Nightmarish Writing

Music, such music is a sufficient gift. Why ask for happiness; why hope not to grieve? It is enough, it is to be blessed enough, to live from day to day and to hear such music – not too much, or the soul could not sustain it- from time to time.

Fell into a disturbed sleep some nights before wondering what this meant.
These are the last lines of Vikram Seth's An Equal Music, which I just HAD to finish before I slept [imagine having only a hundred pages to go and you leave it for the next morning…].
No point getting to the last line; I didn't digest what it meant. What, he resumes playing, or is content with his ad jingles? I tried desperately to put it out of my mind. And slept.
Then the nightmare began. I couldn't understand what I read. No, not even the middle chapters of An Equal Music, that were so simply written. Not Upamanyu Chatterjee, RK Narayan… not even Enid Blyton! Not the usual stuff my nightmares are made of but just as scary.
2 am, I bolted out of bed looking for my inhaler; a sudden attack there, due to the shock of the nightmare and the cold weather.
I couldn't find it Anywhere, not on the bedside table or under my pillow, not the floor, nowhere!
Oh, thank god, I'd just snoozed off and that was just another nightmare; here is my inhaler, right in my pocket. *Whiff* *whiff* *cough*
I woke in the morning, and reached for The Bangalore Times [Excellent Sudoku, but little else to look forward to; maybe the never-wrong TV listings…].
"Today is Plain English Day" the cover page said.
Ah, thank god atleast someone recognizes my needs.

Epilogue:I read Vikram Seth again, and understood it perfectly. Just to make sure, I went through Upamanyu Chatterjee, RK Narayan and Enid Blyton and found no difficulties understanding what they said.
I believe verbosity is not a sin, as long as it conveys to your readers what you want to say. "Simplify and Unify" need not necessarily be the backbone of good writing 'coz reading isn't for timepass alone.
Currently reading Milton's Paradise Lost.

About wanderlust

just your average books-and-music person who wants to change the world.
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31 Responses to Nightmarish Writing

  1. NedSchneedly says:

    Gee…i am the first one on this post. Yeeeeeeeeeha!

    I couldn’t understand what I read.

    try understanding digital design and coa for a change. it might just get you a job.

    Not the usual stuff my nightmares are made of but just as scary.

    and what are they usually made of? Candy? Dental Floss? or are they plain pseudo again?

    2 am, I bolted out of bed looking for my inhaler; a sudden attack there, due to the shock of the nightmare and the cold weather.
    I couldn’t find it

    Ah…that’s a pity. I’d suggest a nebuliser session at padmavathi or alternatively a nice strong tot of brandy, straight. Kicks ass anyday. Expert advice. Tried and tested.

  2. Priya says:

    there you go again, on a mis-understanding spree
    you’re the first here? oh wowie! calls for a celebration, doesnt it?

    brandy doesnt CURE asthma, in case you didnt know. it just warms you up… you can have asthma even in warm weather, dr ned.

    “ah, that’s a pity”….that was a nightmare, in case you didnt notice.
    read carefully man, before you say anything about it.

  3. NOTY TONY says:

    must b the first time im commenting about ur post…um i think it was a bit too short for starters (may b olny coz i write stuff thts a little longer) n wat did u mean with all that?? donot read a 100 pages at nite?? i think simplify shud b the theme for ur writing…neways definitely not as gud as the salaam namaste review (late compliments but idefinitley take my hat off for tht piece)..cheers…keep writing 😀

  4. the Monk says:

    I agree with you completely…language has a purpose…But I love big words…and I absolutely love going overboard with them…look at masters like Saki…they used big words….but so brilliantly…

  5. As long as verbosity i not for the sake of it, its fine…TGOST for instance…Saki too. Big time fan of his!

  6. Anonymous says:

    I think you’re over-hyping UC here a bit. ‘English, August’ has the best first 100 pages by an Indian author in the recent past (this bars Arundhati Roy’s ‘The Algebra of Infinite Justice’ because that’s a collection of essays) but the rest of the book meanders into nothingness and more importantly – is a touch condescending.

    And Saki was not well known for verbosity. Contrary to what seems to be popular belief around here. For outstanding verbosity, read Victor Hugo.

    Amateur writers who like ‘big, big words’ often use them only because they have little to say or for impression. Simplify and Unify is a good way to write especially because reading may NOT be for timepass. A writer may want to help the reader understand what you mean to say. Try reading Kafka’s ‘The Castle’ sometime and you’ll understand the necessity for simplification. Though I’m not sure he really wanted too many people to understand him anyway. Probably the best example of simple, unified writing that gets its point across far better than any obscurantist idiot is Bill Watterson’s ‘Calvin and Hobbes’.

    I’ll agree with noty tony, by the way. A post far below your usual standards.

  7. Shashi Iyer says:

    hmm… pri, did the settings (for ur post ie) carry any significance to the point you made? and dont you think u’d have to give the writer some small space in trying to go back to the lines and attempt correlation? i dont suppose any writer would want his readers to think that his write ups are simply verbose. simply.

  8. Priya says:

    im not so sure about that… some ppl just want to appear verbose, coz verbose sometimes translates into wellread, learned and the like. some ppl are ignorant of the fact that their readers feel that they write from a thesaurus.

  9. Shashi Iyer says:

    @ priya: thats sad. coz anyone in the right sense of their mind would agree that it’d be a contradiction to simply be verbose, assuming that it made palatable writing. but does not understanding mean there is no matter?

  10. Priya says:

    the whole purpose of writing is to share ideas, isnt it? and if the reader does not understand what the writer is trying to say, isnt the whole purpose defeated?
    but on the other hand, maybe the reader who doesnt understand is not the intended audience of the writer…

  11. Anonymous says:

    Good response.

  12. i *totally* agree with the verbose part… been reading ‘A suitable boy’ for the last 6 months i think. Still I savour Vikram Seth. immensely. An equal music, I am not sure i understood the book well enough (i guess everyone of us understands the book in our own way. diff things mean differently to each reader and tht is why reading is a more personal enjoyment than watching screen adaptations).

    but the emotion of it, esp the ending, left me disturbed for more thn a week.

    p.s. jus a few more pages in A suitable boy… i’ll finish it before the new year after all.

  13. Priya says:

    nice to see you back here.

  14. NedSchneedly says:

    Just because you are not allowed to drink does not mean that it doesnt work. it works and i know it does.
    if it warms you then all the mucus that is clogging your bronchial tract(one cause for wheezing) melts and it works.

    You writing is so screwed up anyways i dont bother reading the whole thing. who cares if it is a nightmare. and hell its yours. not mine, idiot.

  15. NedSchneedly says:

    If you want verbosity and long meandering nothings, try Faulker’s Absalom Absalom. It has sentences that are like a page long and then at the end of each sentence/page, you have to stop and figure out what you have actually read.

    And about writing…
    but on the other hand, maybe the reader who doesnt understand is not the intended audience of the writer…

    a bad dancer blames the stage, eh?

  16. Priya says:

    if you can’t be bothered to read completely what i write, either DON’T READ THE THING AT ALL or DON’T BOTHER TO COMMENT, EITHER.

    check out family blogs, ned. half the time you wouldn’t understand what they are saying even; something like wandering into a film two hours after it started… you feel there’s some part you’ve missed. that’s not coz you are bad at comprehension, that’s coz being a part of the family is a prerequisite for getting to know what’s going on. that’s what i meant by intended audience.

    and i didn’t know mucus MELTS. is this your granny’s remedy or what?

  17. NedSchneedly says:

    Look, it works for me. I get to sleep. Are you pseudo enough to go on believing that it is not a remedy just because you arent allowed to try it. if so go ahead and remain fake by all means. not my problem. maybe its go to do with your upbringing.

    and who is your intended audience?

    Oh…yeah and by the way before i forget…FUCK OFF! there, that feels better now.

  18. Priya says:

    language,language on this page, you foulmouthed pseudo.

    and it isnt mucus on the airways, it is called PHLEGM. atleast read some 9th grade cbse bio textbook before you write out your prescriptions.

    as for remedies, i prefer to trust medical science over fermentation technology. just ‘coz im not a drinker does not mean im pseud.

  19. Anonymous says:

    just ‘coz im not a drinker does not mean im pseud.

    You’re still a pseud

  20. if bombastic words are used to hide the lack of knowledge then its a pity.
    otherwise,mmm… it merely takes time to figure out the actual meaning,by the end of which the joy of reading is lost!!
    coz sometimes it might be our shortcoming if we dont understand.
    however the main point of writing a piece and publishing it is to try and make the reader connect with ur clarity is a must.

  21. An objective that this post seems to have lost somewhere along the way.

  22. NedSchneedly says:

    If you know some much of bio, then why dont you go do medical. At least i dont have to accept the fact in public that, “yes…priya venkatesan is from my college” and then watch people sniggering and laughing at me.

    And yes, you are pseud anyway. about foul language – for foul people like you its pretty much the best. simple and gets the message across.

  23. Priya says:

    was that supposed to be hurtful?
    you never tire of saying things just for the sake of appearing smart and kewl and able to have the last word, do you, you pseud, you loser?

  24. er priya, who’s this ned?? looks like a real battle!!

  25. Anonymous says:

    Dear numbskull,

    For the love of all things human, please refrain from posting on other’s blogs. You’re boring,irritating and a major league pseud.

    That felt good.


  26. Priya says:

    and you are?
    your problem is?

  27. NedSchneedly says:

    No. That’s you. If you had any sense at all, you would stop writing the tripe that you write.

    And yeah…i see your comments on too many blogs that arent bad and some are actually good. Kepp your dirty paws to yourself.

  28. Anonymous says:

    I agree. Your writing is nightmarish. (y)

  29. Anonymous says:

    please come up with some more absolute tripe. its getting a little too boring not having something to trash.

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