I write because I don't know any other way.
I write because my fingers hurt if I don't and my mind doesn't rest till it's out on paper.
I don't think whether it will please my parents, or whether it's going to win a Booker or whether it will truly be the best piece of writing I've ever done.
I write because it makes me human. It's my heart's way of expressing itself.
There is a Bengali custom called annaprasan in which the child of 6 months touches objects placed in front of him/her to determine what he will "do" for the rest of his life. I touched the pen.
And my grandfather said, "She will be a writer." I could not have cared less abt what I'm going to become. I wrote because I needed to. I wrote poems that didn’t make sense to anyone but me. I wrote books on spiral pads about people who touched me and I wrote songs that I would make my brother sing loudly at parties.
I was someone and I felt something because I wrote.
I would get up in the middle of the night and write thoughts that came into my head, dreams that were disjointed, rhymes that came from a consciousness I didn't know existed.
I wrote a diary for years. Everyday. Things that made me smile, things that troubled me, things that could be better. I made a diary after diary of my life. I kept it locked away. Like all my other writing work. I didn't want to show it to the world...not even the people closest to me. It was mine. It was private. It was not meant for public scrutiny. I didn't want the criticism on it. I didn't need the feedback.
I directed instead. Ads, documentaries, assisted in films. I did those things for a "living.” I got flak. I didn't care. It made me stronger. I wanted to prove that I could be the best at it. I worked 18 hour days, week after week, year after year. Even when I had a few nervous breakdowns at why I didn't get what I wanted.
And I would come home numb from exhaustion, bruised from the reprimands and broken from the penury and that's when I could do only one thing. I wrote.
I sat down and filled those spiral pages with stories of people and places and my feelings to all of it. Till I went to sleep. Till I knew my heart was happy for a few hours.
And then it happened.
I decided...very hesitatingly...that maybe I should show something to the world...
And I wrote an idea out. An idea that came from a conversation. An idea that had bearings to my own life. A story that a few people might be able to identify with.
And I wrote out the first chapter of my book.
It didn't have a title then. It was just this idea.
And it developed, like my life into something larger. I kept it closely guarded. Afraid that if I show it to someone they will tear it down. Afraid that my life would become like the protagonist, or worse the protagonist would become like me.
But I wrote, concentrating on just the feelings of my characters. The actions would come later. The mind doesn't really know Love. Only the heart does. And that was my beginning.
I deleted more than I wrote. I began to think that unless it was the best piece I've written, it should be trashed. I researched and the feelings turned into style.
That was not me.
Proper conjunction of sentences, correct grammar, immaculate spelling, and the mind of a Master's degree looming in the background killed it. I always wrote because no one was looking. It was my secret place. And now it had to be all those things that I could not fathom I would be.
And it finished.
And I sent it to the trash.
And I started. Yet again. Being true to myself. And I wrote the whole book again in less time than it took to finish the first draft. Because this time, I knew why I was doing it.
I know that the editors have made it "correct". I know what my mistakes were. They insisted. I understood.
And all I said was, "Don't lose the essence of what it's really meant to say in the perfect way to say it."
My soul was out there. For all to see. To criticise and hate. This was it.
And now as I wait for the reactions to come back, I know that my heart will not be able to take the dissension...and yet I will be strong enough to live another day.
To write once more.
No looking back.
I had touched the pen.