Did I hear someone, anyone say “No! That cannot be the end!”?
(Let’s assume that someone did and this is not just withdrawal vanity on my part)
How do you end stories like AV and Kaveri’s? This has not been a story in the traditional sense at all, has it? (For instance, where was the plot?)
So here I am bringing it to a close at the peak of their relationship, with them standing at the brink of a duet that will be their life with all its scales and pitches, tempo and beats. There is, I admit, more I can write. There is, I admit, something I have not quite tied a bow on and wrapped up neatly. But for AV and Kaveri, this is where I would like to leave them. So may I please request you to indulge me and bid adieu. Will they get married? Of course. Will they have kids? Most likely they will. Will Kaveri ever get over her insecurities? Perhaps to some extent. Perhaps when she has a child she needs to raise with the right values and attitude. Will AV and Kaveri ever fight? He is high-handed and she is stubborn – and both of them are rather opinionated and have careers that thrive on giving others advice – Of course they will fight. Will they sing while they are each attending to domestic chores ten years from now – now that’s a loud resounding yes and THAT is what I’d like to keep with me as the curtains drop – I hope the thought brings a smile to your face too.
And now, for the rest of the Author’s Note…Be warned – I am sort of insane about the length of my wrap up thoughts.
Even before the story of the River took any shape in my head, the title had been handed to me by my sister. “I think you should write a story called “A River Runs Through It”,” she said and the idea just stuck. After that, it was just a matter of time before I could weave in one of my favorite names (Kaveri) with Varanasi and the Ganga – a place I’ve never laid eyes on and yet holds the biggest piece of my origins.
Well, I already did admit, there was no plot here. And boy, did that make matters so much worse than it had ever been! That this would be Kaveri’s journey was clear. That it would mirror the life of a River – starting from a hesitant stream to a loud, gushing force that takes the Ocean by a storm while meandering through the plains, finding itself, exploring the world around it – was a given. But the path I needed to carve out to make way for the chapters, was hazy especially after Books 1 and 2 were done with. Perhaps that explains why I had so much trouble keeping up with it.
I said it in my Preface and I don’t mind admitting that of all characters I’ve ever created, Kaveri holds the most of me. Her life experiences – most of them other than the romance – are versions of what I’ve seen / experienced first hand. When some of you found yourself frustrated with her – it was like an eye opener for me. Suddenly, my writing had the potential of therapy! What some of you said about her (while clutching at you hair, no less), seemed so simple and yet, I sat in awe like staring at the pieces of an emotional puzzle that had been lying in front of my eyes while I complained about being blind. For that – thank you. And for giving Kaveri your patience, more than anything else, I shall forever be grateful.
“Where can I find myself a man like AV?”
I might be overstating the frequency and yet this happens to be the most popular refrain about Arnav Varun here by the River. And yes, I know – he does sound too good to be true sometimes. BUT – this time, the attempt to create a wonderfully positive character, a “hero”, was deliberate. As wonderful and refreshing as flawed protagonists are, this version of Arnav was my attempt at trying to say “Why not?”
Confession: When I first started writing this story, Arjun didn’t exist. In fact in my first draft of the first two chapters, this character was named Aman! And I don’t know why I ever changed him to be called Arjun but I remember distinctly that my writing hastened the moment I did! What a journey it has been for him! What a swing in reactions he has witnessed!
That what I said about flawed protagonists – this one – as mildly chipped as he was for some time, was the soul of what I was able to dish out. Thank you, for everything you threw his way. He was what rescued the River from the lack of a plot that I so lament now.
What can I say about her? Short and simple – she’s an ode to the version I am fortunate to have in my life.
Shiv and Gayatri Gupta
There is so much I wanted to write about them. So much I did skim over that goes way deeper than I’ve managed to convey on paper. But here’s to parents! They are what make us, vices, virtues and all.
She was intended to be seen the way she was perceived by Arnav, Ti-Di and eventually Kaveri. Did she have a story? Of course she did. But the River, was never about that. She had a part to play – a rather important one – but she was never meant to become clearer than a distant hazy image. Thank you for allowing her to remain a shadow, initially looming large over the tale and eventually fading away into the distance.
Ti-di, J, Nishant, Divya, Raagini, Shyam, RDX, Mohan…even Tiwari – Thank you for your generous endorsement of the role they played. They had their moments and I loved every little bit of extra “affection” (for the lack of a better word) that came their way!
What would life be without Bollywood? What would my childhood have been without the woefully wonderful music and movies of the 90s? What would the world be without the genius of Rahman and Gulzar, the soulful notes of Sonu Nigam, the beautifully deep and vibrant sound of Udit Narayan and Kavita Krishnamurthy, the ubiquitous presence of Alka, Anu and Sanu in some of the best there is from that decade that I selfishly claim as mine?
Sookie / RockBarbie said in one of her wonderfully incomplete tale (I forget the name now) and I paraphrase – the 90s was a decade of movies that should have never been made and music that should never be forgotten – I don’t think I can find a more appropriate summary of my Wonder Years and the Bollywood in it.
Some of you asked me if the songs inspired the chapters or if it was the other way round. It was the chapters that came first. The only songs I always knew I’d use were Pyaar Hua, Behne De – these two I think of as the River theme of sorts – and O Saiyyan. Every other song was found for the chapter in question – some came easy, others not so much :)
Thank you all for singing along and adding to the list such wonderful gems of your own. If nothing else, the River was a great place to share music and what could be better!
There are so many songs that made it to the River that I cannot help but make-up a “Best of the River” album titled “Music & Lyrics”. Let me know if you agree with my selection. Of course, I’d be happy to know when you don’t!
However, the 90s (and other decades) have so much more to offer that I find myself still holding on to many pieces that “almost” made it to the story. Indulge me while I try to compose a list of those that didn’t make the cut and yet I can’t help but share. Hope you enjoy the “Distant Stream”
The Mix Tape
Thirty minute tapes, sixty minute tapes, ninety minute tapes, auto-reversible walkmans, audio shops that specialized in “recording songs” for a little price, music systems that could play one tape and record on another, re-recording over those song that fail to stay longer than a couple of weeks on Philips Top Ten, …Sigh.
The mix tape was almost a character in itself for a brief period of time by the River and somehow, that has come to be of some importance to me. Thank you for sharing that enthusiasm with such large heartedness
And now for the most important part of the end of a tale
I have been writing fiction A River Runs Throught It for almost three years. Writing has always been a joyful exercise and don’t get me wrong – I have enjoyed the River – but I now find myself frayed at the edges. I second-guess myself at every turn, I wonder if all of this has any meaning, I wonder if I am just another cliché now, I see other pieces par excellence and question the existence of paltry attempts that are mine, I worry that I have “tricks” and “tropes” that are beginning to be associated with me particularly…I guess what I am saying is that I am tired. Maybe it is the “FanFiction” angle that’s come full circle, perhaps six years was the extent of the sudden burst of creativity that I seemed to have stumbled upon – I cannot truly say. But here is where I think I want to say “The End.” Unfortunately, I said I was done with FanFiction after The Emerald Isle Tales too and ended up writing this (saga) for three years. So I understand if you receive this with skepticism. But I truly believe that it will take a special, different tale to bring me back to these names. C’est La Vie! It’s been a wonderful six plus years and THANK YOU ALL for being so so intrinsic to these moments that definitely go down as the best phases of my life!
Given that a certain someone “forced” me to write one small piece for her birthday, Trysts With Tripti is a beast with a beginning and hence right up top on the list of things I “need” to finish (Damn you, OCD). However, burn out rarely responds to coercion of revival. So, I am going to step out of my character and give myself a break. By that I mean that I will write Trysts of Tripti –
- As a collection of disjointed little pieces (please note the “little”)
- On a random schedule and irregular intervals (no planned updates – *deep breath* *clench fists*)
And because I am still me, I couldn’t have possibly not given you either the complete scene that the last part of the Epilogue was or the “Prologue” that it will be for Trysts of Tripti.
I give to you, my final offering of the River
Thank you all for all your love. Thank you for all the generosity. Thank you for being here and being the primary reason I find myself at the end of my sixth full length story. This has been the first tale where I have not worried about how many comments I have on the story or how many silent readers there are who don’t find it interesting enough to say something once in a while. And the less I worried, the more love I found. I cannot tell you how grateful I am for this very valuable lesson. At this last juncture, however, let me take a brief moment to be my selfish self. Whether you have written comments for every chapter in the last three years or said nothing at all, I urge you to “Say Something?” one last time here.
Thank you for everything!
Goodbye and Godbless
PS: This blog remains open to everyone till I have a painful enough reason to close it. All other blogs remain closed as before. (Let me take a small minute to say that I have no reason to be selective about access to my blogs – I can think of no criteria to include or exclude anyone. So my blogs are either closed to everyone or open to all. Please do not embarass me by promising to comment in return for access – I wish I had the talent to think that well of my work!)