In the days of yore, when I started my career, I was avalanched by concerns like promotion, posting, office politics, confidential reports, pushing files, attending meetings, marriages, and parties, watching movies, performing domestic chores, managing family and spouse, tutoring kids and so on. All this left schedules tight and hands tied. There was hardly any time left for chewing the cud…no time for juggling with ideas, no time for thinking creatively. I was not at all a wordsmith. I spoke and wrote clumsily. With no couching-the-words-abilities I did not in my wild imagination ever think of throwing myself on paper. People take pens to relieve the drudgery and to give vent to their pent-up emotions; while regurgitating some in the process make history. Without attempting to self-deprecate, or trying to be excessively modest, I strongly believed I didn’t belong to that cult. But then when it finally happened, I didn’t know if I was faking as an ink slinger.
During the first two decades of my shedding ink, the feeling of having been read would despatch me on cloud nine. But then always paying the price, I would quite often be considered to be neglecting my work, my family, my health, and my friends for my newly acquired obsession. I would therefore, treat my scribbling with all the passion of a forbidden affair—a mistress I stole time for, and always tried to stow away. But then one has to be ready to face it, chips down. It’s always a walk-on-eggs, a piece of thin ice to skate on. In their friend circles, children would burst with pride when they boasted of the stirring tales of papa’s derring dos. But then back home, papa’s deeds of heroism were hated like poison. Nobody was prepared to see papa glued to his portable typewriter/desktop. No sooner did I make a recce to my reading room, open my ragbag and take pen in hand than the whole house would be thrown into a tumult. The deluge of protests and noisy disturbances filled up the house. As if caught hand in a cookie jar, I’d throw up the sponge, cobble the strewn pages together, pack them in the file, and vanish in thin air.
My family members and some friends are always reluctant to read my write-ups. They think I write nothing but crap. When the topic is natively impossible to understand, and the writer is choosing overly-complex words, readers think that the writer targets it for an audience, with their particular tastes rather than a more generic taste. Imposter syndrome is a collection of feelings of inadequacy that persists despite evident success. Imposters suffer from chronic self-doubt and a sense of intellectual fraudulence that override any feelings of success or external proof of their competence. What I write sometimes invites a sea of troubles. Scribbling of their distaste ruffles feathers (and all the ills man can endure) from people of different ideological hues. A tirade of invectives and castigations, accusations and blames, condemnation and revilement does make life miserable.
Should they get a chance some people would roast me alive for trying candor and spewing lava of bitter truth. And in their vindictive frenzy, I do expect people to attempt to make certain to keep the wound green. When lampooning hurts religious bigots the cascades of fatawa that follow are apt to haunt me to the extent of even seeing me getting ostracized, sending shudders down my spine with its sure-shot potential to offend and enrage. Like pouring acid on a lump of sponge, the effects of what I write can be instantaneous and corrosive. Imagine my toil of hours and days ends up in the editor’s bin, never to be published. To top it off when published, titles are mutilated & texts distorted. Many times I’ve to convince myself, am I really the author of the stuff published. When all this happens it would bring home to my mind that all these people there hit me like a ton of bricks. My spirits dampen, ideas sink into oblivion long before they’re morphed into tangibles. Consequently, I lay down tools, shut shop for good, and hibernate in my secret hideaways.
As and when the urge to spill ink is strong I find it difficult to avoid doing so. It’s just like, someone can not help avoiding painting or doodling. I strongly believe that I do it mostly to myself to be gratified. Because it is a creative expression I can’t help cranking a word or two just as others can’t help painting or apple polishing. If I scribble because I want to receive homage and respect from neighbors, acquaintances, admirers, or simply to show off the world my pen and ink, I doubt it makes me a richer personality. Financially it does not. I don’t get paid for my writing. It nevertheless quite often helps me find myself above the narrow interests that eat the vitals of the most sensible executives, bureaucrats, businessmen, married and old persons. It gives me a certain arrogance of spirit that I have another avenue to freak out with.
Most of the things I want to really write turn out to be the pent-up statements/feelings, dying to burst forth in an acerbic soup of unspeakable against toxic leadership, hypocrisies, ostentation, spin doctoring, double/political speaks, idiosyncrasies of politicians, bureaucrats, manipulators, apple-polishers, lucky fools and their success stories, religious zealots/leaders, frenemies, friends but are actually foes, backstabbing relatives, envious neighbors, pseudo-secularists/intellectualists to name a few. Millions of tongue-biting thoughts…..that always itch to utter. When I don’t write (or isn’t published) what I really want to write, what I eat tastes like an unpleasant substance, e.g. the mush. It’s kind of life losing glitter; I grow flabby at the edges. My shoulders droop and every moment is shot through with the stench of unspoken words decaying in my mind like the putrefying flesh. While this all happens I always believe the sensible thing would be never to write what I really want to.
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are the personal opinions of the author. The facts, analysis, assumptions and perspective appearing in the article do not reflect the views of GK.