Hola, amigos. Make merry, rejoice, and distribute pamphlets. Part 7 is finally here.
Click here to read the previous parts.
Our search returns a horde of blue links. ‘Marlow- Auden Guitars’, ‘Marlow Spruce Full body- Auden Guitars’ and other similar links, along with a strip of images of guitars made of spruce wood litter the results page. Normal human beings don’t name their kids Spruce, it seems.
We check a few other pages, just to be sure (in case the book is not a well-known one) but to no avail. It seems our Creator is indeed, amateur and unpublished. I don’t know why, but I feel a little offended. “What now? How do we find her?”
“Maybe it’s good news, after all, Spruce,” Al replies, not really answering my question. “If our Creator was a famous, published person, she’d have all sorts of alarms and bodyguards and security gizmos around her house which would make it nearly impossible to get to her, much less kill her. But now, we-”
“Can kill her as she’s just some other old person,” I complete.
“Well- that’s diplomatically put,” Al comments sarcastically.
“Where do we start then, genius?”
“Dude, you’re the protag, you’re supposed to-”
“The fact that I’m the protag doesn’t give you license to sit around being dumb.”
“Sit around being dumb? Oh, you’re one to talk. If anyone’s-”
“Let’s think, Al, shall we?” I say, in an effort to curb the argument.
Minutes pass by as both of us stare alternately at the wall and the ceiling, half thinking and half pretending. I try to think about all the books I’ve read and the bookish discussions I’ve had with Rennie. Trying to override the sting of pain that strikes me at her memory, I ask myself- What’s the first question I ask her when she tells me about a new book? What its genre is. I think of something.
“Al, I have an idea,” I say, turning towards him.
“We should search for the different genres of books here. Find one which closely matches the description of our own world. Then we think about who, as an amateur writer, is most likely to write in that genre.”
Al takes a couple of seconds to digest this. He gives me a mock look of approval and we set about searching for different book genres. Finally, we narrow it down to two- YA and sci-fi.
“So we’re looking for a teenage girl or a scientist,” I say.
“Or a teenage girl scientist.”
“Or just a teenage girl with a mild interest in science.”
“Where do we find a teenage girl with a mild interest in science?”
“in the science section of a library,” I say, getting up so quickly that my chair falls backwards, the crash resounding throughout the small cyber cafe. Embarrassed, I put it back up and both of us walk out after paying the cashier,
Wandering aimlessly, I notice a lot of stick-thin men in loose shirts, brown like the soil in the park, pedalling about three-wheeled vehicles with two or three people sitting on seats under tarpaulin canopies attached to the strange vehicle. This sight amazes me. Those stick figures have to be less than a third of all that weight they’re pulling. Yet they pull it effortlessly. Only ants can carry stuff many times their weight. But those men look like elongated ants, after all.
One of those vehicles stops opposite us and a fat lady gets off it. She seems to be wearing what looks like a long patterned piece of cloth draped in a special manner, a red blouse covering her breast. A flabby stomach hangs out at the junction of her waist and the cloth.
She starts talking to the stick-man. I wish I’d brought my translator since they’re not speaking English. But it seems to me they’re arguing over the money the woman has to pay for the ride. In the end, she gives him a red currency note, and the poor dejected man pedals away, while the triumphant fat woman leisurely walks towards a black iron gate.
We move on, hoping to find someone who speaks English and can point us towards the library. We don’t have to look hard. Pretty soon a family gets out of a blue car- a couple and their two kids- and when we approach them and tell them our problem, the couple tells us politely that most ‘middle-class’ people (whatever that means) can understand and speak English. They also tell us that no library exists in the area, but there’s a book fair at a place called ‘Pragati Maidan’ if we’d like to buy some books.
One week later…
Al and I are navigating the complex maze that is hall no. 11 at Pragati Maidan, further complicated by the jostling crowd. We’re scrutinising every teenage girl (which sounds perverted, I know) and trying to find our Creator. We linger on a bit longer at the stalls where we can see science or YA books in abundance, surveying the buyers there. We even peek at the books they’re checking out, but it seems our Creator is determined to stay hidden. After all, we can’t go up to every girl and ask her if she’s writing a book with me as the protagonist.
Morning turns to dusk and two distressed boys with not a single book in their hands walk towards the exit gate of Pragati Maidan, one holding a half-eaten orange ice cream and the other a steaming paper cup of coffee.
It seems they’ll have to come back again tomorrow and go through the cumbersome process all over again, when a light bulb turns on, illuminating the dark.
The said light bulb is an overheard bit of conversation.
“… trying to do some research on how brainwaves can control things…”
“It’s for a book I’m writing.”