Write page 57 of your 300-page autobiography.
An excerpt from the upcoming bestseller "The Minstrel's Lair" by the Booker Prize winning author who refuses to reveal her true identity- Minstrel Incognito. Arriving at your nearest bookstores very very soon!
cover photograph: Bigde Nawab
cover design: Minstrel Incognito
...and there I sat with the monitor staring at me. The publisher's advance check stared at me and taunted me. When I had signed the dotted line for 300 pages of regular rubbish, I hadn't thought it would be this hard. Giving the world, my readers a peak into my daily life was not an easy task. I revelled in the enigmatic aura that I had built around myself. Opening the door was the toughest part. Well, since my editor will make my life miserable if I don't make any headway into this, let's move on!
My life as the centre of attention and the apple of everyone's eye had become a habit by now. I enjoyed the attention and loved being pampered. And then one day everything changed. It started the day I had gone shopping with my parents and my mother fainted. I was worried, it's not everyday that 6 year olds see their mother faint in the middle of the road! Bollywood masala had attuned me to fear the worst about everything. Mom had just come back from Libya a few months back and I had been very excited to be with her again. But then this happened. Heading home, I was so nervous and scared I couldn't breathe. And I was so angry with my dad and mom for being so freakin' calm about this and not telling me what's wrong! In complete cinema ishtyle I paced the length of my room as Mom went to the hospital with Dad. They came back grinning from ear to ear and I was frustrated because I didn’t know what was going on.
18th July, 1995- I saw my Dad waiting for me outside the school gate and I instantly knew something was up. We went to the hospital together and I entered the room in which my mother lay. My 3 month-old cousin was sprawled on the bed next to mom’s googoo gaing me and holding out her chubby fingers. I grinned at her and hugged her. With nervous excitement I then walked towards the crib on the other side of mom’s bed. There was a white little bundle of cloth inside. Peering closely I saw that the bundle had a face with a mouth that was open and searching for something and eyes that were tightly shut like a little puppy’s. My Dad looked ecstatic and proudly lifted the bundle and handed it to me. I was all excited- MY SISTER! I held the tiny little baby in my hands and peered into her small cute face. I was so happy! And then the tiny face contorted and the mouth opened wide and a siren rang out! The thing was wailing like I was an axe murderer! I handed her duly back to my ecstatic Dad and I said “ye kya hai? Kitna rota hai! Mujhe nahi chahiye!” (What is this? So much wailing! I don’t want it!)
And I trod back to my happy little cousin who was still all googoo gaga! Atleast this thing knew how to smile, I liked it better! (Okay I’m literally writing in the moment! No offences to the “things” in question! Both of you rock!) She came and she took all the attention away. All my relatives now fawned over her, I was angry, rather than the apple of everyone’s eye, I felt more like the banana peel. I glared when asked about how excited I was about my sister! I went like blah!
And then again it all changed one fine day. (These change vale days do seem quite frequent in my life eh?) Mom was busy in the kitchen, Dad was at work. I decided to check out what the hype was all about for myself. “The thing” lay on the mat in the sitting room rattling some silly chan-chan crap! I crept slowly upto her and then peered into her face again. A toothless grin from my then-nemesis left me spellbound. Her little fingers grabbed my thumb and I sat still, proceeding with caution. I didn’t know what to do next and waited for her next move wary of…
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