This is the set of standard questions from colleagues and friends. How come you write often ? When do you get time to write ? Why do you write ? What makes you write ? How do you choose topics to write ? and the like.
These questions have been asked for some considerable number of times and I thought it would be useful ( ?? ) for readers to know my views on these. Let me try and answer these one by one. If you think this to be self promotion, that is the last thought on my mind. However a word of caution : It would be better for readers to have the Indian political scene in mind while going through some of the answers.
So I have decided to clear the doubts and show the path of eternal writing to upcoming writers ( what modesty, you see !)
How come you write often ?
Well, frankly, I don’t have nothing much to do after office. Either I read or I write. My children have found out that it is not of any use for them to get help from me for their home work assignments. So, they rather undergo the pain of doing their home works all by themselves rather than explain me what they need done for their home work assignments. And the spouse has resorted to ‘silence’ having seen her throat go dry after trying to cajole me take up some household chores. I think she has decided to leave me in peace like my children – euphemism for ‘there-is-no-use-talking-to-you-so-I-rather-do-the-work-myself’.
Don’t you watch TV ?
Yes, I am an avid TV watcher – when it is switched off. The TV looks great when switched off. Even it sounds great too when switched off
How do you know the News then ?
Internet is the great provider of information. Anyways TV news analyses have become the ‘four-boxes-that-shout-at-each-other’ episodes. So you avoid these analyses and thus become wise.
.Don’t you go to movies ?
No, the movies decide to move out of the theatre once I decide to go for a movie. I usually take around an year to decide to watch a movie.
When do you get time to write ?
I start writing the moment I wake up ( I want to say that. But that is not true). I write during my MRT rides ( Train rides to and from office). I am usually the odd man out in the train when the whole of the compartment scratches its phones playing ‘Temple Run’ and ‘Angry Birds’, I use he phone to write my piece. If in case of Tamil ( www.amaruvi.com ) I write in a note book.
Don’t people look down upon you in MRT because you write in a train ?
It is an offence to write on the walls of the train and not in one’s smartphone. Anyways nobody notices anybody in Singapore trains as they have the daily scores to attain in ‘Temple Run’.
How do you get the topics ?
For this you need to overhear conversations in Kopitiams or Taxis. And while in a Taxi, you should allow the driver uncle to speak. And you get a wealth of information ranging from NASA Space Launch to India’s Mangalyaan Mars Probe to HDB prices.
For topics on India, you just need to read the ‘Tamil Murasu’ in Singapore. It would contain, from cover to cover, news from India – especially Tamil Nadu. If you thought that the paper was from Singapore, think twice. It is from Singapore for people in Singapore about Tamil Nadu and India, containing detailed information on the latest gossips about Tamil film heroines.
How do you write humor ?
Very good question. It is actually simple. Do a random search on Rahul Gandhi and Karunanidhi. Go through some of their speeches. And you get material for two years. Rahul’s speeches would remind you of Thomson and Thomson of Tintin series.
Why do you write in Tamil ?
Because I don’t know Mandrin. Writing in Tamil makes me read Tamil books – especially scholarly material usually not known to general Tamil speaking populace. National Library Singapore is the culprit here. They have all kinds of scholarly material that are not available even in Tamil Nadu.
What makes you write ?
The abundance of comedy around me.
What differs between your Tamil and English posts ?
Language. Other than that, there are serious topics in Tamil while in English it is not so serious. That is because Tamil language writing has seen its nadir due to the influence of parochial and regional biases and that needs to be straightened up. See the burden of responsibility on my shoulders 🙂
Who are your readers ?
English posts have a wider audience especially from India and the USA. Tamil posts get more visits from Sri Lanka, Singapore and USA. Slightly titillating topics in Tamil draw readers from Tamil Nadu.
What do your readers do after reading your posts ?
Probably would be banging their heads on the nearest walls. Generally readers who read my Tamil posts unfriend me in Facebook.
How are you sure you have got readers ?
Misfortune happens to every one. And getting to read my blog is one such. Suddenly you stumble upon a post of mine, read it and then look for the nearest lamp post to bang your head against. Happens in life.
Do you read Tamil stories ?
No. I want to remain sane. I avoid novels.
Could you tell a recent humour that you have had ?
There is this dental surgeon who has had his Masters in Dental Surgery from India. He is in Singapore for his Ph.D. It seems he cannot practise as a dentist but is qualified to teach undergraduate dental students. Humour such as this is available everywhere. One just needs to listen to people speaking.
What would you do if , one day, all humour ideas dry out ?
I always keep a copy of Congress Party’s election manifesto handy. That is better than a P.G.Wodehouse novel. Just in case that doesn’t tickle my humour muscles, there is this manifesto of the Communist Party of India. Words such as ‘proletariat’, ‘ masses’, ‘bourgeoisie’ tickle me to no end.
Why do you think you are capable of advising others on writing ?
When Rahul Gandhi can aspire to become the PM, why can’t I advise on writing ?