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My silent friend, I know I’m going to dread every moment of this conversation but I have a story to tell you and like all of them, it also began on a cold winter night. It isn’t a love story, well technically it is. I do not wish to tell another story about meeting the love of my life.
No, it is a story about life. It is a story about my love affair with writing.
“A word after a word after a word after a word is power – Margaret Atwood.”
Every cliché in the book you can think of and I’m pretty sure that has been a part of my life. We call them clichés for a reason, right? Convenient, common clichés. But all of them taught me one profound lesson.
“Man is most conflicted when his inner peace meets his conflicted rage.” There are thousand moments in my life that fit that metaphor perfectly. There are torturous memories full of agony that would have destroyed me. But they didn’t. There’s a clichéd metaphor, “Where there is will, there is a way.” But it wasn’t my will that saved me from my own turmoil. It was the knack for words.
Long ago, I figured out a way. Life teaches us all different lessons. I never had the option of running away from my pain. I had to live with the agony that my life was. There wasn’t any other alternative. Running away from home wasn’t a viable option. It possibly couldn’t have been.
Certain memories, they only tear you from the inside. Which ones, that isn’t relevant right now.
I had too many and rather than running from them, I captured all of them. Every little detail, every little scar, I captured it in perfect detail. But I didn’t do that by creating a mind castle and storing them in my long term memory. I captured them the way mankind captured the knowledge of centuries. I wrote them all out.
When I was young, I stained pages after pages with words because that was all I could do. Those words, filled with pain and guilt, were the only thing that made me feel better. Those words gave me a reason to live.
I must have been the most conflicted man in the history of time. People try to forget their pain and there I was, a seventeen year old boy, obsessing over his pain. In his words, capturing all that caused him trouble. People love making up their past. A story full of fabricated fiction. I cannot do that because I wrote it all out.
There are so many little things we do, so many little things we own, in the end we are just a sum of those things. In the end, those little things end up being who we are. In my words, I have captured my entire life.
For someone who liked writing so much, I often struggled with letting anyone read my words. The world of written words isn’t a glorious world. The world of literature is often the forgotten one. This world isn’t filled with guns, lasers, mechanical suits or flying drones. It is the world of stained pages.
Let me share a little poem with you, bear with me for a little more.
“The Man of Shadow
Show me the way little angel,
Walk with me,
For my shadow abandoned me long ago.
My little angel,
Lead me away from my torn conflicts.
Undo the pain I’ve hidden,
My silence of denial.
Nothing is forgiven,
Tempting my will to burn bright.
Losing under piece of me in an abstract canvas.
Echoes of shattered dreams blind me,
In season of decay,
In hollow words.
Tethered mind kneels down,
Free from bounds.
You and me,
We walk on complicated lines.”
Believe it or not, I wrote it during a normal day at work, in a session fuelled with coffee. Albeit those word give another clue. To an unknown reader, those words must have felt like the work of a depressed soul. A writer who had nothing happy in his life to look forward to. I have no idea why I called it “The Man of Shadow”, but it captured the overall essence perfectly.
That poem contains a little hint of sensibility to it. Creative genius, maybe not, but it is sensible. Now considering that you’ve read all of it and you’re still attentive, here’s another one.
“I would like to believe that today I started writing even before putting a word into this particular note. God, I can be such an idiot sometimes. I mean who talks to themselves through written notes. Most probably, a psychotic imbecile.
There is a quote by Margaret Mead, it goes something like this, “Children must be taught how to think, not what to think. The reason why I remembered that little quote is because of this little boy I am observing right now. I don’t know, maybe he’ll be ten, eleven, I guess.
What sort of country do I live in? There is this eleven year old boy, who is pushing a cart filled to brim with bananas. I don’t know, it must be atleast hundred kilogram. Maybe more. We talk about right to education and saying no to child labour. Here is this boy, whose trousers are continuously giving up on him. It’s almost comical. He is pushing the cart while his trouser is slipping down.
He pushes the cart a little and then he stops to pull his trousers up. Ugh, it looks so sweet.
Where was I? Child labour. Yeah, so in a family where there is most likely seven children, one wife and overly sick parents, a father is bound to ask his elder son for help. Sometimes when that isn’t enough, he asks the younger ones. That is the reality of those below the poverty line.
We speak so much about making this country incredible again, but those are the people who practice their speech while sitting in a room chilled with air-conditioning.
The reality and the principles, they do not match and never will. That is the harsh reality of this country.”
In case you found my little write-up to be rather horrible, my silent friend, let me clarify something. The little bit of writing that I do is what I would consider average even on my best days. Even after so much practice, my writing prowess is still one dimensional.
But I still write.
One of those write-ups captured the sensibility, another captured the rush. The need to capture the moment.
“We write to taste life twice, in the moment and in retrospect – Anais Nin.”
The point is this, writing, in its purest form, is cathartic. When you write down your most basal thoughts, your desires, things that bother you, and everything else under the sun that somehow influences your life, you realize or confront a part of you that you never knew existed. Am I making sense so far?
Layers, my dear, layers, everything consists of layers and writing unravels them one at a time.