No, its no sob story. I did not turn to writing because I was depressed or I had lost someone close to me. I started writing from the tender age of seven when I was too young to even spell depression, let alone know what it is or experience it. I grew up a dyslexic kid. Please remember this was before the time the Hindi movie ‘Taare Zaamen Par’ made dyslexia a mainstream problem among kids if I dare say so. Dyslexia has become so accepted these days that even board exam papers have a special check box for kids with dyslexia. But I wasn’t so lucky. My mother failed to understand why I was failing at the most mundane tasks like buttoning up my shirt or tying up my shoe laces. I couldn’t read the time on the clock on that yonder wall no matter how hard I tried and no matter how many times I was taught. I couldn’t distinguish between left and right. You know, till this day, I fail to do the aforementioned tasks. I still cannot tell the time. the reason why I have never owned a wrist watch and I still cannot distinguish between left and right and the reason why I wear already buttoned up shirts and simply slip my feet into already laced up shoes but that’s a story for another day. So coming back, though I failed at the most mundane of tasks I was awarded with an eidetic memory. The memory of an elephant some would say. I was a prodigy of sorts , having started walking and talking when I was a mere eleven months old and reciting entire poems from memory by the time I was a year and a half. Now as any dyslexic kid would tell you, our sorts have a hyper active and a hyper imaginitive mind. My mind is more talkative than I am, and that’s the simplest way to put it. At any given point of time, a million thoughts run through my mind. I might be overthinking some event that has occured at any given point in the day, simultaneously while trying to remember which bills I have to pay, while simultaneously I would also be thinking about ways and means to solve some other tricky predicament, completely unrelated to the previous two. Simply put, my mind is chaotic. Writing helped me turn my brain from a disorganized mess into an organised chaos. It serves as an outlet for my brain and allows it to blow off some steam. Another thing that I eventually discovered about myself was that I could express myself more clearly through writing. Words flow from my pen faster than from my mouth. That doesn’t mean that I am not a good orator. It simply means I can emphasize better through the written medium than through the spoken.
Another reason why I turned to writing at such a tender age was loneliness. I grew up an only child bereft of siblings. My father worked and still works for the Central Government which meant he had a transferrable job and we had to move around quite a lot. I grew up away from my cousins who were the only semblance I had to siblings. Further my mother was over protective to the point that it almost became an obsession for her. She never let me go out and play with other kids. Rarely would I be allowed to go on school picnics, forget sleepovers or shopping with friends. So I grew up with a form of crippling loneliness and the desire to make friends or talk to some one was so intense for me that I have no qualms in admitting that I would sometimes talk to inanimate objects around the house. The tap in the balcony and the toy talking parrot in my room were two of my best friends. At least the talking parrot said something, the tap wasn’t so kind. As I outgrew talking to inanimate objects I turned more and more towards the pen. I started writing because I was lonely and I would picture myself writing things as some one talking to their best friend that I never had, growing up. But then I gradually discovered that I liked it and I have been writing ever since.
I have never been good with spoken words, I have never been good with expressing myself when I am emotional. My pen has helped me through the times that I was the awkward teenager with a stutter. Oh yes, a bad stutter. It has helped me the overweight teenager with braces, thick spectacles and a face full of acne. My pen knows it all. My pen has seen it all. Because at the end of every day, either good or bad, my pen would help me unload my feelings on that piece of paper. On good days, the paper would stay dry. On bad days, the paper would become wet and the ink blotched, but my pen helped me sleep. I might have outgrown my awkward puberty years but my pen has been the single constant in the fickle world of change. Even to this day, I write whatever I feel. My diary will always be my first best friend. It still is. When I have to express something to some one that is going to be a tad bit emotional, I write to them. I hope and pray that they understand what I mean. The ones who do, stay, while others, not so much.
Writing is the one thing that has been the constant outlet, the stress reliever for me when I have been at the lowest phase of my life. In fact it was one of the few things that actually helped me overcome it. Writing is not just a passion for me, its a necessity. It’s almost like that silent best friend who doesn’t question you, doesn’t judge you; just simply understands. Somehow I feel, maybe in this crazy world out there, it helps keep me grounded, keeps me sane and keeps me rooted to who I really am and where I really belong.