Badass (n): A person who radiates confidence in everything he/she does, whether it’s ordering a drink, buying a set of wheels, or dealing with men/women. Slow to anger, brutally efficient when fighting back, a badass does what a badass wants.
So what’s the first image that comes to mind when you hear the term ‘badass’? Notorious smugglers? Local pan-chewing goons?
How about writers?
The truth is there are many. Apart from the bespectacled Nobel laureates, many writers from the past whom we grew up worshipping played their tunes to the strings of vices.
They were people whose words were like bees that hovered around forbidden pleasures, stinging the readers hard, often at the right places, leaving wounds that readers secretly nurse with pleasure.
Needless to say, they were lost in the cobwebs of the senses, they danced to the evil tunes of pleasures, but struggled in the midst of social criticism. Yet, they wrote fearlessly and created masterpieces, leaving behind a legacy that will be carried to eternity.
Wirally brings to you a list of seven such badass writers whom we can’t help but love and idolize.
* OSCAR WILDE: “We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars.??? His entire life was portrayed in this one line. Enchanting writer, impeccable academician, passionate lover, tortured in the drudgery of forbidden pleasures of homosexuality, jailed, and an untimely death. While in jail, Wilde wrote “De Profundis??? – letters that haunt a reader and make him ponder about the paradox of human existence while balancing the scales of virtue and pleasure.
An extract from “De Profundis???
“I wanted to eat of the fruit of all the trees in the garden of the world … And so, indeed, I went out, and so I lived. My only mistake was that I confined myself so exclusively to the trees of what seemed to me the sun-lit side of the garden, and shunned the other side for its shadow and its gloom.???
* ERNEST HEMINGWAY: A writer who explored bull-fighting, hunting, fishing, World War I, shooting, fighting, and drinking. Ernest Hemingway was not only a path-breaking author, he wrote about the above issues because he practiced all of them in profusion. His end came when he shot himself with a shotgun filled with two barrels.
* F. SCOTT FITZGERALD: “Show me a hero and I will write you a tragedy.??? True to his words, Scott Fitzgerald, the author of ‘The Great Gatsby’ elucidated the rise of a brilliant career that never reached its zenith, ultimately leading to alcohol addiction and a sudden death. His ability to catch the flavor of a night, snatch of old song, in a phrase, makes him a writer who was one of his kind.
* KHUSHWANT SINGH: Diabolical, hard hitting yet profound – Khushwant Singh brought in a wave of rebellion in the field of Indian writing. His unhindered and naked thoughts made readers bite their tongues sometimes. Yet the richness in his thoughts made him an icon – a cult icon. It is said that Singh once received a letter from Canada with the address – ‘Khushwant Singh, Bastard, India’. The postman delivered it to his house!
One of his final gems were:
“Since I have no faith in God, nor in the day of judgment, nor in reincarnation, I have to come to terms with the complete full stop.???
Yet, years after his death, he still lives on, as a rebel whom we all wish to imitate.
* LORD BYRON: A charmer of women, a man of seduction and love and finally a pet lover who had a fox, monkeys, a parrot, cats, an eagle, a crow, a crocodile, a falcon, peacocks, guinea hens, an Egyptian crane, a badger, geese, a heron and a bear, Lord Byron had it all and we love him that way.
He was flamboyant and notorious, a head turner, who was both celebrated and castigated in life for his aristocratic excesses, including huge debts, numerous love affairs with people of both sexes, rumors of a scandalous liaison with his half-sister, and a self-imposed exile. Needless to say, his writing which emerged from the cobwebs of the vices enchanted everyone effortlessly.
* HUNTER S. THOMPSON: From documenting the lives of notorious motorbike gangs called ‘Hell’s Angels’ to spearheading the idea of “Gonzo Journalism??? where the reporters themselves became the central figures of their stories, Thompson nailed it.
After a tragic suicide at the age of 67, one of his friends quoted “the true voice of Thompson is revealed to be that of American moralist … one who often makes himself ugly to expose the ugliness he sees around him.”
* TASLIMA NASREEN: The queen of inflammatory thoughts, radical words and a writer in exile. She has been chased by fanatics around the world, yet nothing stops her from voicing her opinions blatantly.
She has been attacked, threatened and warned, yet she cares two hoots about all of that. She has criticized religion, invited countless fatwas, and travelled to many countries seeking refuge yet, nothing has toned her down.
So, you might wonder, is being a badass is actually a fashion statement?
The truth is, any form of creativity fosters from an uncontrolled form of craziness. When the craziness joins its hands with uncontrolled curiosity, an artist moves beyond the realms of rules, to explore the vices and create a masterpiece owing to the resulting experiences.
Badass artists are like candles, who burn themselves to illuminate the world, yet they do it with their own swag and leave the world craving for more.