A Classic Case by Nusrat Osama Aug 6 2012


Today, like any other day for the past two years, I am sitting like a dumb in front of my laptop. My fingers have barely moved over the key-board for the past hour. It is a futile attempt at writing the book I have been wanting to since I left job after retirement.

Writer’s Block

It is a beautiful day, although it is July yet the temperature has fallen considerably after the heavy downpour the night before. I am sitting on the balcony of the 19th floor of a residential condo where I am staying with my daughter. My daughter has gone to work, her husband is busy with his photography project. I look down below, the shanty houses of the workers who dwelled there were removed a day before as construction of another high-rise condominium has resumed. A little away from the street the greenery of the thick rainforest, typical of Kuala Lumpur, give a soothing effect to my eyes. Tired of watching the greenery, I try to concentrate on my writing.

Despite my full concentration, I am unable to write a single sentence. I know a lot of writers have confessed of something called writer’s block. Am I too a case of writer’s block? I have been combing my thoughts and trying to build a plot of the book for the past two years. It appears that there is a barrier between my thoughts and words. The book I intend to write will help me in soul searching and whispering loud about myself, my likes and dislikes, people who matter to me, things I have done in life, the decisions I have made, my successes and achievements, my regrets and failures.

My past was eventful. There were times when I struggled and times when I was happy. Instances that led to further struggles and happenings that sometimes brought tears of joy and at other remorse and despair.

I remember I was very dainty as a child. I hated dust on furniture, anything as small and thin as a hair on my bed or anywhere around my workplace would make me nauseated. If by some chance I discovered a spare part of an insect floating in my plate I preferred going without food that day. My books and school bag would be immaculately in order.  I was not only good in studies, I used to be the monitor of my class and the teacher’s pet too. As a child I was scared of darkness, scared of guns and pistols to the extent that even if somebody pointed a toy pistol at me I would shriek, and blood too. At the mere sight of blood oozing from wounds I would swoon.  At home I was more a pet of my father than my mother. My mother doted on my older sibling and the elder of my two brothers. They were the apples of her eye and she could barely see beyond those two. My childhood was like anybody’s. But then??

They say there are skeletons in everybody’s cupboards. These skeletons unnerve us, make us sad, scare us and sometimes shatter our faith. I had a happy childhood. What happened later changed the course of my life. The skeleton in my cupboard keep peeping through the keyhole.  I want to talk about it, write about it, get it off my chest and feel light. But there are people who would be hurt, people who might not like what I write, yet I feel the urge to go for it.

I cannot write something that is not true, something that I did not feel, something I did not do. In order to go ahead I must come to terms with my past. I would have to ignore the feelings of a lot of people, close my eyes to what some may say. Unless I find the courage to speak openly without mincing words I cannot do justice to my work. There are questions that require answers from my experiences as to why and what I did. Whether my moves were correct or not, what were the consequences that led me to those moves. How do I measure upto the expectations of my loved ones. Did I fall short? If yes?  Where and Why? I know unless my soul searching is complete and unless I unlock the doors to my memories I cannot start the book, because the book is about me and my life.

The sun is rising and so is the day’s temperature. I close my laptop and pick it up to go inside as I have been doing the past several days. Once again I have failed to make a head-way, but I know one fine day I will.


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