As a child, I was sickly and weak. For some reason or the other, I had been through several different schools, though not due to misbehavior (!) All this made me an introvert and books were my best friends. At that age I simply knew I wanted to be an author like Enid Blyton. If only we had WordPress in them days, but the writing buzz fizzled out very fast. I kept up with reading but once I was over my “keeping a diary” phase, I never even thought of writing nor desired to write all these (many, many) years.
So when Sreejit’s prompt (and I tried so hard to ignore) prodded me to write about stepping out of my comfort zone, I got thinking about the few times I have managed to do just that.
An avid reader though I admit I never actually sat to read much poetry. Perhaps only what I was forced to digest in school. It is only now that I perceive poetry to be everywhere. And in as much as my written words tend to favour the Sufi thinking, I had not before read or even come across Iqbal, Rumi, Attar, Ghalib, Rabia al-Basri etc all the while. And then I heard some music by the Pakistani band Junoon. Even more than the music itself, it was the lyrics which were in Urdu or Punjabi and I must stress I did NOT understand them, but they touched me (if you can figure that one out, you deserve a medal). Little did I realise that I was listening to Iqbal’s and Baba Bulleh Shah’s words! Well, that certainly caused some sort of shift in my mind and it still took a while but from then my journey into poetry took its first steps.
To actually sit and write took guts and yes I did think I was a little (a lot!) crazy to write a… gosh!…poem. But I went ahead. It was because my elder daughter wrote so beautifully that I pushed myself to write. The subject of my initial piece was my younger daughter. It wasn’t like the words came rushing out or anything like that afterwards. Still took a long while before I came to a place where I started to write regularly. To share my poetry took even more courage. I will never get over the reactions I received when I nervously shared this poem which was definitely a far throw from my writing comfort zone. It was then that I felt the power that poetry potentially possesses...couldn’t resist that one hehe. Best advice I received was “If you write it, they will read”… and they did indeed read…some rhyming there too :)
When I was in boarding school, the girls used to keep a Remembrance Book where all our friends would write something like a short memoir. Recently, I dug my book out and was surprised to read that one of my friends wrote she was so sure that in years to come I would be a famous poet! That really stunned me. I may not be famous but I can heartily describe myself as a poet.
Music has always been a source of comfort. But I have never been able to play any musical instrument. I was content only to hear others play and sing. All that changed very much late in my life. Our music teacher kept encouraging me to play, but really it seemed like gobbledygook to me, I just couldn’t get the hang of it. One day I went for a Kriya meditation session and at night I didn’t feel the need to sleep. I decided to give playing music one more shot. And guess what!!…It was still like dancing letters and made no sense to me (haha). But here’s the thing, I didn’t despair and give up. I kept at it till I could actually see through my fingers, and was thrilled when I could recognise that it was surely a melody I was playing. I have a long way to go, but here is a taste of me practising my newly found talent :)
And finally, I need to thank Karuna for giving me a brilliant idea to take my poetry slightly further. I had considered it before, kept thinking it was a corny idea, but she dispelled my doubts when she herself told me she would frame one of my poems and hang it up at home. Even then it took me months to actually go ahead, but here is my first framed poem as a personal wedding gift for a special couple…
Oh sorry, one more thing…writing directly about myself in prose form…I never thought I could do it. This one is for you Sreejit, this one’s for all of you who have directly or subtly encouraged me.