My Affair with Writing

My Affair with Writing

Like any other affair, I’ve had my ups and lows in this relationship. The early stories that I discovered were in Tinkle Digest. Comics that got read over again when my cousins from boarding school would be home for the summer vacations. Chanda mama was another member in the house that would arrive promptly every month though I didn’t take to it. I would devour stories from language text books way before school started for the year.

I read too many famous fives, secret sevens. For a time my secret wish was to be a detective. You can guess where that influence came from. One of my early diary entries does have a page titled – Tips on Sleuthing.

I revered writers with a devotion a devotee has to God. This reverence never made me think that I could be one of them. I didn’t even have any contact with any writers within my immediate circle to make them human for me. At that time for me, they were somehow elevated mortals who could create such magic and weave words beautifully to create stories. Of course, I still revere writers today too. Today I look at them as artists but as humans too with their vulnerabilities. My view has changed from a single dimension to being multi dimensional.

I stumbled on writing quite by accident. I loved reading but never wrote anything other than the required essays in school. It was by pure chance that one of the essays happened to be good enough to be published in our school newspaper. Good enough by my class teacher’s standard at that time that is. This was followed by reading one of my essay in class where I remember my class teacher was nodding happily as I was reading it out loud. I think that was the moment when I discovered the true power and the essence of being a writer.

The feelings that you are able to evoke in your readers through words on a page is a heady and empowering feeling. After this one of my essays came marked with “You seem to have a flair for writing.” I couldn’t decide at the time if she liked my piece or not as I didn’t know the meaning of the word ‘flair’ at that time. So I looked it up in the dictionary. This was when the writing bug caught me. I didn’t write consistently after this but this is where the seed had taken hold. I shouldn’t admit this but I even wrote essays or helped write essays for my brother, sister and cousins in school.

There are times when I have doubted my writing. I have now learned to have faith in writing in spite of these doubts.

What’s your writing story?

Ode to Chai

Ode to Chai

It has to be just right. The first sip of chai that you take in between your lips. The making is a ritual. A pot filled to the brim with water. When the bubbles rise all over the surface that’s when you pour in sugar. No more than three spoons. Any more and it will be syrup, any less – it will lag the kick you need. Fresh grated ginger is put in next. Let it boil untill all of it is concentrated to a consistency that is thicker than water. Then you pour in milk till the tea in the pot turns a slight orange as it turns homogeneous with the liquid in the pot. Now you bring it to a boil and pour in your perfect cup of chai. Warning – the milk has to be boiled first, it cannot be poured in raw.

There you have it. Your first cup of morning chai. I do this ritually everyday and fall in love again with every cup that I take for the day. It’s a good thing to look forward to as I turn in for the day at night. The hot liquid sliding down your throat feels as warm as lover’s caress. If you are too impatient it can leave you scalded. The high you get as it enters your system can last throughout the day. You can never tell apart the ingredients that went in making it as it goes down your belly.

Whole stories and novels happen while you are drinking this innocuous sounding tea. But there is magic in it. People open up their closed existence. It can be a weapon and also a peace offering. Your maid will tell you all the latest’s happenings in your society for your offer of a simple cup of tea. It can also be offered by your enemies to pry out your latest secrets.

So you see, for all its simplicity tea isn’t simple. It is a complex brew and can be as personal as the person making or offering it. It can change from an peace offering to a weapon in the blink of an eye. It would never do to under estimate the power of tea. It has healing properties. It has soothing properties. It can soothe inflamed pride and heal a weary soul.