My passion for writing developed quite early in my life despite a relatively slow start! I remember being taught how to write the alphabets by my mother – yes, my memory does go back far. She was particular about preparing me before I started pre-school, a pre-pre-school-school of sorts. I had learned to say the alphabets soon enough found it very difficult to write the alphabet ‘E’, drawing circles instead of a pretty cursive letter. However, once I actually joined pre-school, I received rave reviews for just how good my handwriting was. This made me swell with pride. I also realized that mother is, in fact, always right!
I moved on to learning nursery rhymes and tiny essays from colorful little books featuring kids and animals. I loved saying these rhymes out loud and admired the art of telling a story through words that sounded all the same. I wrote small essays about myself, my dog, my family and my friends. My teachers always encouraged me and this greatly boosted my self-belief. I dabbled in writing poetry and wrote my first in 4th grade. However, despite this early encouragement and success, I gradually lost interest in creative writing. I feel this was mainly due to lack of exposure to interesting reading material and monotonous syllabus. My interest had also been diverted towards painting which had an impact on my development as a writer.
When I was in the 7th grade, I began reading novels, not the works of Enid Blighton, but those of Thomas Hardy, Charles Dickens and Emily Bronte. I also renewed my reading interest by looking up poems of Wordsworth, Byron, Frost and Yeats. The depth and meaning of these works moved me and, once again, I aspired to create something beautiful in words. I wrote a few more poems and essays on topics such as a pictorial description of passing seasons and the relevance of a child’s dream in the real world. However, I still did not feel fulfilled as a writer and my interest in writing began to wane once again.
As I grew older, I began taking interest in world affairs and social issues that are plaguing our society. I realized that I had an opinion about almost everything that I came across. Going through adolescence led to changing emotions and my outlook on life underwent several drastic changes in a short span of time. I continued writing poetry. However, my poems were now focused more on the way I saw the world, with darker undertones. I believe that, it was during this phase that I outgrew the ‘perfect world view’ that only a child with his or her innocence is capable to having. I could now see that life was far from perfect and there is much suffering that no one can do anything about. My poems now spoke of unseen children walking through cities observing human being with less than human behavior.
Then I grew older yet and probably grew up a little too. The discontent and vehemence that had developed during my growing years gradually subsided. I stopped feeling angry at everything and everyone. I realized that my family indeed did love me and everything that my parents said and did was always to protect me. I realized was not imperfect only for me, but it had been so for everyone since probably the dawn of time. The darkness within my mind cleared. Now, my outlook was neither too optimistic as it was when I used to write about rainbows, nor as dark when I used to write about victimized children!
I continued reading a lot. My interest was noticed by my father who encouraged the habit by giving me additional allowances to buy books. He also read my work which included essays, poems and even short stories now and provided me with a polite, yet honest, feedback. I also showed my work to my teachers regularly, and they gave a more critical analysis and suggestions on how my writing could be improved. I noted that both, my father as well as my teachers, appreciated works that I had written in an informal voice, giving a frank, even blunt, opinion on matters. I had started including hints of humor, even on topics that were severe in nature.
I believe this change in my writing style reflected greatly the change in my outlook on life. Although I knew that life was not perfect and that, I too, would be facing many hardships as I journeyed the path of my own, I approached life with a sense of humor, something that I learned from my father. I intentionally diversified my readings from novels to reading journals and other publications, blogs and more. I make it a point to write regularly but always on topics that I feel strongly about. Today, I write more essays and articles than poems as I feel that I am able to express myself better this way.