Apprentice for Life !

He was a writer, so typical of him. The constant flow of rejection slips didn’t add to his confidence. He knew there is something strange about writers. They can almost never get a decent pay-check at the end of every month unlike the Engineers, lawyers or even morticians. He wanted a father figure to guide him to be taken seriously. Thus, began his odyssey of searching for the man.

As if by luck, he bumped into him. A Deja-vu of sorts. You just realize when you find that someone. John, swiveling in his chair, his white mane neatly combed , a tie-knot cravat across his neck, he exuded intelligence, suaveness, discipline. The other writers praised his vainglorious nature all the time.

His intimidating nature dint help our young apprentice writer in the beginning. At times, he shot back telling “ Please do the honors of looking the words up in a dictionary, before submitting your literary piece”. Then used to be the sudden dip in the confidence and ego of the writer. Nevertheless, he learnt to learn. Writing is a craft, to be chiseled through constant efforts to express things sharply.

John expected the article to be in his desk every morning . No talk, ofcourse no excuses. He produced a scowl that mingled with disappointment which made one stammer and sulk in disgust. His stare, so formidable, made the writer to feel as if he is a speck in the immaculate farmland. But, he taught him to ask, to go beyond the screen, to have the spirit of inquiry. Odd it may seem, no one ever asked about John’s background or god-like status. He was just indomitable.

In fear and fascination he learnt the tricks of the trade. Afterall, the monstrous looking dictionary started teaching something to him. Most of the work went in pleasing John, and it was usual to spend an entire day just writing one paragraph only to throw it in the end. When John looked at it stopping his ritual of reading those ancient huge volumes, it sent a chill through the nerves. The highest comment he ever got through his tenure was, its ‘Readable’.

In the process, he learnt that writing was more than just words. The information is superficial, but there should be a symphony inside it which draws the readers and makes him feel good that he read it. Its a performance, wordsmithing.


He got a job in the top most bureau and he was a great success. He met John, after few years. The man he always looked upto. But John had just one thing to say “ I am not what you think I am. This has gone way too far. I had no clue what you were writing or talking about . I was doing odd jobs like washing, cleaning lots and then I entered this magazine. I was hopeless at this and had to go through same stuff 100 times. I had to look up for each and every word in the dictionary. The only way I could succeed was create a persona that cant be challenged. You were there. I helped you by setting you against yourself!!”

Caught in a spin, he looked thorough his piece of writing, it was awful ! So amateurish to break any writer’s heart. But it dint matter to him. For, knowing is one thing and believing is another. Some things cant be explained by any logic. John always remains what he always stood for.


Years after John’s death, the writer still not dare proceed without looking up for the word , if he doesn’t know. He still craves to write a piece which could have made John smile. He is still afraid of John’s scowl. It does not matter if John understood or not, but to him he was the greatest editor of all times. And, the writer remained an apprentice for life !


5 comments:

apoorva said...

Nice :)

Sushma said...

I cant help but feel insanely proud of you, Pri! You have grown so much as a writer, I have no words... you stole all my words away with this masterpiece :)

Priyanka said...

Thanks Sush ! :) I am humbled :)

Purba said...

Beautifully written Priyanka....And this stood out like a shining beacon "The information is superficial, but there should be a symphony inside it which draws the readers and makes him feel good that he read it. Its a performance, wordsmithing"

Priyanka said...

Thanks Purba :)

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