I don’t know about you but I am quite well-known for putting the cart before the horse. When I was Manager (we were called Agents in those days!) of the Coonoor (Nilgiris) Branch of State Bank, I used to travel with my young kids in the hill train. The train will be pushed up by the engine from behind the coaches. I would point out to my critics that putting the cart before the horse was sometimes an unavoidable necessity and cite the example of the Nilgiri trains. You may wonder why I am bringing the cart and horse business all of a sudden. This is only to confess that I have this habit of titling my blog before I even have a subject to write about! Those of you who are familiar with Tamil cinema would not have forgotten Thangavelu who poses as a famous writer to his gullible wife in the film ‘Kalyana Parisu’ while in reality he cannot write a single word, let alone a story! A friend of mine was always obsessed with the idea that there was a writer in him and that he must get him out soon and introduce him to the world. He bought a hundred page note book and came to us seeking our good wishes before he started his story. A member of the club asked him if he had a short story in his mind or a novel. When he indicated his desire to write a novel, the member told him to buy a thousand page note book if had a novel in his mind for anything less than that could only be a short story. Another friend advised him to use the forty page note book that he had to write ‘Sri Rama Jayam’ before he started on his marathon novel. There was a subdued laughter on hearing this suggestion. When we asked him what kind of novel he had in his mind, he said that he targeted mainly critics because a good word from them would catapult his novel to glory. The ‘Sri Rama Jayam’ friend asked him if he planned to hire the critics, there was subdued laughter again. My heart bled for the aspiring writer. I know how the desire to write something without having any idea about what to write is a scourge worse than cancer. It first gnaws at our heart and slowly spreads to the other parts of the body. The only area that it doesn’t reach is the head! I never cease to feel amazed at the deal that Sage Vyasa struck with Lord Ganesha to be his scribe. Ganesha agreed on the condition that Vyasa should never stop the dictation even for a second. When Vyasa agreed, Ganesha broke his tusk to write the epic Mahabharat! During the last Ganesh Chaturthi, I saw an image of Vyasa dictating the epic and Lord Ganesha slamming it away on a keyboard! As I struggle to find a subject to write about every time after I give a title to my Rambling, I think about the people who created a masterpiece on their very first attempt. People like Jane Austen (Sense and Sensibility), JK Rowling (Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone), Khaled Hosseini (Kite Runner) never fail to inspire me to operate my keyboard with one finger and one eye! “It may be unfair, but what happens in a few days, sometimes even a single day, can change the course of a whole lifetime"writes Khaled and I say Amen! After all, what I write is about some incident or other during my long march through life! They may not be enough to inspire a magnum opus but they provide good background for a Rambling. The friend who bought a hundred page notebook to commence writing if an inspiring thought strikes him is no laughable subject. Right now, he has plots of stories that he had heard from his grandma but it is not unlikely that he may hit the jackpot one day. There is no graduation process in writing. Just start typing and don’t forget to read it yourself first! I always laugh a lot when reading what I have written because a friend once advised me that if the writer found his subject boring, then he must close the subject and sleep it off. Laughter, he would say, must begin at home like charity. I recall an extract of Wodehouse that goes like, ‘At the age of eleven or thereabouts, women acquire a poise and an ability to handle difficult situations which a man, if he is lucky, manages to achieve somewhere in the later seventies.’ No one states facts of life better than he does. I am in my mid seventies and I am waiting for that stage in my life!