A couple of interesting essays I read this week:
Every night, the fish would lie above her, and wouldn’t move.
It wasn’t a small creature, not something out of a domestic aquarium she could flick away with a finger. It covered the length of her, perhaps more – she couldn’t tell where the tail ended. In the dark, its eyes glowed a dim silver. She caught it in a dream, one night, in which she found herself on an island with a lake in the centre. And in the lake, the fish. Dull, ugly mud brown. Round–nosed and heavy. With a pair of long prehistoric antennae. It had, she supposed, followed her back. For here it was. Looming above her, almost touching, slippery, shiny yet dry, fins rippling, its gills quietly working the air. When she’d fall asleep, from exhaustion, and awake in the smoggy Delhi dawn, it’d be gone. Dispersed by daylight.
Then, she could see the window at the foot of her bed. The one everybody passed on their way up, or down, for her room was just off the curving staircase of the paying guest accommodation she lived in. Hers was the only single with a tiny attached bathroom. The others shared by young women working mostly at call centres and advertising agencies. She could hear them, on their way to the dining room or the terrace, in twos and threes, chatting in Hindi, their slippers slapping hard against the marble steps.
Read the full story here
Read the full poem here
10 year reflection:
Grateful for the kind people I have met, literary opportunities and more…
[2008- Crucial year as I participated in two school writing contests (Intra and inter) and won trophies for both- my first ever. I had never won trophies or medals. I had an inferiority complex as my friends were super talented. They were toppers and excelled in extra curricular activities. What am I good at? I kept asking myself. Finally, I dared to participate in the last year of school. I told myself it’s now or never. Glad I did, winning the contests gave me confidence and helped me in the journey I would take the next year.]
I left home (Bahrain) for Bangalore- a whole different world. I’m glad my parents sent me. Some of my friends’ parents refused to send them to study further in India because it seemed too scary. I learnt to live the hostel life, deal with home-sickness, assess people better… Started journaling…
I was anxious of losing touch with close friends from Bahrain. In the next year, I also got in touch with school mates with whom I didn’t know that well before, thanks to Facebook.
I started watching a lot of South Indian movies which I never did before.
While I studied commerce in college, I started browsing online magazines and remember feeling envious of author bios. I was already into reading but I didn’t write as much. ( I had written doggerel in school, passing out printouts to friends. Stories just like the Goosebumps books I was addicted to. My parents always encouraged my reading and writing, providing feedback from their frame of reference. I still didn’t know if I had potential or was I just another wannabe writer? )
In Bangalore, the need to write and get published was really strong. I joined the literary association, represented my college and participated in inter-college events and even won some. Thanks to the supportive English staff at the college, I was told I have potential.
This post is to highlight the importance of kind and honest (being kind doesn’t mean they don’t give you honest critique, ‘kind’ means encouraging) people in one’s life. I’m grateful for them. As I wasn’t studying literature, my enthusiasm for learning the craft and reading good stuff to learn from, impressed the staff.
The friendships I developed in Bangalore are for a lifetime. I bonded with cousins whom I had rarely met before, they helped me get through bad days because of the food, weather etc.
I did both Bcom and MBA in Bangalore from different colleges. Enjoyed the exposure provided by both. I’d travel alone to book cafes, lit events…having never travelled anywhere alone in Bahrain, this was huge for me, I was a different person.
Driven by my enthusiasm to attend literary events and the like I started visiting Atta Galatta which became my favourite hangout. Panel discussions, author meets, book launches, plays etc…
Some fond memories from Bangalore (and trips to Bombay):
1) Bangalore Lit Fest- Met Gulzar ji, Jahnavi Barua and other writers
2) Participated in lit fests in IIM-B. Sitting on the famous chair from 3 idiots.
3) Conducted a creative writing workshop
4) Participated in a spoken word poetry event by Airplane Poetry Movement
5) Featured poet at Urban Solace
6) Book shopping at Blossoms
7) Represented my college at XIME for debate despite my stage fright
8) Thanks to DJ nights in college, started dancing uninhibitedly in company
9) Appreciated my family better only after seeing it from a distance
10) Attended Comic Con
11) Having fun with friends/family
12) Publication in college magazines
I’m more patient, I now know that it takes time to produce good work and editing is far more important that writing itself. Publication is just a bonus and that writing feeds the need to create. I now value reading both genre and literary work, There’s a lot to learn from both. I have started watching foreign language films…
To conclude, I’m back home and without having left home in 2009, without having met the awesome people that I did, offline and online, I wouldn’t be what I am today. From not having written anything of value in 2009, I now have multiple publications in journals I admire.
Thank you for being part of my journey!