The Alter-Ego chooses that moment to step out, in a foggy, shapeless smoke originating somewhere between the keyboard and me.
I start. “Who? What?”
It tut-tuts disapprovingly. “Have you forgotten me already?” Its voice, deeper than ever, always reminds me of George Clooney.
I heave a sigh of relief. “It’s you. Don’t change your looks so often. I get really terrified, being submerged in writing a horror story and all that.”

Its jaw drops. “Horror story! Of all the…” I wish it would go away, it really creeps me out. “Try something comic, for a change,” it says with a melancholy look. “But what’s the use?”
“What do you mean?” I hate its superior-than-thou attitude. I almost don’t want to know what it means.

“The writing is just a little corner of a wide world you know nothing about. There’s a huge cloud of thingies you need to learn.”
“Like what?” I hate, hate its tone. I know what I am doing and what I need to do. I hate the preaching.
“Self-promo, girl, self-promo.”
“Self what?”

It snorts. “You’re unbelievable. Don’t you want people to come flocking to you and pull each other apart to get your attention? In other words, what do you do to promote your writing?”
“Oh, that. I do it so well. I post links to my Twitter and Facebook profiles. And oh yes! I almost forgot,” I add with a nervous grin, “I am a member of Indiblogger community too.”

It sniffs. Too loudly to my liking. “You mean you don’t send countless mails to your contacts, friends, acquaintances, almost-acquaintances, ex-colleagues, neighbours, clients, passers-by and people who don’t even exist about the articles, stories and blogs you write?”
“No… but I have a few links given in the ‘About Me‘ page of my blog. I even have a ‘My Links‘ page! Not to speak of one entire page dedicated to My Book!”
“Do you honestly think people are dying to know about you that they visit your ‘About Me’ page?”
“Aren’t they? You’re saying what I do isn’t enough?”

A-Ego rolls its eyes.
I remain defiantly unconvinced. “Why? Why should I do anything more?”
“Because,” it slipped into the tone of a patient teacher explaining to a child, “other writers are surging ahead. They are going to snatch the trophy before you even get started from here.”
“Really?” I look around to see writers zoom past. “Then I must do something. Tell me what I can do.”
“You should scream it from the rooftops.”
“I am afraid someone might hear.”

“How pathetic can you get. To give you credit, you do climb to the rooftop,” I beam at this, “but all you do is whisper.” The beam wipes itself out. “You pause at each plant on your way, pick up the fallen flowers, smell them, ponder over them, and stroll when you should be screaming, shouting, yelling and racing ahead.”
“I like that, I mean picking the flowers and enjoying the fragrance… that’s how I like to be.”
“DUH.” It hear it mumble as it straightens, “I think I am wasting my time.” It makes one last attempt. “Why don’t you, at least, post these links to your social networking sites several times over the week, instead of just once in your lifetime? Send a mail to a few people when you write something worth reading? Haven’t you seen people do that?”
“Won’t my friends call me a spammer?”
Its shoulders droop. “There. I can’t explain any more. I am exhausted. Some day you will realise how right I was.”

Are all alter-egos this snobby, snorty and sniffy?

“Let me tell you something else,” it says in a tone that’s no longer mild. “If this goes on, I may leave you. Like, forever.”
“Ha,” I finally get the upperhand, “you can’t do that. You’re my alter-ego. MY alter-ego.”

It makes a sound like a forlorn sigh but its eyes gleam with mirth. “You can never say. One of these days, if I get a better offer, I may…”
This time it’s my jaw that drops. The shapeless smoke begins to fade with a chuckle that reverberates long after it vanishes.

Snorty, sniffy, superior or not, I really think the fella has a point…