Today, as I was lying on my bed lazily, toying with different ideas- about literature. Stuff I would probably write about, creating scenarios,plots, those small sentences that can create an impact ( writers pleasure) etc..
A sudden thought struck me. Where did all this actually start from? From when did I decide that I would write things occasionally?
Rewinding back to early teenage years, I don’t remember trying to write things with this vigour, being this feverish.
It was along the secondary school days (Saint Peters Senior Secondary School, Kadayiruppu). When I was in Class X.15 years of age at that point of time. I wasn’t much of a writer(still not am, but a lot more confident). I did scribble at times,
write a few bit here and there. I was a voracious reader. I devoured books- except text books. I read a lot. OK, you get it. But to me, it was an entire different world. Escaping into this wonderful words, where authors created characters humans and diverse. It was my way of getting high.
Anyway, one grant day,I strolled through the library, looking for a random book…
Have I ever told I how I chose books from the library?
Maybe its just me, but in most cases, I don’t look up a book and go fetch it. You see, I had no computer at home.
I did not search in the internet for stuff like- What are the top science fiction books? What books would you recommend a 15 year old? There were no rule books, no one to recommend anything.
No. I chose books at random. Given the probabilities,and the books that were present in the school library, I loved it.
I walked around the library. I ran my fingers over the books. I touched. I felt. Some books would catch my attention. Usually its the title. Single titled books usually never caught my attention.
But,as I was saying, one fine December evening, strolling through the library, my eyes fell on a blue cover book. It was slightly thick. Some inner voice immediately said, grab it! grab it now!
I complied. I read the title. It was called Snow. Written by Orhan Pamuk.
Of course I didn’t know about this great author. I didn’t know he was Turkish,or that this was translated. I read the synopsis in the back. Something about a journalist investigating suicides in Turkey. What was so much to write about this? I thought. Also since it was December, the name snow sounded intriguing, decided to give it a try.
Went home, and started reading it the same day. Beginning was slow, but then, it started growing on me. Here was the story of some fictional guy, whose thoughts and actions, resembled that of mine. I was surprised, happy, ecstatic. After hundreds of book, I encountered something that I could personally identify with. Perhaps it was because
I had a crush on a beautiful girl, and I felt sympathy for the character. Whatever.
After I finished the book, I couldn’t sit still. Ideas were swirling in my head. I couldn’t point my finger on what was wrong. Something was amiss. Something needed to be done. And i grabbed a pen and started scribbling something. I became furious. The pen was not moving fast enough for my thoughts. I couldn’t get the correct word I was looking for.
I remember striking out long lines just because I couldn’t find a suitable word, or just because I wanted to use this cool word I’ve learned.I hated looking at the dictionary(Yes, peculiar for someone who wants to write). When I ended up putting my pen down, my fingers were shaking, but I was at peace. I knew, or had a glimpse of, what an artist felt like.
And there folks, blossomed what I will fondly remember, my first pieces of literature. Unfortunately, the books where I had written the stories were school note books. They were given away end of the year. Summer came, exams were over, and it was time for playing all round. Writing took a back step, and I didn’t think much of what I had written.
Come next year, class XI found myself giving name for the story writing contest as well as for poem. I was surprised that I actually had the courage! My friends were like, Of course!
You read all those damn thick books. You were prone to write at some point!
So I went and wrote all four- story and poem in English and Malayalam(my native language). And lo and behold, I won both story writing.
But the biggest surprise for me was a week later, when my previous Malayalam teacher, Mrs Bindhu, called upon me. I was strolling after lunch( not stalking my crush, I swear!)
She pulled me to one side, and said, Praveen, I read your story, and its absolutely stunning,well beyond my age.
It was a story about a drunk man who has an accident,and his last moments.My face must have been so red then!
I was pleased beyond myself. That was the first compliment I received that felt true, and it found a niche in my heart.
She said I had a great future, and that I should write more. But since I was in XI, she didn’t say too much.
I was on cloud nine the day. Beaming all around like a child who just got ice cream. A teacher, one who is on top of her subject, congratulates me on something I had written? Great Scott! I felt like the king of the world.
Ever since then, I swore to myself, I will never give up writing. Be it a line or two, I will always write something if I liked it. From then on, in all my books, papers, textbooks,along the pages and most definitely in the last page of the book, you will find something scribbled down. Please note that I didn’t had any method, any desire to be famous. I was content with my own words, with slight annoyance that some thoughts couldn’t be expressed on paper.
Of all the things that has shaped me who I am, I can very clearly state that the two most important things that ever happened to me was
1. Reading Snow by Orhan Pamuk
2. Getting complimented by a teacher on something I wrote.