Saturday, 21 April 2018

30 days writing challenge - day 4 - for Prateeksha

Dear Prateeksha,

Thank you for asking me to write about something I know is so personal to you. Something we’ve shared in common in that small girls’ / working women’s hostel in Delhi. Thank you for allowing and requesting me to write about our ambitions, our dreams, our struggles and so much more. 

It’s been a privilege to witness your journey briefly and to be able to share mine. Of course, not to say that I am grateful to you for the support you and our other roommate (name withheld since I didn’t have time to ask her if she’s OK being mentioned publicly). It’s an even greater pleasure to be asked to write about those times.

So, I think there are a few things that I want to point out to you about small-town girls/boys having big dreams in a big city and their struggle and desire to achieve everything. First things first, we may be from small towns, people like you and me, we are not small in our being. We are people with the same spark of superconscious or the divine as is there in every other human being. 

In fact, there are a few advantages to being a small-town person. We are able to dream because there are things we haven’t experienced. At the same time, we are able to stay grounded, because we have seen what it is to want for nothing, and yet not have access to luxuries.We have dreams, ambitions and we are on journeys we often don't understand and can't cope with. We travel those paths nevertheless.


While our struggles of hunting for jobs, our problems with communications skills, our hungry hostel nights, our lavish meals of the simple menu in the picture below are common and shared, we each have our unique personalities. (Side note, remember this night? I still do :D ) While some of these struggles are also shared by big city girls and boys, a lot of times, their journeys may seem easier than ours.

Important however it is, to remember, that a city doesn’t make your journey easy or difficult. Coming from privilege or not doesn’t change the essence of your journey. What does it is your value system, your ability to adapt, your ability to share, give. I am not even comparing this with the journeys of the young people raised by families in large cities. I don't think we need to do that sweetie.

Remember, it isn’t a competition. Life isn’t about a competition Prat, it’s about finding more of yourself with every passing day. It is about remembering that some may have more privilege than you. It is also remembering about how there are others less privileged than you. 

The ability to speak of the fact that we had small homes and limited sets of clothes while growing up, is the real challenge. The ability to not be ashamed of our relatively humble origins is the key. The ability to remember that there are those who come from more humble origins and have achieved far greater things is the inspiration. The ability to talk of it without any complexes, superiority or inferiority is the real challenge in my opinion. 

I have seen you evolve from a young struggling adult to this wonderful, confident woman you’ve grown to be. I would say you’re a rockstar and continue being yourself. 

Be more giving, tread more gently, don't lose your spark, keep working hard and smart and enjoy the ride kiddo!

Much Love,
Anupama Di

© Anupama 2018

Friday, 20 April 2018

30 days writing challenge - day 3 - About Writing Itself

So, I got lazy again and procrastinated, obviously for non-acceptable reasons. But let’s not beat around the bush anymore and get to writing.

So, often, I get asked by people about what is writing? Why do I even write? What do writers do? DO they consume copious amounts of chai and coffee? Do they ever make money? Is it a successful satisfying career for me?

I get asked so many questions by people who I believe are genuinely curious about the process of what I do in my life. They claim that they do not understand fully, what I want from my life. I know these are all people who mean well from me, but it’s tiring to answer the questions repeatedly. So, here it is in brief, for reference. 

However, before I delve into it, here are a few thoughts about a song I like. In context to this post – I like only the first verse. However, the rest of the song is great too.

मैं पल दो पल का शायर हूँ
पल दो पल मेरी कहानी है
पल दो पल मेरी हस्ती है
पल दो पल मेरी जवानी है
मैं पल दो पल का शायर हूँ ...

मुझसे पहले कितने शायर
आए और आकर चले गए
कुछ आहें भर कर लौट गए
कुछ नग़मे गाकर चले गए
वो भी एक पल का किस्सा था
मैं भी एक पल का किस्सा हूँ
कल तुमसे जुदा हो जाऊँगा
वो आज तुम्हारा हिस्सा हूँ
मैं पल दो पल का शायर हूँ ...
So in a way I relate with the song, though not all of it. What it means is that I relate with the transience of life, thought and its expression. So, one of the reasons I started to write years ago because I wanted to be able to read and re-examine my thoughts, just like I did to the books dad got me to read when I was young.

Another reason I started writing was because my journals became a safe place for me to express myself without hesitation. On one hand, it stifled the transparency I may have achieved much earlier if I had figured out more public forms of expression. On the other hand, it was an empowering experience to be able to write something rather than speak it and then not have people judge it. 

At some point in recent past, I started writing because I started getting paid for it. Initially it was challenging because getting paid meant writing what needed to be written and not necessarily what I wanted to write. Over years however, I think I am able to find balance between my personal voice and the expectation of the client. It’s been a tedious process, a work in progress and an ongoing journey.

Most of anything, I believe I started writing because I needed to. It was an intrinsic need; the need to express. It was as necessary to me as was the need to eat, breathe and sleep. Over years, I have realized that writing is as basic a need as sex to me and it’s orgasmic and cathartic when it happens with honesty.

Now that we’re done with the why’s and the wherefore’s, let’s also probe into questions around what the writing process is all about. What gets my creative juices flowing, what kicks my brain, what triggers my thoughts and how easy or difficult is it for someone like me to be able to write.

Well, the fact is that my mind is one of the messiest places I know of. My mind maps look like a myriad of words scribbled in random connections on a sheet of paper. There are days when I am on a binge writing spree and others when I couldn’t write at a gun point. Yet, I have support systems and people who encourage me to write regularly.

Source - Internet. Please let me know if it's your image and I will be happy to link it.

I enjoy coffee, but no I don’t drink it more than twice a day at any cost. I am not one of those serial coffee addicts. I don’t smoke, I was a teetotaller till 28. I quit again at 32. So all in all, my mess is my poison. So are the people who I meet, people who love me and the people I meet.

Yes, my writing has finally started paying me well enough. Yes, it’s slowly and gradually shaping into a satisfying and fulfilling career for me. I get paid to learn new subjects and write about them. It reminds me of the book writing I did once for one of my Physics teachers. But that is a story for another time. 

Till then, like Anais Nin says - We write to taste life twice, in the moment and in retrospect.

© Anupama 2018

Thursday, 19 April 2018

30 days writing challenge - day 2 - About Betrayal

I am trying to write more regularly. I am trying to write not just for work, but for myself too. For my own sanity, for my own memories, my thoughts and more. It's a purely self-indulgent exercise for myself. Thankfully I have some of you who manage to read my writings and share feedback with me.

So recently, meaning just today, I posted a whatsapp status, inviting people to share that one emotion or that one story that they want me to write about. I wanted some cues for my writing challenge and I will ryu to write about 30 different things and then share the post at least with the person who suggested the topic to me. I have done that in past too. I have curated topics from people and been unable to write about them. This time, I hope to rectify that.

Whether my thoughts are broken, vague, disorganized or disoriented, I am going to write nonetheless.So yesterday, I wrote about the feelings and the memories that the a relatively new song evokes in me. Today I am going to write about one of the themes that one of my friends asked me to write about. He wanted me to write about betrayal. And here's the first song that came to my mind.


This song portrays at the most basic level, everything that we seem to trust, someone's smile, their eyes. They say that eyes are the windows to the soul of a person. However, it is surprising that  the same eyes have been known in the Indian social system to do black magic or woodoo. The same eyes that are called to be the tool of the revelation of the true nature of a person, are also known to hypnotize a person, eventually in the longer run betraying them.

There are other songs related to the betrayal of friends, family, brothers, sisters, lovers and more. However, for a change this time, an old melody didn’t hit my brain. Neither in terms of the music, or the lyrics. What did hit me though is another possible truth.

What exactly is betrayal? Is it really cheating someone of what they deserved, or hurting them for no reason? What exactly constitutes of betrayal? Let’s look at it example by example.

So, a brother cheating another for the share of property. A not giving B what was B’s by law and by right. Is that betrayal? Well, no, it’s just cheating on a very transactional level. A lover sleeping around with others behind their partner’s back? Or being in love with others? However, that could simply be one’s strong polyamorous leanings, at best promiscuous behaviour and at worst, adultery. That said, I still fail to define betrayal through any of these incidents. All these are nothing but incidents where someone wanted what wasn't theirs.

In my opinion betrayal is the inability to speak of this desire. The inability to tell the other person that you want something that's his, so bad that you won't hesitate in hurting / harming them. The inability to feel restraint and compassion enough to not steal or cheat or manipulate.

I have no intention of going into an academic inquiry of what a certain moral value is; in this what betrayal is. I am simply saying that betrayal is not any of the acts that we seem to identify it with. 

Betrayal is in truth, robbing one of the most fundamental level of bonding with another human being – trust. When you break someone’s trust in any way, you betray them. Whether you betray them to themselves, or to yourself or to themselves, basically what you’ve done is you’ve broken their trust.

Betrayal is robbing a human of their ability to trust in future. It’s by extension robbing a human of their ability to love unconditionally. It is in a way, perpetrating the simplest and yet the most destructive crime against the humanity. Betrayal is the perpetration of distrust, suspicion and by extension distancing a human from another.

Baki to, Naina to thag hi lenge.Aur hum bevakoof khud ko thaga bhi lenge. Khushi khushi :D

© Anupama 2018