Swans might be able to predict or choose their death. Before dying, they sing. For most of their lifespan of 12 years to 30 years, these monogamous birds remain mute. When they sing, it is their last rendering. Perhaps that’s why it’s so sweet. Humans term it as ‘swansong’ and apply it to the humans. The last creations of artists, may be a song or a story or painting or rendition is called their swansong. And a swansong is supposed to be the best rendering.
In case of humans however, there first creation is often found as the most beautiful. It’s the time when they haven’t achieved recognition and they try their best to create a piece of art that mesmerises their audience. Once the fame bug bites, it dampens their spirit of struggle and the magic touch is somewhat lost. At that moment, they forget that their swansong has to be the sweetest to leave a lasting impression.
The Writer’s Handbook published every year used to carry a quote: A writer writes a piece first for his own pleasure, then for an audience and then for a pay cheque. The quote sounds so true. Whenever someone wants to write down something, it’s the pleasure of writing that pushes him or her to the table and to pick-up the pen. But when that writing sees its publication and finds its share of audience and applause, the sting of famesinks into skin and further writings often miss the magic touch.
I got stung 32 years back when a long letter written to the Tribune was published as an article. That was year 1988. My joy knew no bounds. I was showered with love and appreciation. Thereafter, there was no looking back. I wrote more pieces and The Tribune published many of them regularly. In 1991, as I researched a technical subject and piled up extensive notes, I thought of writing a book. The notes were rearranged, the gaps checked, further researched and the manuscript began to take shape. Then the day arrived when a published copy of the book was in my hands. It was something incredible. The publishers termed it as the pioneer book on the subject. I was on the seventh heaven.
More books followed. Writing of articles for The Tribune continued, published as lead stories on the Science Page. By the year 2005, I lost count of my published articles. In the year 2006, I began a series of Building tips called ‘Ground Realty’. It continued for 15 years till Corona virus pandemic halted it along with all other supplements.
Lounging in my chair, I brood over my long writing journey. I had my share of eminence, ‘my pound of flesh’ like Shylock in this unequal world. But the urge to write remains. It has become my passion.
And now, as I give finishing touches to my most ambitious project, a 400 page novel in English, I ask myself: ‘Will it be my swansong?’ But I don’t know. Nobody can know. Next thought is to make it read like my swansong, having a lasting impression. And the spirit of making more of effort sets in!