PRANAB GHOSH - WHISPERING OUTSIDE
Pranab Ghosh is a journalist, blogger and poet. His poems have been published in Tuck Magazine, Dissident Voice, Leaves of Ink, Hans India, Literature Studio Review and Scarlet Leaf Review, among others. He also writes short stories. He has co-authored a book of poems, Air & Age. He has also translated a book of Bengali short stories into English. The name of the book is Bougainvillea And Other Stories. He,
at present, lives in Kolkata, India.
Barry was picking up the pieces of his shattered dream like a rag picker gathering waste papers on city roads. He was standing in front of the steel-and-glass tower on Little Russell Street. “The tower is a symbol of things corporate; if you want to make it in life you must get an entry there.” He remembered his father’s words as he left home on Wednesday at 9 am to keep his date with his interviewer.
It’s 10.10 am now. He will have to report by 10.15. And the interview begins at 10.30 sharp. He has the recommendation of one of the directors of the company, a school buddy of his father, a retired civil servant. The interview is just a formality.
“And what not I had thought!” murmured Barry. It’s not that Barry does not have the qualification required for the job. He has a first class bachelor’s degree from St Xavier’s College, one of the premier institutions of the city. His subject was English literature. “One day I will pen an Araby,” he had promised himself as he began to read Joyce in college. That was not long ago. Only three years. He passed college in 2014. Middle of the year. And it’s 2017 now.
Much like Susan, his fiancée, who was determined to make a career in photography, her passion, Barry too wanted to be an author. An independent, full-time author. “Didn’t I follow my dream with passion?” Barry thought as the shadow of the steel-and-glass structure engulfed him. He stood there motionless on Little Russell Street. He remembered Susan. “Don’t think it’s end of your dream, Barry.” Were her words empty? He has always had faith in Susan.
Couldn’t have Barry run the family of two? Of him and Susan. Couldn’t he have rented a place somewhere in the outskirts? Couldn’t he have paid his bills? All he wanted to become was a James Joyce. He would have written all day long and dead into the night. He would have earned a fortune writing fiction. He would have become the best chronicler of his time. He would have become so many things…
But here he stands in the shadow of the glass-and-steel structure. His collection of short stories was rejected by the publishers. He took about a year to write those 20 stories. All about Kolkata and Kolkatans. Nobody liked them. “Where is the passion?” A publisher had demanded.
Barry didn’t lose heart. He penned his first novel and another collection of stories in two years. “What you lack Barry is life! It’s Artificial!” Wasn’t he a Joyce in College?
So Barry stood outside the steel-and-glass structure. He was assured of this job at least.
It’s 10.15. Barry is inside the tower waiting in front of the reception. His dream lies scattered somewhere outside. Somewhere outside this steel-and-glass structure. “But Joyce will return one day.” Someone whispered. Was that Susan?