The Final Word

Writers are funny people. As much as they’d like to think that most of their writings, well the good ones anyway, are a result of their persistence and long hours of their sitting near a table lamp with a pen and a paper, quite a number of times it doesn’t take as much. Sure, research lies at the backbone of any good written piece but the actual process of penning thoughts to parchment doesn’t take as much effort as writers or the readers would have themselves believe.

When I am about to start with a blog, I usually find myself at a loss with respect to a choice of topic or a certain stance on something I should feel strongly about. It’s only when my hands are resting expectantly on the keyboard that words start to form – out of nowhere. If anyone were to ask me about what it is that I’m going to glorify, criticise or neutralize in the piece that I’m writing, I would probably be found giving a clueless shrug. All it takes is to sit determined in front of a laptop screen (it’s perfect if you have had a bad day) and just let the words type themselves out, as if by magic.

A part of me would like to think my hands have a mind of their own. A mind that almost never feels like collaborating with the grey mass inside my head. A blessing, some would call it for what goes on in my head is quite the pile of shit. However, if I have given the impression that the writing that appears out of nowhere is only a good thing, I would like everyone to stand corrected.

While the decisions that I take after much contemplation and thinking are subject to change (A number of times actually for I’m but a typical Gemini), the writing that starts off on its own poses quite a challenge. It’s like the other mind is always looking for an opportunity to provoke, incite or to at least land me in trouble with the readers, the more conservative ones anyway.

Something that I would like to call “uncool” gets written down as “disaster in the name of high fasion”. An unpleasant event that I would (using my head) describe as a momentary lapse in my good fortune appears as a collection of three alphabets – FML. And as much as I would like to rephrase and to rewrite so that it appears less provocative, I just can’t. Once written, it appears to be the missing jigsaw piece that the puzzle was looking for, as if no other word could take its place. And I give in to my writing with my fingers crossed and the computer mouse hovering over the “publish” button, unsure as to the consequences that not reasoning with the other mind might bring.

Lately, writers online have called towards themselves a lot of unwanted attention for their choice of words. As the usage of print media continues to decline (Believe it or not, three of the magazines where I worked have gone from print to publishing online), more and more people are relying and “devouring” information and opinion that is available on the web. And while the information that appeared on the print has always assured the reader of a strong “proofreading” and “editorial” process that it goes through, the writing that appears on the internet isn’t always as rigorously checked, if at all.

Is that a good thing? For a person like me, who values opinions as much as information, it is. I am a writer – an artist. For me, everything comes to down to colours, shades (not Fifty Shades), opinions, notions, ideas. And while, I would never prefer reading something grossly incorrect, the writing that gets to me is the one that I can relate to (and, which is grammatically correct).

The writing, that has a mind of its own.



Changing Habits to Keep Yourself

It has been a while since my last post and I totally blame my iPad. A long, long time ago a lady with white hair introduced me to my first classic: Charles Dicken’s David Copperfield. She was my grandmother. I was 6 and enthralled. To me, everything else ceased to exist. What was in the book, whatever I learnt was the truth. Moving on to Bronte, Austen, Dostoevsky and even Doyle inculcated in me this need to express but sadly or not, most of it on paper and no less than two sheets long.

Scouring for writing books, the obsession to read every classic I could get my hands on turned into a yearning for writing. The smell of new paper arrested my attention, the sight of pens called on me to endlessly doodle and even copy random things in my notebook. After reproducing countless books in my own handwriting as notes, I finally mastered my cursive.

It was no longer loopy and incoherent but elegant and flawless. All good things come to an end but only to give way to much better ones. I don’t really know if the transition away from writing in notepads to typing on MS Word was a blessing, I just knew I had to get used to it. Time and tide waits for no one and I was really too young to embrace being old fashioned.

From a person known for their handwriting to a person who became known for my “scary” typing since it freaked people out to see my type without looking at the keyboard, I think I did pretty well. What I lost in the process was, however the habit of reading. I could no longer sit (or lie down) with a book for ages. The time on the computer and then subsequently on the laptop was too demanding.

Even the typing happened after much procrastination. But it had become a part of my life and a part of me. I, after all fashioned myself as a writer and what is a writer without the tools? The idea remains an idea, forgotten next instant, remembered later but then tainted with mockery and the desire to think of something better. Writing or typing it out always makes thing permanent. Makes them look more credible. Like its a fact that requires a lot of research if it has to be refuted.

My sob story didn’t end here. Just a month or two back, I realised I might have to make the switch again. Twice within twenty years. From typing furiously, I was seen moving my fingers gingerly around a 10 inch long screen. I am not really sure whether it’s unpleasant. On the bright side, I can read books which I couldn’t on the laptop. There’s something about bedtime reading that requires you to curl up in a blanket with a hot steaming cup of your preferred beverage that using the laptop or the PC totally did away with.

It’s new but it doesn’t feel timeless or classic. Even though i can read and write as much as I would like, the autocorrect would someday be the death of the language. The sight and smell of loose parchments, pens and notepads however, no longer make me as elated as before. From being akin to the lure of a new mistress, they are more like missed calls from estranged friends who you want to visit someday, just not right now.