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Do you live on the right side of the road?
How’s your Sunday morning going? Had a coffee yet? I’m in Sakleshpur and woke up early for some reason, maybe the bird song. I decided to use the time to sit out among the trees and send this before my wife and daughter wake up.
I’m attaching a free excerpt of my new story ‘The Right Side Of The Road’ as a PDF. It's the first chapter, which is around 8 pages, and it's not even up on the website yet. Here it is:
I have been working on this story for a long time, meaning I have been abandoning it for three months at a time for over a year. The premise is simple - a street where both sides of the road believe they were the first there and peace depends on a precarious balance between their hatred for each other and their hatred for other streets. You can guess what my inspiration was.
I wrote the first version of this story in a single sitting. In that version, my protagonist, Bablu was a replaceable template. The plot drove everyone, and I had meant Bablu to be an inconsequential player in that play, easily replaced by any other character. But when I asked a few writing buddies to review it, several of them said they enjoyed it, but felt they had no reason to care about Bablu at all. I said that’s OK, because I didn’t care about him either.
I sent it to a few magazines, and got a couple of rejection letters. I then let it sit for months and ended up working on ‘Hate In The Time Of COVID’, which put all thoughts of this story out of my head as Sitara started inhabiting my head like someone alive who needed her story to be told. It was perhaps that experience that made me go back to Bablu too.
I wrote a character profile for Bablu, how old he is (48), what he looks like, what drives him internally and externally, and I decided I did care about Bablu, although he was a bigot. I realised that he was the most principled character in my story. He had a moral compass which everyone else lacked, just that it happened to be pointing in the wrong direction. Once I knew that, the story had to be longer. Which is why I’ve been rewriting it forever.
It’s been a struggle because the project has grown in ambition faster than my writing abilities could, and I keep trying to do justice to it and doubting if I can.
I will keep trying though. I am 10,000 words in and estimate it will take another 3000-5000 words to finish, if I don’t feel like ripping it up (digitally). If you get a chance to read chapter 1, please do let me know what you think. Every bit of motivation helps.
In the meantime, I’ll be with Bablu on Street 111.
P.S: Shout out to the talented Mr. Vishwamohana Hebbar, who drew a new cover for ‘Hate In The Time Of COVID’, which you can see here: https://mcusercontent.com/273dc86347cfe18e18bec2545/_compresseds/5c61da75-fb34-4ffe-77d0-fa5498b1534c.jpg
Hope you like it as much as I did. I puffed up like a peacock.