A QUEST WITH AN UNANSWERED QUESTION

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WARNING: Those allergic to intangible confessions, abstract glimpses of a human’s soul and English language in its delicately rich form – i.e. in a form, maybe, more exquisite than found on the streets of New York. (rephrasing: GRANDILOQUENT- ISH form),

PLEASE stay away from this post. ( I wouldn’t want you judging me on this spontaneously combusted fire of words ;0 )

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So,

Why do I write?

This question, a matter of introspection to me, arouse, in its most earnest state, during one of my most somber moods – one where a man is swept off his feet by even the flicker of the flames of truth that is buried deep inside his heart. I.e, a moment each person must have experienced when he heard the deep silence of a profoundness throbbing within him.

And it was in that moment that my guilt about not embracing enough my feebly stirring passion – a.k.a writing- took the form of a soldier in chains, wanting to aggressively fight his way out of his confines and into the broad sunshine of people’s world. Shadows of thought, long mewling from the bottom of my self, shrieked out in urge now, to be born; and these were no meager shadows, for they were children not merely of the writer’s fingertips or tongue, but of the depth of her human spirit.

And at that moment, when I realized that I must take the pains to open the gate that bares their entry into the world – i.e. to give the shadow of thoughts a form in words – my lazy hesitation prodded me to ask that flock of thoughts – whence are you from, and why are you at my gate?

Why, why am I seized with the impulse to write. WHY DO I EVEN WRITE?

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This question had flitted past my colorful world more than once, failing to receive no more attention than the dust of the desert sand would from a parched wanderer that has newly seen the deceptive mirage of an oasis.

But in the end, its the sand-dust that the wanderer walks with, and it was the question that walked with me. And I? I hushed it with shallow answers we both knew were not so much as close to the truth.

And still, unrelenting, the question would return with the whisper of a moonbeam or at a mood so uncharted by any object of interest. And it would return and pester, and plague, and fester

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FIRST EPOCH: THE THREE WANTS

At first, writing was but a profession. A mere response to people asking ‘what do you want to become in life? How would you want to ‘earn’ your livelihood (note: ‘earn’ refers to earning a livelihood in terms of money, not satisfaction or joy). And I considered broad before I could answer. I staggered across vast deserts and sailed through undulating ocean waves; stumbled over wild roots that carpeted the sable ground of a dense jungle. And in the end, I landed at a place I wanted to be – with words and fables! But it was queer –  both the choice (Writing fables!) and the coincidence. For true, it had been a coincidence that I landed, I assume, at the right place. For in truth, such a seeking journey must not have been wide across the Earth, but deep inside the heart.

But even yet, I did not know what it meant; for, gold is not found when it hasn’t been dug out from depths. The only things that attracted me to the choice were a shallow dances –  ones that flit across the ground in gleaming rainbow flames when the brilliance of real light is reflected off a diamond. And I was drawn to the dance of the light-lings, without ever appreciating that there was, behind it, a full light and a diamond!

And so, in those early stages, I knew writing to be an enticing ‘profession’, a merry acquaintance with words, and fascinating stories that were yet to build a spire of inspiration to be beheld when fully built. And it was also a means for something else. I confess with guilt now, that, the parade of successful writers who earned the respect of  a flashy red-carpet, and the eulogies of admiring readers from across the continents, and most of all, a flight ticket from country to country, and an effortless travel across beautiful places up and below the equator, drew me unseemly to adopt it as a career. This was my most ignorant of requests from an art, I knew not then to be sacred.

But this was never- not even in those amateur days- the only prospect that transfixed me in the decision, like a whole planet held by gravity. Even then, a slightly nobler aspiration had been to acquire the strength of an unmutable voice that is gifted to a writer. A voice to be heard by the ears of men living yonder leagues across, through all the gushing roars of throngs of men. A writer had a voice, made entirely of silence, that spoke louder than any utterance of the tongue. And I wanted from the voice of these words, the power to help ailing men scattered across the globe; to spread a change.

And there was yet, another wish to be fulfilled. I wanted from authorship, a name in the cover of a book that would exist through time, gathering dust on the shelves even after my mortal life had fled. I wanted my thoughts to be sighed out into the air which my own breath had long ceased to mingle with. I wanted the power of immortality that it granted.

These were the earliest of my wants, forceful wants then. But had I only realized at that time, as I do now, that these were all, solely hollow treasures…

My wants had been all destination, and never the journey that is writing itself! And the most wondrous of things about being the spirit of a river is that it meanders through the deep undergrowth of forest lands and gracefully gushes down a misty precipice and savors the luxuriant taste of a desert soil. Its final destination, in itself, is only a point on the Earth, but its journey is the whole world!

And why not – only when the writer is a river do his words flow. When a writer is a soldier, drilling in his mind, only the thoughts of a distant victory, then his words know only to march… and leave behind only dusty footsteps to feed the wind.

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To be continued…

(Image courtesy: Pinterest)

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© 2018 Sahana Narendran

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