Nisha never wrote about people she knew, though the prospect was tempting. There was too much mental baggage associated with them. For one she felt guilty about exposing their innermost thoughts. Conclusively she felt presumptuous in gifting herself the status of mind-reader. Most of all she was plain scared of how her inspirations would react. If they identified their literary counterparts, egos might be bruised. If not, she might doubt the accuracy of her portrayals.
To skirt these bumps, Nisha decided to rely on imagination. Her characters would naturally be based on experience-- nothing is born out of vacuum. But she would never mould any purely according to someone in real life. It was difficult, crafting complexities where memory was forced to take a backseat. Difficult not to get carried away down the familiar streams of character analysis. But she did it-- spinning layers are after layers, interchanging and rearranging them till the final result was always a perfect fit…
And because they were so completely hers, Nisha loved them passionately. Much like a first-time mother who can’t get over the magnitude of her tremendous feat.
Whoever read Nisha’s stories was deeply impressed. Especially by the characters. Readers found them so full of subtleties; yet larger-than-life, dramatic. The general sentiment was-‘Each character is quirky and entirely convincing at the same time. We would gladly lose ourselves in the maze of their mannerisms and secret thoughts.’
So Nisha was hailed as a genius all set to redefine the boundaries of creativity. She was gratified, and revelled in the world moulded by the sheer pulsating force of her whirlwind mind.
But secretly, she ached to see some more honesty flow from her fingertips.
‘You may be a genius, but you don’t have balls’, her soul whispered from time to time. ‘What more do your stories generate than a temporary intoxication? Glamour can do that too. Your readers would be equally taken with a palace-chandelier or a Pashmina shawl.
Convincing and sincere are not the same thing, my little escapist and until you’re sincere you’ll never disturb them.'
That’s what she wanted to do, really. Disturb them. Burst their bubbles with an ugly plop. Stab the cushions she piled around her stories. Reach into the fresh wounds and tear out great hunks of cotton wool- scatter them over the world and watch faces wrinkle up in disgust. No one likes rain that refuses to go pitter-patter on the window pane. But people do have a grudging respect for honesty- a respect she craved.
Did Nisha listen to that voice? No. She didn’t even turn it into a character, in case she was forced to recognize herself.