Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Why Writing Matters and Stories Too

 I started writing as an awkward teenager, when the arduous journey of going to school and back, multiple tuitions and the ordeal of having a few classmates who used to come and ask me to make them read the “dirty parts” of a Sidney Sheldon book, seemed too much to handle.
Neither was I a class topper, nor a back bencher, floating through lessons as if they didn't matter. Of course, coming to think of it, calculus didn’t actually matter, but 2+2 sure does, even today. But I used to be perpetually excited about English classes, ready with my fancy mechanical pencil and eraser, to copiously scribble down what Shelley, Yeats or a Wordsworth thought while writing those beautiful verses, which still make me regret not pursuing a degree in English.
Anyway, getting back to how and why I started writing. A few months into my menstrual cycle (of course you did NOT need to know that), I was head over heels for a guy, about whom I knew nothing. I used to text spam him, bombarding the poor lad with a zillion messages from my landline number. It's not something I am acutely proud of, but when nothing worked out, I started writing. And it wasn't any of your morbid, sleazy passages about getting my heart broken. Instead, I kept recollecting the night when he danced like a dream in front of me, while I was PMSing and writhing with cramps. Those few hours, they were perfect. And the reason I remember them so vividly is because nine years back, I choose to write about it. (Man I feel like an old dame no!)
As I moved to college, my writing slowly changed from being like an acoustic cover of a Taylor Swift song, to something which slightly reflected the kind of person I was growing into. Instead of stalking random strangers, I started stalking strangers who also happened to fantastic journalists, writers, activists, and yes, feminists.
During my first college internship, I briefly worked with an organisation which worked towards eradicating prostitution. I was scared for my dear life, when I stepped into a red-light area for the first time in my life. The dingy alleys, the dark staircases, men strewn on floor. All of it made me acutely aware of the fact that struggle is such a never-ending process. And of how it is possible, to take charge of our lives, bodies and most importantly our souls when we want and how we want.
Three years have whirled by, I have written about bird hospitals, distressed jeans, spoken to authors whose books I love, some whose novels I have never read and plays which make me laugh alongside an audience of whom I know none.
I have enjoyed most of it, but at times, writing too feels like an obligation for which I am paid, and hence expected to churn out pieces which can be suitable for the palette of over a lakh people. That's why, when you do a fantastic story at work, mostly nobody notices, but one mistake and chappals are out, ready to dismiss your sheer existence.
The struggle these days, however, is mostly to catch up with the kind of writing, which I once couldn't do without. Exploding into a piece of paper, but never dissolving with it. Even if page gets lost, the essence of your inner exploration never does. So as I write this, during peak production hours, I wonder what if I didn't meet that pimply lad in a black blazer dancing on a Himesh Reshammiya song, would I still write?
I guess I still would. 

One of the most cheerful and nice authors whom I came across recently told me, "The act of writing is a joy in itself. It’s a very intriguing process of creation where ideas and incidents take over. You start with nothing and something comes out of it and you become a medium to write a story, one that needs to be told."
And even if it's your own story, especially if you write a blog like I do, you would be surprised to know how one's life stories can resonate across countries. Even if it's a nonchalant view alert from a country, whose name you hadn't heard of before, you realise how we all are but stories, and that in spite of wars, heartbreaks and separations, a moment which was once felt, observed and lived through, will float around as molecular tales, waiting to stumble into and happen in someone else’s life. 

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