Sunday, June 7, 2015

New No More

This blog was created in the winter of 2009 during the toughest and loneliest period of my life. I had just turned thirty, had a baby, moved cities. I was also dealing with immense turmoil. With no one to talk to, I had turned to my own conscience to help me through my writing. For the few months that I wrote, I had written some brutally honest pieces about my life. They were not the best pieces of writing, but they were me in my truest form. Perhaps that is why I had decided to call it Love, Life, etc: that was all that mattered back then.

The blog was revived four years later, exactly 22 months ago, when life took me back to the phase. Only this time I had no work to worry about (although that is a worry in itself) but another child and many more responsibilities. And I had once again started to crumble under the weight of self induced wounds.

The first thing I did when I decided to revive the blog was to rename it: I had suddenly found Love, Life, etc very cheesy. In the rush to share it with the world -- and one person in particular -- I called it New Beginning. I wanted a better, more mature name, but I was, as always, in a hurry. And thus New Beginning was born. Since it was supposed to be a fresh start, I also deleted most of what was on the blog barring two pieces -- one about myself and one about a woman I greatly loved and admired. How I wish I had left the others too!

Those who know me know that my one and only dream in life was to write for a paper. It had taken shape one fine morning when I saw my name -- and accompanied article on Sex Education in Lucknow Times. What a high it was to see my name in print! From then on my pieces became regular, although in a contributors coloumn, and my dream more and more vivid: everyday while driving to college I would look at the majestic white HT building on Ashok Marg and secretly promise myself to be there in a few months. I would picture myself in the field chasing stories with a fountain pen and notebook in hand. I would see myself among the bigwigs of journalism sitting around a huge table discussing politics and crime. Once in Delhi, my ambition soared and I graduated from the Ashok Marg office to the Kasturba Gandhi Marg Office -- all in my dream. 

But what is a dream that is not broken? Or a promise that is kept? 

My inability to get into IIMC took me away from writing, it also helped that I had a job in hand, in a world-class company no less -- something I hadn't even dreamt of. I promptly abandoned my dream, broke the promises made to myself to set out on the path destiny had chosen for me. For the next ten years I lived the corporate life that gave me everything which journalism could not have, including a husband. 

They say that your first love keeps haunting you throughout your life. You might find your true love or a soul mate, even a partner but you still yearn for your first love, especially if it happens to be unfulfilled. Even after finding my soul mate and partner in training, writing kept calling me, more so in times of despair. And maybe that is why I returned to it. 

The first piece I wrote after my four year hiatus, was about the ever changing face of life. The following were part fiction part life. And ones after that a mere out-pour of negativity and frustration. I still remember my only writer friend telling me, "Your writing has a lot of anger, curb it. People do not want to read angry stuff. They have enough of their own." For once I did not care. "I write for myself, not people!" I remember snapping at him. 

If you browse through the pieces written in 2013, a long list of forty-four in just four months, you will find traces of anger, frustration, negativity, turmoil, and immaturity. But then they only reflected what I was undergoing. The ones that came later, towards the beginning on 2014 are much more calm in comparison -- in a matter of four months, writing had helped me become calmer and happier. I was finally looking forward to something.

While my initial pieces -- about fifty of them -- are raw and spontaneous, the ones that came later, in the beginning of 2014, much more thought through. I still remember those months. I would toil for weeks to come up with one piece. There were days I went without lunch and nights when I only had water. I would sit at the table, typing with my ice-cold fingers on long winter nights. I would read books and blogs incessantly for inspiration and would frame and re-frame my sentences until I found them compelling enough for the reader -- even though I knew hardly anyone read them. Looking back, I think I wrote them for no one else but myself: I wanted to prove I was still capable of doing something.

The hard work slowly started to reap benefits. My first story, I had sent it tentatively, was published in Femina in Decemebr, a few more, written a little more seriously, followed soon after. I had also started helping a friend with his books, the exposure not only tested my patience and stamina but also strengthened my skill. With my new found knowledge and exposure I started to write longer, more relevant pieces. But all of this was still only on my blog.

And then one fine day, a year and a week ago, I saw my name in the papers.

While it is not easy to give up on your dream, it becomes even more difficult to walk away when you have even slightest of hope of it turning into reality. Seeing my name in the paper after fifteen long years had given me hope too and I left everything to turn it into reality.

In the last few months therefore I have thought only about writing for the paper. I have worked on the story ideas for weeks, wrote for days, and waited for months for them to be published. While I know my writing is good enough, I also have to make sure it is relevant. A paper after all is not my blog. I have along the way started writing for others too. But everywhere I am dependent on people and processes, and uncertain if -- and when -- my work will see the light of the day. I put all my heart and soul into a piece not knowing if I will ever get to see it in print. But I dream on. For only when you dream can you turn them into reality.

Meanwhile every-time I have to practice something, or pour my heart out I return to my blog for here I can be myself. And sometimes I need just that.

P.S. This happens to be my hundredth post on the blog. I had planned a lofty piece to celebrate it (after all who will if I won't), and had been working on it laboriously. But as it is with writing, it hardly goes the way you want it to. So here I am with another piece from my heart and not my mind. Hopefully the lofty piece shall see the light of the day too sooner than later.

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