Meeting with the writers is a lovely experience for me. We share our thoughts and discuss various things about our creations. Occasionally one of them reads out his new story, which is yet to be published. The other one brings his poetry to recite and someone else is there to talk about his new coming up book. This is a good practice but I don’t like lobbying, that actually happens a lot.
Writers, in general have tough time. They need to struggle a lot. In this era of internet it is easy to send the writings to the publishers and to the magazines. There were days when the writers had to visit the publishers and go to them from door to door to submit their scripts. Time has changed and the miracles of internet have shrunk the world. Some writers are not very friendly with the computers so they face troubles. There is no one to help them. Sometimes they take the help of their grandchildren and ask them to type a story or a poem.
But who reads these days is a big question for a writer. People are losing the habit of reading. They try to find the answer of every question on internet. It’s easy, they think, but every knowledge on internet is not authentic. It was a factual surprise for me to know that the bookstores are closing down. A few years ago, an old bookshop at the Mall was closed and was rented out to someone to open cellphone store. Mobile phones replaced the books. No one knows what happened to the books, but everyone was keen to visit the store to enquire about the new models of cellphones. I hardly saw anyone there in the shop when it was a bookstore but now it remains thronged with the cellphone lovers. What will happen to the writers? Who will read our books? Every moment a thought or other comes to my mind and I wish to record it before it skips away. It could be used to my next story. But if the readers are missing then what is the future of my stories. People are ready to donate money for making temples but no one spends in creating libraries. They like to spend on expensive clothes but how much do they spend on books. I see people wearing torn jeans and to the matter of surprise to me this torn jeans sells expensive than the correct one.
The publishers are moving their business to online, a new phenomenon, or to self-publishing system. Writers find it better but it is no easy.
I have seen many writers making their own groups, organizations and societies. With them they organize their own literary festivals, meaningful sometimes. I prefer to minimize my attendance to these festivals. It is better to sit with the kids and share stories with them then going to these festivals.
Students must read other than their syllabus books. Improve the habit of reading. It releases stress and builds up confidence in you. The life is there ahead of you. Forget about the troubles that come your way. Nothing is permanent in this world. But the books will always be there. You never know which character of what story will start haunting you and become your friend, may be your best friend for the life and educates you how to live. Try to create a library at home and keep increasing it. Buy your own stuff if you really want to enjoy it and keep it around you, in your room. The company of books produces positive energy that keeps you going. Instead of spending six hour on gossiping around, spend at least thirty minutes, every day, on reading books and see how they change your personality.
Some oldies in Shimla, I meet them in bookstores, find them browsing through the shelves. They are always looking for good writers. Ranjit, the bookseller at the Mall tells me that their better customers are the old people than the young crowd. He is worried about this as he thinks that the future of book selling business is not very bright. He has started a new practice of throwing a phone call to his regular customers, whenever he receives a new publication.
For me it is never hard to keep a book with me. I like to read it again and again and reuse to lend it to others. When I travel, I carry a book or two with me. I may not get time to read them but their being with me keeps me thrilled. I love to talk about them with my fellow travelers. The discussion stretches and some new subject of the conversation comes up. I still have the books from my syllabus in my college. A few novellas, a short story book, some poems of some famous writers or a history book is still a part of my collection at home. I have read them many times and so they have been kept on the last shelf. Sometime when I bring them out, they bring some lovely memories of my past and my student life.
So it is time to read now and I stop this story here. Happy reading.