People often ask me about my very peculiar style of writing. Why is it that all my poems are always written in first person? Is it because I am a self-obsessed freak? Well, the answer is “No”. I am neither a self-obsessed egotist (Kudos to my memory for remembering the first word I had read in a book by Norman Lewis to improve my vocab 5 years back), nor an egomaniac. Even though I had the realization of my attractive charm way back in 1983, when the doctor looked at me and said “Sho Shweet”, I am still a very humble person. Even though during school days, my friends called me Einstein Junior (my powerful specs and receding hairline played some part in it), yet I have my feet very much grounded on earth. And though, people call me a star and a gem (maybe due to the 4 gems I wear on my fingers), I am still a very down-to-earth man. And the only reason I write my poems in first person is because I want to relate to the person I am writing about.
However, as the old adage goes, Fame comes with a heavy price tag. Once you become a poet, every one expects you to write a poem on him or her. The other day, my PM asked me to write a poem about her green dress. Now I am not that sort of writer who can write about just anything in this world. Poetry is something that comes straight from one’s heart. But I had to surrender under peer-pressure. After all, my appraisal activities are still incomplete. But with my heart not into the poem, the words didn’t come out. I had decided that the last line of the poem will be “The Lady in Green”. But what are the lines that would rhyme with it? After spending almost half an hour, the best lines that I could think of were –
“Two years back I was lean”
“In college, Prof Rao was my Dean.”
“I have to dust my room clean”
“I have been working for past 2 months like a machine.”
And I gave up. To hell with my appraisal.
Last weekend, I went to a nearby mall to purchase a new pair of pajamas. And as luck would have it, I wasn’t spared there as well. My celebrity status has really deprived me of all privacy I experienced until few weeks back. But now, they spot me wherever I go. For instance, I asked the salesperson standing at the counter:
“How much do these Pajamas cost?”
“That’s too much. I would pay only Rs 100 for it.”
“Saab, free me hi le jao.” (“You can take it for free.”)
His reply was something I couldn’t take. I know that I am a celebrity. But that doesn’t mean that people would start giving me free gifts for no reason at all. Alright, he might have read my poems sitting with his family in front of the fire-place, and must have felt a new bond with his children, but offering me a pair of Pajamas for free was just too much.
The biggest problem a celebrity, like me, has to face is the fear of paparazzi. While shopping, I saw a man deliberately making his girl friend stand just in front of me and then taking a snap of her. As if, I don’t know that in actual he wanted a photograph of me, to sell it to the highest bidding newspaper.
But my worst experience was when all of a sudden, a person came to me posing to be an old friend.
“Vaibhav Mathur from St Mary’s Academy?”
“Yes. Do I know you?”
“Hey, I am Ankur from high school. Don’t you remember me?”
“Stay away Mister. And don’t call my name loud, or else there’ll be a stampede here.”
I had to quickly run away from the scene before they all recognized me and started asking for an autograph.
On second thoughts, was he really Ankur Sabbarwal? My high school chuddy-buddy? Nah, can’t be. This world is full of poseurs and wannabes.
- Vaibhav Mathur