Wednesday, January 20, 2016

To Write or Not To Write

1:25 AM on a cold January night. Despite the cover my feet are cold and fingers numb. On the bedside table are two new books awaiting my attention. Outside the mist has turned into fog and its crispness is wafting in through the window along with the occasional call of the night watchman's whistle. It is the perfect setting to snuggle up with a book, except I cannot sleep -- or read. Bored, I ping the only person I know who will be awake now. Turns out even she is in bed. To keep me away, she tells me to write something. It has been a while she says. But I do not know if I should write. Or what.

Many years ago, while still in school, my friends and I had once came across a note in one of our teacher's diary. Scribbled in pencil, it seemed to be a tale of her life and read something like this, 'He beat me up again, this time in front of the children. I don't know how long it will continue and what can I do about this..' I remember it sending a chill down my spine -- of fear, rage, surprise. We spent the following weeks planning to rescue her and her children but could not think of anything substantial. In the end we confided in our mothers. To our surprise they took it casually and most of them unanimously said one thing: the teacher might have written a piece of fiction . I am not sure if that was fiction or fact that I had read twenty years ago, but I do feel like that teacher often -- no, not because I am beaten up, but because I am forever being judged on what I write. 

When I started this blog 7 years ago, I had kept it a secret. It was my refuge from the chaos of the world. It was my personal haven into which I escaped when it became tough to face the real world. In this time, I transformed into other people, sometimes I became a longing lover, sometimes, a heartbroken friend; I wrote about people close to my heart and about things that mattered. I wrote to let go. I also realised something: writing set me free, it help me shed my inhibitions, come out of my complexes, voice my opinions, be who I really was without caring about judgements. 

Then, three years ago, when I went back to writing, I shared this space with some close friends. These were people I trusted and so was not worried of being judged. They knew all that was there to know about me, they had loved me through good times and bad, they had seen my best and my worst. All was well. 

But as they say it is the fire in your belly that makes or breaks you. The fire inside mine forced me to open up to the world, slowly and steadily, one post at a time. Although I often wondered what picture would my writing paint of me, especially to those who did not know me, I still let myself go: those who knew me, knew me well enough, those who did not, did not matter. Seems that I was wrong.

In the past few months I have received some very interesting comments on my posts. Most of them accusational, venomous, vicious. Some have made judgements on my morality, some have questioned my integrity, while some have gone to the extent of calling me an immoral wife and a selfish mother. As someone who has always towed the line created by the society, and respected the boundaries of relationships, these comments shocked me: what I had always feared had come true.

Perhaps that is why, knowingly or unknowingly, I stopped returning to this space. I wrote for the paper, I wrote for the magazine, I wrote for other's blogs, but I feared coming back to mine: what if I am struck again?

But then, the ignorant perhaps do not know that being a writer means being different people at different times. It also means being a lot of people at one time. Being a writer means bringing to life the deepest and the most complex emotions, which sometimes could be yours, sometimes could be others', and sometimes of the person you are being at the time.

What being a writer does not mean however is that you are going through everything you write about. If you write about being in love, it does not essentially mean you are in love. If you write about agony, it does not mandatorily translate into your being in pain. When you write about ecstasy it doesn't imply that you are jumping with joy. All it means is: you are capable of feeling and bringing the emotion forth. Something that the library teacher was perhaps very good at.
And so I am back, to the familiar sound of my cold fingers on the keyboard, to being who I truly am. The detractors be damned.


  1. Hey, don't know how addicted I am to your blog. I like the way you write. Just don't think about the critics. Cheers!

  2. Seriously Bhuti...why are u wasting time justifying to jackasses ...spend the valuable time writing ..thats what u do best

  3. Awesome girl, following u since long and you can' imagine, you made me addicted to your blog. That's it, i am going to start writing blogs to :D.

  4. Thank You, Deepika! And do start writing.