Friday, July 30, 2010

An appeal...

An appeal to (Indian) writers writing in english...

I'm writing this, not because I think I am eligible to criticize, and think I can do a much better job (maybe I could ;) ); but after having been disillusioned and disappointed by some recent works, especially the things (for the want of a better word) which go by the label of "fiction" (if it's a "youthful" story set in a college, beware!!! ), I am fervently praying that better times are to come, and that I no longer have to waste time or money on trash...

First of all, dear "authors", you need a story to tell. And if your story is just 3 lines : boy and girl like each other, they have a misunderstanding, they make up & live happily ever after, please donot fill 300 pages with pure drivel, just for the sake of making the book seem thicker - the chapters should carry the plot further, but then, when the plot is missing, you can't do anything but pout drivel...

FYI, students do study in colleges. Lectures do happen, and students do have an academic life - even if it is a novel, it is plausible and acceptable to say that students attend classes. And listen in them... There is no need to mention classes at all, if it is only mentioned as an obligation (it is set in a college, for God's sake!!!); or as the ideal situation for bringing characters together (what's a better conversation starter than a common nemesis??? )

And how many stereotypes do you need??? All Surds are for cracking jokes about? All tam-brahms are traditional? All bong girls wear tight t-shirts and shorts? Guys who study are "uncool" & boring? The 'coolest' gang can't be seen in class? There is a fine line between genuinely funny and crass...

Yes, we know. That sex sells, and so does SRK. We have heard it often enough. But that doesn't mean that it is the only thing on people's minds. It happens, but there is a life beyond. Why is it that most characters in 'fiction' (I don't know what to call it) are forever planning their next encounter / date? Or thinking about the last one. And please, we donot need 10-page descriptions (written in the style of a third-rate movie dialogue). Cut it out, please.

And if you can, please learn some spellings and grammar. Even "Indian English" has some base rules. Mixing hindi words with english (unnecessarily) does not show your 'mastery' of two languages, it often ends up sounding like you are trying too hard to sound cool, and know the 'in' things. Which is a sign of desperation.

Beyond all this, if possible, please create believable characters - like real people, instead of one-dimensional single-faceted zombies with a one-track mind... And who speak lines like in the actual world. (I remember some of the lines I have come across, wish I could erase them from my memory... it's like a bad aftertaste which refuses to leave my mouth)

The descriptions - you donot have to use your background for everything - describing physical appearances in civil engineering terms??????? Ugh!!! (Why do most books about IIT have atleast one 'Disco' episode?? Why do all college students swear every time they say something? Is it no longer possible to have a conversation without an f-word (maybe you feel great using them, of maybe you feel that the *'s used look like a design, or maybe you just don't have enough words in your vocabulary, and fill it up with trash) Why does every college student have to booze, smoke to be popular?)

Last, but not least, please write only if you do have something worthwhile to say... (Save paper and be eco-friendly if you can only rehash the same old trash)... And before you put your pen to paper (or your fingers to the keyboard, in the case of the techno-savvy 'writers' (ugh!) ); have you read some good books? (Not for plagiarising, but because they'll help you 'write' 'better' (they can only help you, they cannot create something that does not exist, as in a story when you have none). And if you do read good books, then why do you write like a digestive system - where all kinds of delicious and good things go in, only to come out as shit. Or is it a case of like-input-like-output???

All hope is not lost, there are still diamonds among the coals. Looking forward to finding a diamond (but what to do, trash is more common than a gem :( )

Disclaimer : This is my personal opinion. You don't have to share it or accept it.

p.s.: This is just about recent Indian writings in english. (Thanks to CB, every third person thinks he/she can write and we the readers are at their mercy - it's enough to put anyone off reading!!!) Not about books in general.


  1. frustration when in words could be so entertaining !!

  2. Good that you were entertained :) Wish I were too!!!

  3. I haven't read a better post than this in the past.
    Hope this appeal reaches the Ears......