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Friday, July 05, 2013


Some people have been reading my short stories, and asking for more. Here is one I wrote (or rather composed orally, dictating in class, when they told me the board examination paper had asked them to write a story titled ‘Yearning’) back in 2001.

He said he’d come to see me again, the last time we met, and he will not fail me.

He was a very young soldier, tall and strong, with a firm jaw line, when I first set eyes on him. And he had such eyes – eyes that could flash with fire one moment and melt with kindness the next. A captain in the army, I learnt later, but the night I ran to him for help I knew him only as the kind and brave afsar sahib who alone could rescue me from the clutches of the ugly and pitiless demon who was taking me away to hell. And the sahib changed my life forever that night, in more ways than one.

I was a slip of a girl then, hardly fourteen, a dreamy country bumpkin, supposedly pretty, whom her poor and unloving uncle had sold to an oily, smelly, leery, bearded stranger for a fistful of rupees. I was being taken away, fearful and uncomprehending and feebly protesting, to the great city of Mumbai. The stranger had dragged me into a train, given me a paper bag full of dry grams to chew for dinner, and gone to sleep in a drunken state, after telling me he bore me no ill-will; this was just his line of business: he would put me aboard a ship at Mumbai and it would carry me to a faraway foreign land whose name I’ve forgotten, where I would become some rich man’s slave. My captor was soon snoring away peacefully, confident that I was too scared and too stupid to run away. But I had seen the military sahib at the station where he boarded the coach next to mine, and as I sat alone by the window, staring blankly at the darkness rushing past outside, a desperate plan began to form in my head. Twice in the night, when the train halted briefly, I saw the sahib getting out for a stroll on the platform. Twice I hesitated; the third time I rushed out and fell at his feet, crying piteously for succour.

In a trice he had pulled me up roughly by the arms, and demanded an explanation for my strange behaviour. People were staring at us, though the platform was almost deserted at three in the morning. I could see that he was baffled and embarrassed, but he was too innocent to disbelieve me, and too kind to throw me back to the wolves. He told me to take him to the bearded stranger. We got back into my compartment just as the train began to move. Inside, he shook the man awake. Bleary-eyed and frightened by the military uniform and flashing eyes, the rogue apparently confessed to more crimes than he need have, thus putting himself at the sahib’s mercy. And then the sahib made a deal with him – he would be allowed to go free if he agreed to let me go with the sahib without strings attached. God help me – I still feel ashamed to remember the dirty grin with which he waved me away, a grin which made the sahib very angry and red in the face.

He took me to Mumbai. He had no relatives there, he told me; he was just passing through on his long journey back to his frontier post after a month’s home leave – the best he could do for me was to put me up in an orphanage, seeing that I refused to go back to my uncle’s. And so it was that I became an inmate at a destitute girl’s home run by some Christian nuns. They would look after me till I was 18, and try to teach me to look after myself afterwards. The sahib left a little money with them – he was not a rich man, but I knew that he had done all he could for me. I worked hard at learning a trade at the Home, and waited and dreamed and prayed. The sahib came back a year later. He seemed glad to see me, and proud to hear of the progress I had made at learning how to make wickerwork furniture. He left some more money in a bank account for me: money that I could use to set up shop on my own after I came of age. Was he not going to come back any more, I asked. He said he would, and there was a look in his eyes that told me I had a right to hope. He left me an army address to contact if I desperately needed him – his place of posting was secret; no letters were allowed. And I couldn’t read and write at that time anyway.

I am 24 now, and running a small but satisfactory business of my own. My uncle’s family is only too glad to see me these days, and they often urge me to get married. Idiots. I must wait, go on waiting. After six straight years without communication, I wrote to the address they had given me. They wrote back, politely regretful, informing me that the gallant captain had fallen fighting for his beloved country during an incident of cross-border shelling. But of course that can’t be true, can it? He said he’d come again to see me, the last time we met, and he will not fail me.

That’s it. A very short, short story.

A lot of people will find it trivial, or overly-sentimental, or otherwise unimpressive and unmemorable. I don’t want to hear from them. A precious few will feel a very deep, deep resonance inside their hearts, because they too have felt like this, occasionally or very often, and as keenly, as inconsolably. Not necessarily for a lost love in the romantic sense, but for missing parents, or children, or spouse, or student or teacher, even. They might let me know. It is about the same kind of missing someone who is lost or who will never come that I wrote Natalie and Sorcery too. So did Tagore with Kabuliwallah, Postmaster, Aapod, Ak raatri, Samapti, Ghaater Kotha… and many others I could name. It could be yearning for God Himself, when one has realized that all human relationships are ultimately fake, or merely conditional upon mutual convenience (the Bard says, 'most friendship is feigning, most loving mere folly'!): ‘e milon toma bina kotha achhe hey ishwar’, and also ‘amar shur guli paye choron, ami pai ne tomare’…


Subhadip Dutta said...

Hi Sir,

I read the story and felt the yearning in the girl's heart. Such an incident has never happened with me, but I could distinctly feel what she felt. I could see the girl and her entire life passing by like a movie, her uncle, the bearded stranger, the train, the station, the secret place whose address the 'sahib' could not give, the destitute girl's home and all other things that have been mentioned in the story, but I could not see the faces of any of the characters that are present in the story. As I am writing this I can still see the girl waiting for her 'sahib', maybe while she is sitting at the window sill, or while she is looking at her accounts books of her business, or while she is cutting vegetables to cook. I could almost see the expression in her face when she heard that her 'sahib' had fallen for his country, but I still cannot see the face of the girl distinctly!

It is a beautiful story Sir. There is no grief, the pain is not so intense, but there is a strange feeling of yearning. I could feel it...


Manoshij Banerjee said...

It is a wonderful little story, Sir. Thank you for sharing.

Now the thoughts which are coming to me right now, albeit they might seem digressed from the story:

1.On sentiment: Aren't human beings compulsorily sentimental, Sir? Isn't it important to be sentimental? Don't most of us wear grim-faced masks and feign casualness during tense moments which don't directly affect us? (like the passing away of a friend's pet kitten) Isn't connecting sentimentality to femininity quite stupid? ("meyeder moton kaadish kaeno?") Isn't the 'modern' machismo a pretension to a certain extent? And doesn't its celebration explain rape, murder and riot to a larger extent?

A century from now Forrest Gump (the ultimate man, I think!) will not remain just fiction, but will become fantasy!

2. Isn't the kind of affection and indebtedness mentioned in the story almost unavailable today? Can that situation be helped, Sir?

My friend has a tumor inside his head and he's leaving for an operation on the 10th of this month. I got the message while reading this post and it has left me stirred.

Sincerely and with love
Manoshij Banerjee

Sayan Datta said...

Dear Sir,

This is one brilliant story, and it does ring very closely with the 'Natalie'...and I wholeheartedly agree with Shubhadip that the longing, the intense but ultimately futile yearning almost jumps off the page from every line! Life is ruthlessly unkind Sir, and love is in the end futile...at least all kinds of earthly love perhaps...romantic to deep affection, as between a father and daughter? It is comic even, but yet it is "so endearing, so human and so beautiful" ... "Oh! 'tis love, 'tis love, that makes the world go round!"

About the last para, Sir, believe it or not, those are the very thoughts that were going through my head when you called me today, late in the morning.

What you have said finds very strong resonance in these words from the 'Diamond Sutra' -

As shooting stars, a blindness, as a lamp,
A magic trick, as dewdrops, or a bubble,
As a dream, a lightening flash, or cloud,
So should we view all that is conditioned.

"It's all a dream and will ultimately melt into air".

It's me who should be sorry, Sir. For not being able to accompany you always, for falling behind, and for not being able to console you whenever you need it...

With love and hope and prayers,


Debarshi_Saha said...

Respected Sir,

Warm regards. What a beautiful, poignant tale- a little gem! I add my bit to this wonderful tale:

"You don't know what happens when you don't see your loved one for ages. Oblivion does not tarnish the memory, yet soon your special one's visage starts getting mixed up with the thousands of faces you view in the walk of Life. How to remember that lock of hair, that smile, those wonderful eyes with the depth of wells, or even the fact that he was my shelter rock against a cruel world, that sought my flesh? I started writing letters to him by night, on rainy evenings, in moments when some view demanded my attention, on occasions when I felt cold and alone, and the memories of that fateful night came back to me with renewed vigor. I wrote several, put so many of them into envelopes lovingly, and never posted any of them. Why do I write these missives? They are my conjurors, my magic friends who speak of him back to me, and the ones who remind me that I still must wait, still must endure this bittersweet torture.

The swinging tree-chair remains empty yet, and we shall never grow old together. My rocking chair serves as no cradle for me yet- the candle burns away, wax drips on the floor, the lamp flickers with memories the haunting shadows, and I cast my view on all the upholstered furniture at my very modest residence. I imagined my savior reclining on one of the many wickerwork pieces of furniture I had crafted so lovingly for him, not knowing his tastes- and we would not need to speak. The radio would hum silently, the kettle whistle expectantly, and I would steal glances at him every other moment. I don't even know what people across borders fight for any more. Is it for land, or a sense of power? But, how can land hold any meaning for anybody without people living on them, in peace, on magical ordinary days? I hear that he found his final rest, covered by a white sheet of snow, in the place they call the 'paradise on Earth'. Nature showered my knight with flowers, and the terrible silence of the valley of the dead was punctuated with gunshots, and heart rending cries. Blood had flowed freely, and back here, while I sleep fitfully- and happy families giggle, somewhere in the pitch black darkness, my hero is fighting off the dragons of discord. He might have been singed by the flames of war, but his memory lives on in my heart, and shall always do. I know now that I shall never again feel complete.

The great Rumi wrote, I hear, " Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and rightdoing
there is a field. I will meet you there.
When the soul lies down in that grass,
the world is too full to talk about.
Ideas, language, even the phrase each other
doesn’t make any sense."

I too will wait for you on that field across forever, my hero. The field shall be bright with bluebells, the sun setting on the horizon, and we will run across that field, off into a place where I shall yearn no more. You made me believe that there was a world hidden behind this world, that was magical. Without you, your magic is just a touch on my heart- and I yearn evermore.

We shall meet again, and when we do, I shall talk and you, listen."

Thank you indeed,Sir.

With best wishes,

Anonymous said...

Dear Sir,

This is such a beautiful story. I had always found the word yearning very poignant. The sentiment behind this one word is so difficult to encompass, yet I could see it resonate throughout your story. Only yesterday I wrote a poem called 'The Geography of Longing' and I now realize how much more difficult it is to articulate the emotion of yearning; it goes beyond merely longing and is not merely that which goes beyond longing.

I shall contemplate this story in silence for a while. I am so glad you wrote this. I would love to read some more.

Vaishnavi said...

Dear Sir,

I agree with Sayanda; Yearning is something akin to Natalie. Your stories make the heart throb Sir and I have learnt that those are the best kind so thank you so much for sharing this.


Sayan Datta said...

Dear Sir,

One cannot but feel terribly hopeless and lonely after reading that story..."This is the state of man today; he puts forth tender leaves of hope, tomorrow blossoms, and bears blushing honours thick upon him; The third day comes a frost,...nips his root, And he falls, as I do" ...and yet it is all so beautiful, even divine perhaps - this yearning.

Debarshi's comment is absolutely brilliant and so full of hope! And yet I cannot help thinking that no one really 'knows' whether there is a field out there beyond all that we consider to be right and wrong, as reminiscent in Tagore's lines 'Pele na uttar' as you had said...

I think there are two ways of looking at this whole human predicament - The first being, if it is indeed a dream at all, then lets just try our utmost to make it a good one, one from which others who follow can take heart...

The other is what Yudhisthira had said to his queen when she asked him, why he, the most virtuous of men had to suffer so - "Behold my queen the Himalayas, how grand and beautiful they are; I love them. They do not give me anything, but my nature is to love the grand, the beautiful, therefore I love them. Similarly, I love the Lord. He is the only object to be loved; my nature is to love Him and therefore I love. I do not pray for anything; I do not ask for anything. Let Him place me wherever He likes. I must love Him for love's sake. I cannot trade in love"

So easy to say, yet so, so very difficult to practice!

Tanmoy said...

Dear Suvroda
Thank you for this little gem. It left an impact even though it was very short, does not name the characters and also does not go into the detail of explaining their background. It talks of an act of kindness that changed a person’s life and the immense gratitude thereafter.
Hope you share more such stories.
Kind regards

Nishant said...

Dear Sir,

That was a very nice story indeed. I think I have a weakness for stories narrated in the first person: most of my favourite books are such. When the protagonist speaks to me directly, I feel much more drawn into his/her life. And in most cases (as in this), though I cannot relate to the character (based on anything that has happened in my life), I feel capable of putting myself in their shoes. Though the story itself is quite short the details in it were enough for me to see fleeting images of the scenes you created, pretty much like an Impressionist painting.

Of all of Tagore's works you mentioned, I have unfortunately read only Kabuliwallah twice: in Hindi in class six and in English in class eight, and on both occasions, I had found the story quite moving. On that note, there's a short movie, an animation which won the Oscar a few years ago called Father and Daughter. You might already have seen it, but if not, I would highly recommend it. The background score is just as good as the movie itself. Here's the link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MgdsfRDxIeQ


Urbi Chatterjee said...

Dear baba,

This story brought a rush of many contradictory emotions in my heart. It was as if in one minuscule moment, I felt the sorrow of mankind through the ages making a turmoil in my heart, and also the joy of Life itself snaking its way through all that is sad and desolate. We have been doing Wordsworth's poetry in class for the past few weeks, and so I can now appreciate better the way you have crystallized a universal human emotion into the very personal feelings of the young girl. After reading this story, I hope even more strongly that I have inherited at least some part of your literary abilities.

My personal idea is that such profound and insatiable yearning is always related to the yearning for one's Maker. Even if the conscious mind tells us it is for a loved one, or a pet or a time long past, somewhere deep within it is the longing to reach Him that causes all the struggles and dilemmas in the human heart.When Kalu passed away, for days I suffered this uncontrollable urge to go to him, wherever he is now. And since it is in these times of great pain that I feel God most closely, my yearning was also essentially one for getting back into His embrace with my beloved pup.

Also baba, you do not have to worry about those 'people' (I have my reserves about calling them humans) who will find this story over-sentimental or trivial. They are the ones who find "Aashiqui 2" genre stuff full of deep emotions, so the less we waste our time thinking about them, the better.


Diptokirti said...

Dear Sir,
This is really what stories should be like. Like what you used to say in class so many years and such a short while ago, "don't beat around the bush, hit the nail on the head". it reminded me of a poem I read a short while back, and helped me understand it much better than I had done
Leaning into the afternoons I cast my sad nets
Towards your oceanic eyes.

There in the highest blaze my solitude lengthens and flames,
its arms turning like a drowning man's.

I send out red signals across your absent eyes
that move like the sea near a lighthouse.

the poem is Neruda's Leaning Into The Afernoons, though I suspect you have recognized it already.
I suppose Ratan still waits for the postmaster in Ulapur like this woman waits for afsar sahib, it really is a beautiful story and I can only wish I could compose something like this at a moment's notice, something that tugs at the heartstrings and yet is neither melodramatic nor removed from reality and the harshness of the world. Thank you, it had been a long day but reading this at 2 o' clock in the night washed away a lot of the dirt and grime the city burdens people with.
Yours Sincerely,

P.S. and for some reason unknown to me I was reminded of this song, although I am not a very big fan of The Doors, but the lyrics are so similar to the story here

Rashmi Datta said...

Dear Sir,

This is a poignant story. Thank you for sharing it. But because of my own weakness, I could feel it in my heart only when I read it for the second time. Indeed a precious few can feel this kind of yearning but maybe nothing else makes us more human than such emotions. I had felt such inconsolable yearning four years back but God did not make me suffer for too long.

Writing and appreciating a story like this requires a person to connect with others’ pain and sufferings. I have never found that very easy. The ability to empathize with others is according to me a treasure, a gift. As for me, I keep on trying although I know deep inside my heart that I fail so often.

Such yearning comes out of love, pain and hope.

Thank you for this post Sir. I will come back to it again.

Regards, prayers and love,

Unknown said...

Dear Sir,

You have painted a portrait, and haven't even used a thousand words for it! I cannot think of another version of Viola's 'patience on a monument'.

The spareness of the prose is perhaps the highlight of the story; how much is said in few words. I can guess why you decided to post this story, and it also says a lot about the person you are and how strongly you feel about the world around you.

I shall leave it at this and let the other readers soak in the story.

With regards,


Shilpi said...

The strongest feeling that I've had for this story of yours for 11 straight years now is that of course it 'can't be true' - her captain will come back to see her. He said he would the last time they met and he would not fail her. What happens after that is a little fuzzy and a matter I don't know about too terribly clearly. But I've felt and still feel very much like the girl - her captain is not dead and they will meet and in this world. The girl can keep yearning for years and wait too for years but if the captain had died - she'd have died too.

This is why this story feels different from 'If winter comes...' You'd told me once when I'd been going through one of my intense brooding bouts about Natalie and her sweetheart that it filled you with bliss to think that both of them were eternally young and in heaven.

As for ‘Sorcery’ I never saw it as being a tale about someone lost or someone who would never come. It simply didn't feel that way. It felt more as if the imaginary friend/the mental somewhat-real being who keeps one company within would become more and more real and more than real and appear one day - however impossible that seems or sounds to people.

‘Yearning’ is one of my favourite stories but I'll still stick with that thought - the captain does come back. He promised and he wouldn't break a promise, would he? The girl can live with unbearable yearning for years but she knows her captain will come back...in fact it puzzles me to think that it’s even possible that her captain won’t come back. That’s why the only time I was forced into writing a second part of any story was for this one. It made me feel blessedly relieved.

Your stories stay and wander around and have music in them. It’s strange to think that you wrote these three about someone lost or about one who would never come back...or maybe it makes sense. I would never have guessed that it was the same emotion with which you wrote ‘Sorcery’ too.

I think as long as there is even one genuine human relationship and maybe there are more - where feelings of absolute love is real, no matter if things don't work out always as one would like them to, one keeps hoping and missing and yearning. I’ve never thought whether longing and yearning imply different states of being like Urna says (I’ve been pondering over the comments; Nishant, thanks for that doc link). I don’t know whether the yearning as you mention and what Pupu says is ultimately a yearning for God...it may well be in some place beyond right and wrong but within the here and now it feels inconsolably human, more or less.

P.S: I kept having that song playing in my head, "majhe majhe tobo dekha paai..." and the other rather different one but still a good one: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LcJm1pOswfM&list=PL64F55A3582ACC4CC
There was one story we had in school – ‘Futki’. That’s another one I was reminded of. Manik (?) I think was the young man’s name who leaves Futki and goes away and never comes back…I guess.

Suvro Chatterjee said...

I am grateful to all who took the trouble to comment with understanding and sympathy here, not to mention admiration and empathy. It so happens that I needed all of these things. I would have loved more, but I guess I must be content with what I have got...

sayantika said...

Dear Sir,
Thank you for sharing this beautiful, poignant tale which uses so few words but conveys such a deep emotion. It reminds me of a song by Fuzon that I love to hear umpteen times. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sLTePpTeFP4
People who find this story 'trivial' are too shallow to fathom anything so deep, I guess.
Thanks and with regards,

Suman Chakraborty said...

'resonance'...that is what finds me commenting on this post.
The sahib could have made the conman to cough up information leading to the bursting of the racket.
Or is it that I am missing the tune of the story somewhere? Sir, are these the lines on which you talked about and mentioned 'Thakur Ramkrishna' and his elephant story.
Also, I am commenting about Khaled Hosseini, The Kite Runner on this very post.
Amir went to college, got married while his father wasted away. In many other stories portraying human lives, a father marries his child daughter away, a social worker turns a blind eye to wrongdoing fearing funds to her dear institution would be stopped, even down to our lives, a sibling when married off, we choose not to bear his/ her expenses, and equally careful is she/ he when entertaining relations/ parents at house. They are welcome only for a short interval.
Are any attempts to be an exception to any of the above beyond the doings of mortals, and are the wrongdoings themselves or the failures to be 'great' which gnaws at us?
I have realised excercising these cautions/ restraints encompass a lot about the 'changed thinkings' of a grown up. A child would cry, quarrel and be stubborn-an older person would be wary of consequences, know where to betray( what else can this closure of lines in relations be termed).
I do not even know whether I am merely being politically correct-for I have grown up too!
But, time and again these thoughts stop me from being friends, opening up to peers/ relations-for I feel when time comes, or the relation becomes 'too demanding', I would but withdraw my support. Sir, what would you say?

Dipanwita Shome said...

‘…but he was too innocent to disbelieve me…’
This is the line that I love most in this story. The fact that a man, strong enough to see death in the face regularly and also one able to kill, whatever the stakes might be, can be ‘innocent ‘ too is something that we sometimes forget. That a man, apparently hard-boiled and katkhotta (Do you remember where I had used this adjective once?) can really be helpful, nice, dedicated and inncocent is something that I have seen (as have you) on many occasions being negated.
Sir, this is not overtly sentimental or unmemorable or unimpressive. This yearning is universal. I have felt this when I came away to Delhi at 17 and a half years of age, I still feel it a decade later. You feel it too when you see Pupu and Boudi take that Volvo every other week. And, I felt it with an extra pang ten days back when Arani left on an office tour.
Please, Sir, please keep posting your writings here. It helps a lot of us to know that we might be lonely, but that we are not alone.

Much love,

ananya mukherjee said...

Dear Sir,
This is indeed a heartwarming story. As I was reading the story I could visualize the girl waiting for her sahib and hoping against hope that he would return someday as per his promise.The line "I must wait;go on waiting" shows that it is this abiding love, intense yearning and most importantly the hauntingly sweet memories of the sahib that keeps the girl going because I too believe that this insatiable yearning is actually related to the yearning of God himself.I felt the same after going through the story Akratri where the protagonist simply yearns for Surbala and believes that his meeting with Surbala after so many years is the most precious thing that has ever happened to him because he is well aware that therein lies the essence and glory of life.Similarly the stories Ghaater Katha, Raajpother Katha, Samapti convey the same kind of yearning. But at the same time it is also true that dreams and aspirations are simply shattered by those with whom it is impossible to develop lasting relationships leaving behind heartbreaks to torment for a long time afterwards.In the story Castaway, Nilkanta had to undergo intense suffering because he had fantastical expectations from Kiran and kept hugging his half articulate fantasy to himself until the situation worsened and he was castaway again. I feel that stories like Castaway , Postmaster portray intense suffering of the protagonists even though there are no villains and makes us realize that we should treat such of our fellow beings with understanding and sympathy because nobody should be taken for granted.
After going through this post and If Winter comes I feel that you not only have a sympathetic understanding of the human mind but also have a keen eye for those uncommon people whose travails and unbounded hardships apparently have no cure.Thank you for sharing this wonderful story Sir.

Suvro Chatterjee said...

I am especially grateful that so many women took the trouble to comment on this post. Boys/men are usually far more forthright in expressing strong feelings: I have always wondered whether women just don't have them, or are much more unsure about them or reticent when it comes to talking about them...

Sayantika, thanks for the kind words, and the song link. Dipanwita, nothing makes me feel more justified in continuing to live than hearing from other people that I am sometimes of some little help to them in living their own lives better. Ananya, I don't know whether I will call this story 'heartwarming', but otherwise you have got the idea just right. And it gratifies me that you used my classes well: not too many have understood Tagore that way - how he was a past master at expressing the sort of feelings I have felt all my life, yearning for things that can never be, and being hurt despite the fact that there are no villains out to get my blood. And yes, if that does not make us more kind and loving and understanding towards our fellow human beings, nothing will.

Suman, I am afraid I did not really get your question very well. This much I can say with conviction: all the greatest deeds of love and courage in this world have been done by people who were just as 'mortal' as we are - the fact that we might perhaps have become too selfish and mean and cautious to be of any genuine use to other people in distress and in need of our love says something about what kind of people we are, nothing more.

priya majumder said...

Dear sir,
It is a heart-touching story indeed. its a story which proves that love is a feeling which just happens. No matter the age and the circumstance. Thank you sir for writing such a wonderful story.

Suvro Chatterjee said...

Thank you, Priya. It may make you happy to know that you are the youngest person whose comment has ever been published on my blog. It wouldn't have happened if you hadn't written that lovely little story. It is that kind of rare, occasional effort on my pupils' part that keeps me going at my age, after 32 years of teaching. Keep writing!

Suman Chakraborty said...

Sir, thank you for replying. Probably the answer lies in the very question. Ashamed as I am for having been 'cautious', I would like to remember your words hoping some day I can be proud of having been of use.

Rajdeep said...

Yes, a very short story indeed but one with a potential of becoming a thrilling novel. The ideas here can be turned into gripping sub-plots to create a paperback about 250 to 300 pages long with lots of dialogues. Currently, this first person narrative sounds more like the abstract/ brief summary of the novel that could be. Hope you write the novel someday. Best wishes.