I’ve had a history of never completing anything. During my school and college days, there was always some 5% of the syllabus that I used to skip, justifying my laziness with some really lame calculations of probability.
I didn’t complete my degree at IIT. (Thank God for that…I think…?) I didn’t complete my six-year relationship, which is to say she dumped me before we could get married or some other silly stuff. I started a novel – mostly based on my second relationship—reached 140 pages and then didn’t complete that either. Definitely thank God for that. Writing a novel soon after a breakup is a very bad idea. Self-pity is likely to feature as a prominent character.
This here is a zero budget music video / promo for my book. I’d suggest you watch the video before reading further:
Most characters and incidents in the flashback part of the video are non-fictitious and have every possible resemblance to someone dead or—no, more likely alive. It was me who had this fleeting encounter. And the girl—well, as the song goes, I never saw her again and I don’t remember what she looked like. And unfortunately, she was wearing a salwar-kameez, not a grey skirt—that’s where the fiction and the masala begin being poured over a real-life event.
If life were a romantic comedy film where the guy gets the girl in the end, I would have introduced myself to that girl. Who knows where that might have led? Unfortunately, real life is more 500 Days of Summer than My Sassy Girl (the Korean one).
The main reason I didn’t approach my bus stop girl was that I already had a girlfriend at the time and was highly loyal (didn’t help—she found another guy behind my back), so approaching a random girl on the street and asking for her number was absolutely out of the question. Her face wasn’t the fairytale-supermodel kind, but the impression that fleeting encounter made was so powerful it’s stayed with me all these years. It was almost as if I’d felt a wave of magnetic positivity emanating from that mysterious girl towards me.
I’ve occasionally wondered whether my life would be vastly different if I’d stopped to get introduced. Maybe it would be like one of those time-travel-butterfly-effect thingamijigs where my whole timeline turns out radically different. Instead of going toDelhi, I might have stayed back in Guwahati. I might have finished my degree and taken up a corporate job. I might have been somewhere in theUSor theUKinstead of Mumbai. I might’ve been thinking of quitting my job and getting into films instead of already doing them now. Who knows?
A couple of years ago, some website had a Valentine’s Day song competition. I wrote and composed a song about my girl at the bus stop and sent it. We didn’t win anything, but the song, In The Year 2002, turned out real nice. At the same time, I had also started working on film scripts, and I started thinking: what if I had actually tried to find my bus stop girl? How’s that for a story?
Although I’m loathe to admit it, I’m quite an emotional chap, and certain songs can practically move me to tears. A favourite example is Falling Slowly at the end of the film Once. As an amateur musician and composer, I thought I could use my bits of musical knowledge to write a musical story that would have the same emotional impact as my favourite songs. And yes, let’s combine this with the story of the search for the bus stop girl!
My original intention was to write a script that I could shoot on a next-to-nothing budget with friends and family. Once it was complete, I realized that it would get a lot more respect if it came out as a novel too. So I started writing it, and about a year after that, Chocolate_Guitar_Momos hit the stores.