Yea, yea I know…

Ok so this is going a lot slower than I thought it would…

Always knew that writing ‘this thing’ would take time but now ‘this thing’ seems to be drifting. Can’t say that I haven’t been working on it – been researching, reading stuff, thinking about plots & characters. Just that the actual writing has been hard after the first year of frantically piecing together the first few fragments. Have made some time in my packed life/schedule for the odd day to work on it but its not been easy and as ever you prevaricate when you just need to get down and do it.

Need to write something everyday – got a laptop, pda and looking to get a netbook soon so got plenty of ways to get stuff down. The inspiration is always there as well, as there are so many crazy things that go on in this town :

Not sure what kind of draw/spliff/cannabis this guy was on but following on from the ‘transatlantic plot’ involving peeps in HW this was not a clever move…but is exactly the kind of thing that one of the characters in WRS might do but then they do say that life is stranger than fiction…

Anyway as promised  a section of the novel just for you:

West Richardson Street: Tales of Danny Raja

Lets get this straight – Danny Raja was a clown. But he was also the most gifted and intelligent bloke that Asif had ever met. He lived around the corner but he was a year or two older so they hadn’t met at school. Truth was he was nothin’ special then – just another Jhelum lowlife with a hoodie. But he changed after his sixteenth birthday. Whatever made him Danny Raja and connected him to the neighbourhood went beyond his partaking off magic mushrooms by Roundabout wood or the week long benders he would go on. He was one of the guys who was probably stranger when he was sober and not charged. Some of the missions that Danny got up to were legendary and were embedded in the folklore of these roads. Only talking about his demise broke the laughter and the tears. They had been blessed to be around him and when he took his fall a lot fell with him or fell right into line. Asif smiled thinking about the time Danny led a one man crusade against all the fast food places in Desborough Road and Green St. The brother had been outside these shops with his placard and leaflets – challenging the staff and punters. He would just tell folks that the food was killin’ them and they needed to eat stuff that was made with love so they in turn would spread love. Danny hated the fact that all these crews were eating out rather than eating their Mum’s roti. It got so bad that Mr Cod took out an banning order against him which meant that he was not allowed on the pavement outside – he just climbed a balcony by the new shiny shopping centre and shouted abuse at them. Crazy thing was Danny always made sense – no one could fault the strength of his arguments in English or in Mirpuri. The guy could drop it hard and even the local imams were in awe of him. But unsurprisingly Danny made enemies – shop and taxi base owners, some of the bigger dealers and the local Asian Councillors. He hated them most of all – those he felt were self righteous and self appointed, their stooges and chumchay.  In any other generation he would have been 50% village idiot and 50% shaman. His folks had moved back to Pakistan as some of his antics had driven them up the wall. Some of these very walls he had daubed cryptic messages and crazy graf that the local crews had adopted as their own. Danny had skills – he would chat the same way to local prozzies that he would chat to the Mayor or Police Sector Commander.

But then he fell and one night a group of the Councillors snapped after he had exposed some dodgy planning application for yet another Fried chicken establishment. They had said he had held a girl hostage in the old playground and after the Police helicopters had left the scene he had been led away and taken to Haleacre the local loony bin. Enough of the brothers together with the local youth worker had campaigned for his release but the men in white coats had taken him away. Life was never the same afterwards and even when he came back out for brief periods the fire in his eyes was lost and he wasn’t the same Danny Raja. Pumped full of drugs he was too zonked out to have any perception of where he even was. Asif was sad when he died but he also knew that Danny had died that day the marvey had picked him up. He had never seen so many peeps turn up to a funeral – two sixth forms closed and seven taxi companies shut up for that day (one stayed open to mop up business and was subsequently boycotted and closed down in six months). Women were seen crying in the streets and little snotty kids hugged each other in recognition of what they had lost. Three junkies overdosed and a dozen lads got married in the space of a month.

Danny dying woke a lot of them up – but their eyes and minds were not fully open enough for them to pick up his message and run with it. Maybe that would be asking too much and they all had dollars to make. But he lived on fuelling booze and spliff filled nights where all the old stories would come out and cold hard pauses would meet the dawn with the slow realization that they had to get up and face the day without him…

© Saqib Deshmukh 2009


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