The Ghost Writer

Patience has  never been my virtue. I was tapping my pen on the table as I watched the print-outs sliding out of the printer, one -by-one. When the last of the sheets came out , I literally grabbed it off the printer. The waiting over, I arranged the printed outs, 237 pages  to be exact and kept them carefully in a file. It was 1 A.M. Tired but happy, I looked at my dad’s photo on the table and smiled. For a moment, I thought he smiled back too. That photo of my dad was my favourite. I had kept that photo so that I will always be seeing him when he was in the best of his health and spirits..The photo frame which has his photo also has a penholder where I have placed his pens. The red fountain pen was his prized possession being a gift from his college professor and the yellow gold plated pen was my mom’s gift to him for his 50th birthday. He was a prolific writer, poet, lyricist, composer and a singer to  boot too. Unfortunately, none of the above had rubbed on me. I used to admire and adore him. He was my hero and my best friend too. We used to have late-night conversations during which I learnt about his childhood, the hardships he faced and other life’s little lessons. When he passed away, it was as if a part of me had gone forever.

My wife, while reading one of my diaries where I had jotted down my conversations with my dad, suggested I write something about him. I liked the idea primarily because I will be spending time with him again. The result was this 237 pages book. It was not a biography but a story with the protagonist based on my dad. One of friends who was into publishing, read the first two chapters and encouraged me to continue. And I am meeting him tomorrow to handover the completed manuscript. And it was for that I was sitting late night to get things ready for the meeting. There was a problem though. I had not yet finalised the title of the book. I had just left it for a last minute inspiration. But that inspiration was yet to happen. I was too sleepy to think about it and decided that the morning will come up with a solution. I straightened my 2 year old son was sleeping diagonally and kept his Keshu next to him. I hit the bed and the next thing I knew was the bright sunshine hitting my eyes. I got up hurriedly and brushed, showered, dressed in record time and dashed to the dining table. The delicious aroma of dosas was wafting from the kitchen and as if right on cue, my wife placed before me a plate of hot crisp dosas alongwith the usual accompaniments of chutney and sambhar. Nothing perks me up more than dosas and my wife was well aware of this. But today I couldnt do justice to those well made dosas because my mind was precoccupied with the title. The meeting was at 10 AM and it was 8:30 AM now and I had still not yet come up with the title.

But I had to start immediately to avoid the traffic jam and reach the publishing house on time. I didnt want to be late today. I just made a silent prayer hoping for the inspiration to hit me before I get to the meeting. It is  fine even if it strikes me when I shake hands with the guy to whom I am supposed to hand over the manuscript.

I came to my room to collect the final copy, my wallet, car keys and  other things I felt necessary for the meeting. I collected my jacket , wallet and my car keys neatly laid out on a side table. My wife’s job. She is so meticulous. I reached my table to collect the copy. I took the file and when I was about to turn I saw my dad’s red fountain pen lying on a paper on the table. I didnt remember using it last night. I took the pen to keep it back in its holder and  it was then I noticed something written on the paper. I bent down for a closer look and there in my dad’s neat handwriting was written – ” A journey called Life“.

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