The plagiarist who wanted to attain Moksha : Rimli Bhattacharya


Rimli Bhattacharya is a first-class gold medalist in Mechanical Engineering from NIT with an MBA in supply chain management. Having worked in the corporate sector for twenty years, she realized writing was her true calling. She left her high-profile job in 2017 to pursue her passion, i.e. writing. She has contributed to two anthologies, namely A Book Of Light edited by Jerry Pinto and published by Speaking Tigers and Muffled Moans, edited by Dr Santosh Bakaya and Lopamudra Banerjee and published by Authorspress. Her works have appeared globally in over 29 literary magazines and E-Zines. Her first solo book The Crosshairs of Life was released in June 2020 and her second solo book That Day It Rained And Other Stories in February 2021. As a little girl, she wrote short fictions and poems for The Times. She is also a trained Indian Classical dancer.
















The plagiarist who wanted to attain Moksha


And suddenly my world comes crashing down. Though I deny that he shouldn’t have done this to me but I also knew he wasn’t a very decent man which he had always claimed to be and I generally don’t comment without a proof. But again that doesn’t mean he is an indecent man, he has done nothing to me……errr I mean he hasn’t harmed me sexually but on the flip side he is a rude man, his manners, they aren’t appreciable to me. Maybe I am wrong. People of strict principle do not care about how others feel. I remember how I trembled like a kitten the first time he caught me writing a plagiarized essay. I had submitted it to him as he is the publisher of an e-zine and had started chasing him for the publication from the very next day onwards. And then the third world war broke. 


Initially I had found him super kind. He responded on time. He even published an essay of mine, but not before investigating that I had really authored an anthology which dealt with mental illness. I remember him emailing me on a Sunday morning for verification of my Author Biography details. I was in a hurry as I was getting ready to attain Moksha with my friend who is of the age of my mother.


“Sir I am praying.”


“Oh it’s alright. We will get your work published in sometime. I was just verifying the details. You see you cannot trust a new writer.”


“No problem, sir.”


All emails, no chatting or texting. A phone call would have been better, I thought so. 


So me who was already an author, was ignorant that I didn’t appear anywhere on the net. He was extremely courteous. He published my article with a note that he will be looking ahead for my works in future. I felt like celebrating. Here I was out in La Roshe apartment, Khar to attain Moksha and back once I return home all I will need is to just check my email and forward my essay on various social media platforms. Those days I had half a century basket full of authors and poets in my friend list.  I was smitten by the bug. But I had to pay a high price for it. I lost my job where I was working at a meagre pay post my surgery. They were my vendors but offered me a job during my hard times and I ignored all the warning bells. 


While working with them I had devised a wonderful strategy to write. Little did I know it will doom my future. I used my working hours surfing the net trying to find a new essay to write, I chatted with the authors, poets whom I looked upon as my Gods. I learnt how to use the application of the micro blogging site Twitter. I was so high with my obsession of writing that I collected stuff from the internet, joined the broken ends together and sent out my articles to different publishers. You see you cannot conceal a dirty act of yours. My cheating was caught. But my ego was too large. I blocked the publisher, but in hindsight I learnt the meaning of the term plagiarism. But I had already committed one more crime. Simultaneously I had sent out one more plagiarized essay to him. I was fidgety in the office whole day thinking why he hadn’t responded. At 6.30 in the evening when I was about to leave for home I did the mistake of sending him an email demanding a reply. I had a premonition that nothing less than a nuclear war would take place and my prophecy came true. He sent a reply which was very courteous at the start but as I reached reading the last sentence it was nothing less than a heart break for me. I was blacklisted by him. The reticent man as he called himself exchanged at least half a dozen emails with me as I cried, begged and promised him that I would give him an essay in my own words. 


I kept my promise. I wrote and gave one, he was happy reading it and published. I started a new journey of mine writing for his magazine. A year later when I had met him personally, of course it was me who insisted on meeting, he wasn’t that keen, in fact he was even reluctant to share his cell number, he told me it was a lady who had complained about my plagiarism. I am still on hunt of that lady. But what will I do with her? They are powerful and I am a mouse in comparison to these mewing cats.


It was a busy day for my employer but I was busy writing an essay on Filmmaker Mira Nair which I wanted to submit to his magazine, when my employer called me. 


“Madam things cannot go like this. You need to stop your nonsense.”


I left for home that day never to return again. Never to return to that man who stood by me during my bad days, never to return to that man who offered me a roof over my head when Mumbai was flooded, never to return to that man who didn’t care for my in time and out time at work, never to return to that man who had once arranged for my flight tickets when I had missed my flight. But I was remorseless. I was like a wild horse on a run. 


I continued writing for him, got published, shared them on social media, and got 100 likes and 50 comments. Somehow the Mira Nair thing wouldn’t get published. Either he was too busy to check, or I had committed too many mistakes but things were just not happening. But I felt I had attained my full Moksha now. I was to embrace Buddhism but my friend turned schizophrenic and started hallucinating, but that was okay for me as I thought with my writing for his magazine I had already attained Moksha. Disciple to a man whom I thought as my Guru. My search for God was over. Over a period of time I wrote over thirty articles for him. By this time I had learnt the art of writing with integrity, had met him, clicked pictures like a disciple touching the feet of her Master and carried on with my writing.


But the Mira Nair piece was stuck. Sometimes Heaven sends you a warning like once He had done when I quit my job for nothing. This time also the pattern was similar albeit with a slight difference. I had submitted an essay on a Eunuch to him, got it published but his best friend called me a Stupid Writer. This friend of him never liked me ever since I had published a short story on gay and lesbians with a different publisher. There was nothing offensive but the man was furious.  I had to block him on social media as he was foul mouthed. But I guess certain things are inevitable – like this one. 


Things were still moving, though at a snail’s pace as he got busy, but the major breakdown happened when I published an interview in his magazine and that friend of his not only labelled me Stupid but also wrote a half page allegation against me and my interviewee that we are nothing but fools. I ignored as I knew he had applauded me for the interview and would not listen to his friend’s remarks so I kept on writing and submitting for his magazine, but this time there were no replies.


A year crossed. I was distraught. I just couldn’t figure out what went wrong. I kept a close eye on his magazine. It was doing very good. Maybe I am not good enough anymore. But Mira Nair she can’t be ignored. She is my icon that same way he is to me. 


I needed to keep myself busy. Over thinking was detrimental to my mental health and I am a sensitive person. I went back to job hunting but that was a disaster. I could no longer travel in the crowded locals. I was high on medicines as I had several complications which had surfaced over a period of time. I sat at home. I didn’t write. I couldn’t write. The same me who had authored three books and have appeared in over 30 plus magazines couldn’t write. Then one day I published the Mira Nair essay through another publisher and a week later I received a one line email from him saying he would look into my essay. One year and a one line email. But I don’t blame him. He had always asked me to write curt emails but I was the one who would write half page, sometimes full page emails to him much to his chagrin. And each time I ensured that I appreciate his works. 


In the meantime I sent him the book which I had authored. Folded hands I requested him to write a line for me. He sounded happy. He also told that their editors would take my interview. Sadly nothing happened. But that isn’t entirely true. His magazine carried my book review. I wrote for some more time for them but I no longer felt good. The response time was longer, rejections were more. I guess my writing was no more up to the mark. My teacher cannot be wrong. 


I authored one more book. I wrote to him if he needed a copy. I also wrote a story and submitted to him. As I didn’t hear from him I called him and also broached a new idea of pitching him a short story every month. Regarding the short story he said he would take two more days to reply and dissuaded me from emailing new stories as the content needed to be complex which might be missing in my fictions. Two days turned to two months but I heard nothing. Maybe he wasn’t even reading my emails anymore. In the meantime I lost my father. There was no word of consolation from him to me. The silence was back. He refused to revert. But this time I had run out of patience. I stopped pursuing.

***

One day I saw him publishing his best friend’s poem. I read it. It was on gay men and the content was sexually explicit. For once I thought if he had read the poem himself. But my teacher cannot be wrong. I am at fault. Me, who has no self-respect is wrong. My world came crashing down. His door has been shut on me forever. 


The plagiarist who once wanted to attain Moksha has no teacher now. These days I write. Writing is my oxygen to live. In fact I write even more. I have a folder full of my unpublished works. Maybe someday my daughter will read them. Who knows? 

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