The man at the far end of the room sniffed the beer like a discerning wine lover and said knowingly “Made this morning, Zirakpur barley, plastic tap barrel, came by the Mohali flyover, AC failed on the way.”
Then he sipped into it, looked up at all of us with his white-froth moustache and exclaimed,“Aaaaaaaaaah!”
That was my first interaction with a senior at ISB Mohali, where I recently spent a weekend; where inspiration came at moments I was least expecting it, from sources I was least expecting it.
White Moustache set down his glass of beer and walked up to me. He was barely my height; I could see the top of his head all balding and shiny. He introduced himself. Told me his name, where he’d worked and for how long, and where he was originally from. I don’t remember the details, because I met too many people that weekend. I just remember him telling me he was a violinist. Then he asked me a question.
“Who are you?”
“I’m Ayeesha. I just got here from…”
“No. I mean, who are you?”
I figured he was a little tipsy from the drinking. I gave him my name again.
“Alright, Ayeesha. What is it that you do?”
“I’m an aspiring writer.”
He let out a huge sigh and sat himself down on the arm of the sofa in front of me.
“Here are the two states in which you may exist,” he said, holding up two fingers, “person who writes, or person who does not. If you write: you are a writer. If you do not write: you are not. Aspiring Writer is a meaningless null state that romanticizes Not Writing. It’s as ridiculous as saying, “I aspire to pick up that piece of paper that fell on the floor.”
Then he picked up some paper from the floor and held it up to me.
“Let’s try again. Who are you, Ayeesha?”
“I’m a writer.”