August Encounters

So, I decide to share bits and pieces of my old writing here, because, it feels good to read what I wrote many years ago. This is one such. It talks about how I found my feet as a writer — and am glad, I am still writing. 

August, somehow, happens to be an overwhelming month for me. That I was born in August probably is the main reason (birthdays always make one happy and sad, at the same time), but also many, many significant events in my life seem to happen around this time of the year. It is also the time when the season changes and the rains finally come in to quench the parched soul of the earth and its inhabitants (at least in my part of the world), and the world in general looks happy and cheerful. That I should start — or restart — writing in august then, should not be considered a coincidence but a design of the destiny perhaps.

Last august, just after returning from my latest trip to Calcutta and Jamshedpur, after having fulfilled my responsibilities as a daughter, sister, daughter-in-law and wife, after managing two and a half weddings, a childbirth, a restaurant opening and many other such things, I was finally at peace of having dispensed my duties and was itching to do something with my life which had, according to me, become rather staid. That is when I discovered writing, or writing discovered me. 

As a compulsively distracted person, I had been randomly reading through parts of certain books from my husband’s massive collection, trying hard to find something that could sustain my attention, when I came across one such book, and that book led me to another, which in turn led me to a delightful blog from the same author. Until then, let me be honest, I found the blog business quite silly: people writing about random things that hardly made sense. But this was different, reading through the many posts, it felt like I was talking to my reflection but what struck me most was the fact that one could write about the most mundane things and turn them into objects of delight: it’s how you make your readers look at it. 

My first piece however was not about the mundane but introspection on the ever changing facets of life. The following pieces were attempts at building up a story, interjected with some random thoughts that had been breeding in my mind. Not having many friends, leading a lonely life of a wife and a mother who had only her two little girls to talk to had left much in my mind that was unsaid, and it seemed to be manifesting in the blog now. Looking back, some of them seem silly (so much for judging other blogs), but then they helped unclog my mind and let the fresh blood of ideas and imagination run though its veins. 

While on one hand I was doing what I had always dreamt of, on the other, I was doing something that I never thought I could: I read more than ever before. Books had never been my friends, just passing acquaintances who I would turn to only in times of need. I found them boring and constricting: the time that you spend on finishing a book can very well be used to finish so many other things. But now I saw them as teachers, who taught me what to say and how to say. I read more for the style than for the content, I read to learn, I read to be inspired, I read for pleasure even. The more I read, the more I wanted to write. The more I wrote, the more it helped me to discover and develop my style of writing, to find my voice.

And so in the last one year, I managed to do what I had always dreamt of: I wrote over 60 pieces for the blog, some short stories for Femina and a few articles for the papers (the latter being my biggest dream). I also bought many books, primarily in my favorite genre: Indian fiction. I added in my collection the books from Tagore to Ray, from Premchand to Manto, from R.K Narayan to Khushwant Singh and built my own collection of travel books too: Dalrymple, Threoux, Alter all became my friends and allies. 

As another august begins today, I cannot help but look back at how eventful the last year has been, how much it has changed me as a person, how it has helped me fulfill a dream that had been locked up in some deep dungeon of my heart for years. As another august begins, I cannot help but dream again — dream to write a book, and hope it does not take as many years to fulfill.

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