Blue Danube. And there’s fragrance too of the different lands from which each of these breeze returns. Falling into the embers of your infallible self. Therefore, what difference does it make? I am not (never was or will be) nature’s poet. I’m here just for the contract I had signed with Dubleu. And I find this place more disturbing than captivating. I’ll tell you why.

This place stretches to infinity in each and every direction. You never know which of the ways Dubleu would be coming from. So you must keep looking around all the while in every possible direction until he appears. And that’s not enough. Adding to this there is one more problem. A problem I find terribly disturbing to anticipate every time I come to meet Dubleu – This place stretches to infinity. At the beginning you see Dubleu as a dot (“a geometric element that has position but no extension”). Then, begins the journey. He walks through the eternity. And grows through continuity and slowness. Following the winds. Until he becomes himself, once again. And I must sit over here, unmoving, as he gradually gathers and gains extension. Watching him become. And while you do so you forget to let your eyes blink. And your eyes revolt to this. Thus, begins the war between you and your eyes. Dubleu steps closer to you, calmly.

An uncompromising, unchanging sameness repeats itself today as well. I watch Dubleu walk towards me from the distance far away.

In the end when he arrives I seemed more tired than he did.

“I’m not happy with the way you’ve gone ahead with the novel.” He says. “There’s no structure at all. You just throw bits and pieces towards the reader. What sense would it make to them without a sufficient background about…. about the entire thing.”

“And that would be…?”

“You should know better.”

“Exactly. I do. So, let me handle it.”

“But what if you end up turning it into a total disaster?”

“Nothing serious. You wouldn’t like it and I wouldn’t have anything to keep for myself from the novel.”

“I swear, you’re giving me quite a headache.”

“I know.”

“Just tell me something. When do you plan to start the actual novel?”

“Right from the beginning of the next chapter.”

“I swear I’d kill you if you don’t”, he says, smiling.

But it sounds just as unbecoming of Dubleu as is his returning through the endless field. Against the breeze.


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