Though I have always been writing since my adolescence, and winning awards for it too, I took up fiction writing only very recently. One year ago, to be precise. I came up with a website, posted about a dozen short stories, did the usual stuff of putting up stories on Wattpad and Figment, and then debuted with Maya’s New Husband. The reviews I received along the journey egged me on to keep writing, and now there’s definitely no looking back.
This rainy morning, I like recording why I took up writing in the first place. Why writing? Why the change of tracks from teaching? Here are ten inferences I made.
- Last year, this epiphany struck me out of the blue — “What legacy am I going to leave behind?” I’m plum into middle-age at the moment, and hopefully have a long way to go, but still this question began to bother me. Don’t want to become another faceless name on a tombstone. It would be so much awesome if I can leave something behind that could be a talking point even after I am gone. That’s my biggest incentive for writing.
- I am a creative person. I want to make new things, want to give people something new that they haven’t seen or experienced before. Writing is the best outlet for my creativity.
- I have always had a way with words. In most of the groups I have been, during discussions, I would say the same thing as the others but in a way that would make a better impact. Even in normal conversation, I might occasionally pause for a better word. All this takes you in a particular direction.
- English is my language of writing (though I have written a few things in Hindi as well) and I love English. I am grateful to English for being in this world, for being a part of my life. Writing something in this language is my humble way of paying tribute to it.
- I have stories. Yes, I have stories in my mind. And if I don’t write them, who will?
- I don’t know why, but people have always been telling me to write. Roy, my brother, has always told me that; and even Anita, my wife, told me that when she knew me for just a few weeks. And then there are tons of my friends and students who have been on my case about it. I think I give off those writerly vibes.
- I still enjoy teaching, but I don’t enjoy the business it has become. Being forced to teach things that are blatantly wrong and even corrupting is not just me. I cannot put the knowledge I have lovingly amassed over these years aside and teach something that is fundamentally wrong. The decision to quit teaching got me thinking seriously about writing.
- My family environment when I was growing up was such that I was inundated by books. My father bought every book that appealed to him (this was back in the 80s and 90s) in the slightest. The Lord alone knows what he’d have done now in this age where eBooks are so easily accessible from your computer chair. But, his undying love for books and his fascination with them somehow gave me a subliminal message: Books are what you must write if you really want appreciation. So call it daddy issues or whatever, but somehow his reverence for books subtly coerced me to write, and, boy, am I happy about that!
- The very idea of being a part of a writers’ community tickles me silly! We writers aren’t the stereotypical kurta-clad, jhola-carrying Neanderthals as depicted in movies, but we are actually a very jolly lot, teasing and teaching each other. Everyone has an opinion, which makes it all the more fun. And you get to read so many things for free.
- Getting known was the last incentive. It is a surreal experience to see your name in someone’s hands. I think I’ll have arrived when I see the vendors at the street signals selling pirated versions of my book. Yes, waiting for that to happen someday!