Self-pity with everything

Fay Weldon said, nothing happens, then nothing happens, then everything happens. This January and the past week I have been making up for two years of inactivity (At least as far as the writing goes.) Suddenly there has been a flurry of emails and phone calls asking for my deathless prose. And I am astonished. All this while, I had lulled myself with a ye sab maya hai. But apparently not. There is somewhere in the real world people who are willing to pay for words. Even though it is at the rate of Rs 1 per word.

Shocked? That is the rate, I recently found out, that even big publishers are paying for commissioned pieces. (I can see you leaning back in your swivel chair, saying, what crap, I know people who get paid better than that. Sure you do. People who write documents for Adobe or Google or Yahoo. Er...not that kind of writing, yaar. Oh you meant Vikram Seth. Well then, darling, I will see you in Jaipur next year.)

So...say they call you up and ask for an adventure story for 10 year olds or an essay for adults who read like 10 year olds. The best-case-scenario is that you are inspired and sit down and do one perfect first draft and then do a quick clean up and you are done in a day. But that is the best case scenario. What is more likely that you dawdle around the house convinced that this is never going to happen and spend a minimum of one week sweating blood. Then you mail off your 1000 words that ring like crystal even to your tone-deaf ears. And you get paid Rs 1000 for it. Imean that next year when the book comes out you will get Rs.1000 for it. Mmm.

MP wanders around the country because of her work. When she comes back home she stays in bed for a week. This might be exhaustion but mostly I think its truth-fatigue. This was one of her stories. Around 10,000 children (mostly under the age of ten) and an equivalent number of women working in Jalandhar produce Rs 50 crore worth of foreign exchange every year. Footballs actually. They stitch footballs by hand. The average seven year old being the inefficient, lazy sod that he is can make only two footballs a day. So he gets paid Rs 6. Three rupees for each ball. Mmmm.


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