By the end of that year, I knew I had to get out of this nine-to-five cycle, if I wanted to write. It was a toss-up between my dreams and financial security. I had this idea of a novel running in my head. All I wanted to do was write it in peace, away from the grinds of daily routine, away from deadlines, deliveries, feedbacks, fixes.
I was already buying the books that I thought I needed for researching the background of my novel. Now, all that remained to do is read up on backgrounds and write the novel.
“After much soul-searching, I took the decision.”
After much soul-searching, I took the decision. I was worried about surviving but I wanted to give my dream a fair shot. I put down my papers at office and started serving out my notice period.
I remember it was a Monday morning, and I was preparing the files of an ongoing project that I needed to share with the team for knowledge transfer that day. When I got a call from the Mailroom I was a little surprised. I had not ordered anything in the last few days. And I did not remember anyone telling me of anything that they had couriered to me. And I am not the person who gets lots of surprise gifts.
In the mailroom, I signed for the courier and collected it. Who does it turn out to be from? My kid sister.
* * *
I do not write about her much because she is so much a part of my life, that writing about her seems an impossible task; maybe because I still doubt that I am a good enough writer to describe what a great sister she is. She happened in my life in the most unexpected way at the most unexpected time.
She was that most beautiful surprise that life offered me at the most unexpected moment, making me believe in an all merciful power looking over us, that most beautiful surprise that made me forgive all the nasty stuff that life has pulled on me before and instead made me feel kind and humane towards all other beings.
She makes me humane and human, makes me feel kindness and empathy. She makes me believe, in myself. She was a little angel who accepted me as her brother, and I realized that I am not as damned as I thought before, or as evil as I was accused of being by others. Her presence made me believe in the power of love, and my ability to love someone. She built in me the ability to love. After loving and caring for such an amazing kid, you start caring for everything and everyone. In the light of her faith, I lost my dark outlook. Her love and loving her made me a person that could fall in love with a very special person.
* * *
Seeing the parcel was from her, I was already smiling and hurrying to my desk.
Once I opened it, what do I find? Lying inside, well wrapped was a book. No, not just any book. It was a book that I needed to understand the geographical background for my novel. Unfortunately, the book had gone out of print some years back. I had tried bookstores, secondhand sellers, online sellers but all in vain.
I must have mentioned it to her, about my futile attempts, and also how important that book is for my writing. That was a few months ago. In my hand was now the same book. She remembered it. She remembered it even though she was busy with her studies and had her hands full with her exams.
In spite of all that, she had found that out-of-print, unavailable book for me. I could not imagine the time and effort she must have spent in getting that book for me, not to mention the monetary cost. Later, when I insisted, she only mentioned that she got it from abroad. All this because my little sister wanted to support her brother’s writing dreams.
“What touched me the most was her belief in my dream.”
Even more than her efforts, what touched me the most was her belief in my dream. Writing has been mostly a lonely dream for me. But her trust in my dream, her willingness to go to great lengths to support my writing — I never knew what to tell her, how to tell her how much it meant to me. At that moment, I stopped worrying about how I will manage expenses and live; I knew I just needed to write.
I am still working on my novel. But I also write the occasional short story and send it out to magazines. But no matter, what I am working on, I keep that book right in front of my eyes, on my writing table. Anytime I am packing to travel, the first thing I put in my laptop bag is that book, then the laptop and the charger.
And every time I get a rejection email — which is almost too often — I just pick up that book, hold it for some time, sometimes read a couple pages, and then I feel that same surge of emotions I felt when I got it. I feel how my writing dreams are not just a castle-in-the-air, but they have strong foundations in my kid sister’s faith. That I can withstand any tsunami of rejections to continue writing. I start writing again.
One day soon, I hope to put her name in the dedication page of my book. And I want her to know again that I would always support her completely in her pursuit of her dreams.
* * *
Aalooran Rahman Bora is now located in the city of Bangalore in India. His writing has been published in Berfrois and Muse India, and he is working on his first novel and a bunch of short stories. The original version of this essay can be found on his blog: http://aalooran.blogspot.in/.