"What are you writing about," He leaned from behind and whispered into her ear. The sun had almost turned red and the evening chill was setting in. He caressed her back slowly to the nape.
"About the plumber you can see down there..." she pointed towards the window without looking at him.
"What about him?"
"Well..." she was almost beginning to describe that she paused, smiled and said, “nothing much. Just some trivia.”
“Such as?” he insisted.
She took a moment to decide what part of the narrative she wished to share. Then she casually said, “this afternoon he came home to fix the geyser. Upon finding his pen to be leaking, He asked for one. I couldn’t find one in the house. He then looked around, took off a broom stick and dipped it in the leaking ink. And finished his work.”
“and… that’s it.”
“Why do you write about such mundane, trivial things? You are such a good writer. You have studied journalism from the best college in the city. Why do you not write about important events… significant people? Stories that really matter?”
“So you mean that stories of those plumbers fixing our leakages, housewives cutting onions, a banker dispensing cash day in and day out… these and many such stories don’t matter? How do people and events become important even before they are written about? And if they are already significant, why to write about them? How do we know if a story matters or not even before it’s written, Shashank?”
“Well, who is going to read about these people doing their routine activities?”
“Well I write about common people doing common things with common sense, which is not routine these days you see,” she laughed. She added when she her laughter had turned into a gentle smile, “is being read the only purpose of writing?”
“Ah! well, what else then?”
“What if I tell you that I don’t write to be necessarily read?”
“Then what’s the point?”
“of your writing?”
“why there has to be a point? What’s the point of having a point?”
“well, it gives us the motivation, no?”
“When did I say I need motivation? Don’t I write anyways?”
By now Shashank had moved himself away from Aarti and was lying besides her; his back on the bed and eyes on her face. He longed for that reassuring smile on her face, just to tell himself that he is still in the conversation. She, like always, did smile to offer him that much needed solace and continued, “The goal. Something that we can aspire to achieve. The meaning of life and our actions. The outcome. The result. And the end to the stories we narrate, in books and in our lives. We all desperately long for that illusive end. And when it comes, we mostly remain unsatisfied. We crave for another outcome.... chase for another goal and look for another end. That’s when I ask, ‘what’s the point of it all?’”
The sun was gone.The sky was still red though. Bombay doesn’t get very cold even in late December. Why was he shivering then? Thought, Shashank. Arti turned towards him and gently kissed his palm.
“Hence I mostly write... for the sake of writing.”
She got up, switched on the lights and lit the stove to prepare some tea.