northern lights

northern lights

Monday, 26 March 2012

Producing a book.... back stage drama

Today I am an author.My maiden book 'Reverse Gear' was released last month.  How did this happen! How at the age of 76 I conceived and produced  a book!! How could I complete this voluminous task!! After all, I was  just raw and had never ever in my dreams thought that one day I too will be a part of  the band wagon  of writers. Once  you get into it, there is no stopping you.It becomes a craze, a passion and a fad. This mania of developing and producing something is so overwhelming  that one  cannot  wriggle out of it.
  Soon after retiring from active service one gets a feeling of becoming useless, good for  nothing .A waste, which has been discarded after years of  slogging, and   labouring hard. I also had  my share of such emotions engulfing me for sometime.But  soon  such thoughts were driven away.Every one young or old, my friends, ex colleagues and  family prompted me to write. 'You are an educationist' and 'you must write' was the 'advice' given  by one and all. These words were merely  words for me. They refused to  make any imprint on my mind. Years rolled by and with the passage of  time all  this was  forgotten and erased from memory. 
It was the month of May 2011. The children were away during their vacations. Time was literally hanging.The bubbling and effervescence of the gay laughter of the kids was missing.My son,who was home convalescing after a brief illness suddenly repeated the long forgotten advice and said,"Mom why don't you write something?"These words struck a chord in me! Within five minutes I spontaneously started writing. This is what I wrote then and there."Today when I am in evening of my life past memories are flashing on the screen of mind like video clippings.Something within me is prompting me to write something about myself, my near and dear ones, my friends  and my colleagues."Thus  the foundation  was laid for me to pen my thoughts. Then there was no stopping me. Letters, words and sentences started pouring out  on the 'real' screen of my computer. Incidents, events and  happenings  which I never thought about, gushed forth effortlessly. The problem was not in marshaling the facts but in putting them in their proper slots and perspective. When  this was surmounted, another dilemma cropped up, What to be junked and what to be taken on board.Writing became a passion. My mind was always engrossed in my manuscript. Sometimes in the middle of the night  a thought  would  surface  and I  was unable to  resist the urge to  pen it down immediately.Within a period of three months I had  jotted down  more than fifty thousand words; words which were concealed and lying dormant within  the folds of my subconscious mind,became a reality and appeared in black and white in front of my eyes.
        Whatever came to my mind was reflected in  page after page.It was  now  time  to edit the manuscript. By this time every member of the family was  involved in this project.All the paragraphs were arranged  and categorised  under appropriate  headings. Editing is  a very important  task ,which requires the eyes of a hawk ,to be able to detect  all aspects of  the script.Checking  fullstops, commas and semi colons seem to be simple task initially but as I proceeded it was a gigantic  task.Whenever I read the text, some omission was noticed. Quite often I read the text loudly so that mistakes could be  pin pointed .Each word, each sentence, each paragraph, and each section was minutely  checked.I fell in love with the'book'and nurtured it like a baby. The irony is that inspite  of all this scrutiny the  end product could not escape a few glaring  mistakes! I consoled myself  that being a novice  I had not acquired nuances of writing and editing. Moreover, I had  not written the book for sale or profits. All this took more than a month.
          Now I had reached a stage, when  a title  had to be conferred on the book. Every one suggested a title, but no unanimity could be reached. 'My Memoirs', 'Twilight Remembrances' 'Fusion of the  South and North' and many more titles were considered and rejected.My husband  suggested 'Reverse Gear'. Instantly  and unanimanously it appealed to one and all. It was  the most appropriate  title for a book authored by a seventy six year old! Delving into the past with an unmatched alacrity and briskness seemed to be like driving   smoothly and effortlessly in reverse gear.. Now came the question of  designing the cover. My daughter-in-law came forward to  get the cover designed.The co-operation  and  involvment  of the whole family was over whelming.My grand children came forward  with a foreword for Reverse Gear. I had reached the last and the most important stage of getting the book printed. It was a hazardous but rewarding task.Finally the task was accomplished  and saw the birth of Reverse Gear.