There is one piece of advice that nobody ever gave me. It is advice I wish I had taken. But you can’t take something unless it is given to you.
Here’s the story:- Once upon a time a young man worked in the office of a large tea plantation in Darjeeling. Every morning at the right time he would look out from his office to the mighty Himalayas. All he ever wanted to do was to climb the highest of those mountains. Every evening he would lie in his bed and dream that he was climbing Everest.
He worked hard and eventually became the manager of the tea plantation. His hard work and his keen mind and his flexible imagination rewarded him with a very decent degree of wealth.
One year he was granted special leave to go to those mountains to have a closer look. He started training and learning to climb and the dreams of his younger days began to look more and more attainable. For two weeks he trekked in and finally reached Everest Base Camp. And it was such a rewarding experience. The views, the people and the sense of expectation.
He spent about a month at base camp learning to sleep in a tiny tent in freezing conditions and learning to cope with the hundreds of other people from all over the world who had come to do the same as he had.
After his body had acclimatized to the cold he began to climb some serious lower peaks where all the techniques of climbing were practised and refined.
One day there was a mighty avalanche and snow and ice almost obliterated the base camp and the mountain was closed so he went home. But joy of joys! The owners of the Darjeeling Tea company had arrived from England with the board of management. These fellows wanted to see Mt Everest so they hired the best and most experience helicopter pilot and they paid the government a huge amount of money to allow them to fly in their helicopter to the very top of Mt Everest. And the number one top man at the company asked our hero to accompany him to the top.
In the helicopter the view was spectacular and when they got to the summit they got out and stood on the very top of the world.
And then they went home and so did he – the hero that is.
Now you might ask how he is now. Did he go back the next climbing season? After all he had always wanted to climb the highest mountain. He had really enjoyed the trek in and the acclimatisation process and all the other things that he found so amazing. But the enthusiasm seemed to have waned.
And he so wished that someone had told him not to take the helicopter ride. That spoiled the whole thing.
Now I might have told you that I decided to write a book. I have been doing that now for the last number of weeks. I think I am about two thirds of the way through. That means I still have quite a long way to go. I’m not sure when I started. But I have so enjoyed myself. Unfortunately the main character has grown in depth and reality to such an extent that she has taken on a life that I never thought she would. Sometimes I find myself talking to her. The other day I saw something very interesting and, as I was driving the car, I said, out loud, “I should tell Annie about that.” Annie is the character. Sometimes in the middle of the night I wake up and realise that I know just exactly what should happen next so I get up, wrap my dressing gown around my cold shivering body and make a cup of hot chocolate and write the next 500 words or so. In the morning I am so excited to see what I have written.
The other night, it was like a vision, I knew exactly what the last page should be. I knew where Annie was going to be. I knew how she would be. I knew who would be with her.
And I wrote the last page. Word for bloody word. I haven’t written anything now for a week. I sit down and start but then . . . . . .
And I so wished that someone had told me not to write the last page before you get to it. That spoiled the whole thing.