Read, Write, Live

Reading has been something as essential as breathing. Always. It started from comics at a young age. Comics were frowned upon in those times. They did not have the acceptance they have today; now, they are crucibles of creativity and it can be imagined that the kids reading them today would graduate to reading and perhaps writing the graphic novels so popular in this age.

Well, we were told not to read them too much. Pocket money was limited and there were only a small number that we could buy on a regular basis. But we were enterprising. We children believed in pooling our resources (a rather sought after skill these days). We read our comics and then exchanged them. When we had read all from our immediate friends, we tried getting introduced to friends of friends. Then, we transcended age groups. I remember clambering over the brick wall of my best friend to get to her neighbour’s house because she told me that he had a huge pile of comics that we had never read.

Well, my imagination was fertile. And soon I graduated to magazines for children. ‘Champak’ was my favourite. I was crazy about the ‘Amar Chitra Katha’ series. There were ‘Tinkle’ and Chandamama’. In Hindi. ‘Chacha Choudhary’, ‘Pinki’ were my friends in the comics. ‘Panchtantra’ tales fed my musings.

Then came the abridged classics. I read so many of them. My teacher in the fifth grade presented me with ‘Oliver Twist’ as a reward for a completed assignment. I am so grateful to Mrs. Virdi for introducing to the great works. I am still hooked.

Yin is balanced by Yang. Anybody who reads has to write some day. They are simply two sides of the same coin. So, my life has been governed by these two passions. This led to me choosing the title of ‘Read, Write, Live’ on my blog. As for the tagline, there is nothing as satisfying as expressing oneself be it through colours, camera, clay or words. I salute every single person who is engaged in self expression, whatever it may be.

The Journey So Far

I was unbelievably restless! I felt I had to write. Just write. Take those words out of my mind where they had been careening around; spew them out on a paper or whatever. I wanted to recognise my thoughts in the physical world. I wanted to examine them to see if they were real.

I had visions of writing for hours on end. In a secluded mountain cottage. Only a forest around. A clear stream. Chirping birds and the rustle of the bushes as animals darted in and out. A clichéd setting, no doubt and note that it was all pleasant. Even the animals I expected to come around the cottage were not wild or dangerous. I had a feeling that only the act of writing and expressing myself would put my mind to rest. I thought of words like ‘posterity’ and even ‘immortality’. There were so many things unsaid, so many emotions unrecorded. I imagined myself penning down my legacy.

I had a few questions as well. Was I coherent? Was I readable? Writing (create a blog perhaps) and have others read it would help me find out. So, with a little push and a lot of trepidation, I decided to write for an audience. But I was not an intrepid writer. For days, I was paralysed at the prospect of anybody in the world looking at my words. But slowly, with practice, things got better.

I was and still am an intensely private person. I knew that as I wrote I would draw from my life experience and facts about me would tumble out. On my blog, I created the most obscure ‘About’ page ever.

I started by writing why I was here on a public platform and a little about my life till now. I talked of my peripatetic existence and how I needed to find roots. I was trying to find an anchor by writing.

I have been here for some months now. I am not very prolific but then I have not been idle too. I have been fortunate that my posts get read by a few. I have been enriched with the interaction I have had with my fellow bloggers. Every few days, I have an ‘Aha’ moment when I find a fascinating read, an entirely new idea, a captivating story. And the people behind the excellence.

But many things have changed. Things I write about and the way I put forth my views. I still hide behind the facelessness of the internet but now I have a voice and a take that is uniquely mine. I have opened up a bit, online and offline. Before, I needed a pen and paper alone to bring me out of my misery but now I can make do with my keyboard and my screen.

I may be more articulate and better at structuring my pieces now but I am more aware that I am being read and that even through my writing I project an image. So, these days I do not free-write. I dam the flow at times, so that it all does not tumble out at once and in an unmanageable flow. I can express myself but am I still a free soul? Do I bleed?