Why do you write is a question I am asked often. Sometimes I reply with the ever pervasive smile, slight twinkle in my eyes, at times when I am in a good mood I just say"Oh because everybody else is..!" while the real reason is much more deeper than this all. And to know that my friend I need to share my story with you:
“I can shake off everything as I write; my sorrows disappear, my courage is reborn.” ―Anne Frank
Perhaps these words describe my journey in a best possible way. From very young age, unbeknownst to me, paper and pencil became my best friend. I was the second child of parents whose first child was afflicted with cerebral palsy. Perhaps they were so consumed with bringing up a disabled child, they couldn’t always find time to quench my thirst for answers or sooth my nerves, from very early childhood. I didn’t complain.
My young mind somehow understood that my brother deserved more of my parents’ time but somewhere in that understanding, the writer in me was born. When sometimes I didn’t find answer to my doubts, my pain, my conflict, my sadness, I would just start scribbling some words on a piece of paper. Several times as I wrote, my tears would wash away those words making it undecipherable to read them again. But with them, perhaps those disappearing words would also wash away my pain. It would release me from inner turmoil and suddenly I would feel lighter making my strength re-emerge. I grew up to become a doctor. Medical profession is a full time job. I hardly got time when I was studying.
But I kept channelizing my emotions in words, sometimes only in few lines and sometimes in couple of pages. The last few blank pages of my medical books were my favourite spot. It would be a privilege to scribble few lines on them in middle of my intensive study schedule. My profession became my first passion as I grew. My personal life that was simultaneously going through changes also had its fair share of ups and downs. However, my friendship with words continued, sometimes dormant, sometimes expressed. Only difference was, instead of paper, now it was diary which was later replaced by computer. Happiness might not have always prompted me to write but my disappointments would invariably force me to write and every written word would help in lessening my pain. As a medical doctor also, I encountered so many extreme emotions. If a birth of a new born was source of great joy, the death of a patient would cause immense sadness. No, I could never remain detached.
With every birth, a part of me would be born again and with every death, a part of me would die. Later I specialized in field of HIV/AIDS and my professional duties particularly narrowed down to people living with HIV/AIDS, people who not only have to deal with their illness but also chronic agony, pain and flickering hopes. Somehow, I identified with them. I shared their dilemma; I cried and smiled with them. The doctor inside me remained worried about their health but writer inside me kept on observing their every emotion prompting me to capture all my experiences in words. It taught me some very amazing lessons which continue till date for learning never stops in life. I learnt from them, their fight against all odds, their hoping against hope and most importantly not giving up in life. All these experiences are reflected in whatever I write. Like a river, my hero or heroine, the central character of my story, flows with life but never give up if current is not in their favour. Writing of any kind, not necessarily published or unpublished, seen or unseen by the world, helps you to evolve.
As I write, I introspect a lot. And also, when I observe people, their dilemma, their anxiety, their pain, I can empathize with them. It’s as if I am living in their body and going through all those emotions. It’s not possible to truly understand other’s pain but at least, it helps you in making a better human being. Gradually my profession progressed, but my writing still remained in infancy. And it didn’t matter because I was writing for myself. For my every conflict, with myself or the world, my body and mind would engage in their internal fights but my soul would remain at peace with my writings. Some of my close friends did suggest me to publish, but I was not truly prepared to share my writings with the world. Besides being busy with my profession and not able to write comprehensively, I was little hesitant. It bothered me to exhibit my vulnerabilities through my characters to my readers. When you write, even in fiction, every character has some part of you hidden in them, somewhere.
You talk through them, you laugh through them, you cry through them. Somehow, I was contended with myself, being an author as well as the reader of my work, barring few instances where my friends would get glimpse of my amateur skills. Nevertheless, couple of them seriously encouraged me to go for publishing. But that never happened until I was thrown into the worst crisis of my professional life. My career was systematically destroyed by incompetent and corrupt leadership of the organization where I worked because of some ulterior motives.
I faced severe harassment at work place. I was even denied promotion in spite of my experience and good performance. I witnessed corruption and caste based politics that are rampant in medical system of the country. My promise of becoming a great doctor, one that my parents’ dreamt of, after seeing their dream crashing with their first borne was shattered. My belief on system, my belief on honest effort and sincerity was shattered. I had nowhere to go. No one could help in assuaging my hurt and pain. But then all is not lost when you think it has. Somewhere something unknown keep you going, keep you alive. I fought for my honour. I was forced to swing between extreme agony and flickering hopes. But, ironically by the time I got the decision reversed in my favour,
I lost interest in the verdict itself. It didn’t matter anymore. In those years of trial and tribulation, in my search for happiness, I instead found peace. I stopped caring about results. Now my only focus was my duty, results didn’t matter. That is when I turned to my best friend, a friend who almost got lost in life’s myriad on going drama. I had to release myself and few lines that I was writing were not enough. I needed to pour out to a large canvass and that is when SEEKING REDEMPTION, my first book happened.
And the heroine of my book, Dr Meera was born in those very corridors of hospital. Although the story of her journey, specific events of her life, problems faced by her was not exactly mine but her principles, belief and faith are mine. I saw myself in her dilemmas, in her pain, in her loss, in her triumph against her own demons. Through this book I also tried to highlight the rampant corruption in medical field and how unfortunately, merit doesn’t always stand a chance in front of mediocrity. Justice eluded her as well as Aman, the man whom she loved, in their struggle for achieving the life they dreamt, the life they deserved. But, ironically while Meera rises in such difficult times, Aman falls.
She tries to help him in spite of her own dilemmas but he misunderstands her. And there is Abhay, the other man in her life, a friend but who gives her unconditional support through all the ups and down. Through Meera, I was perhaps trying to tell my inner child that life doesn’t always follow your plans. It follows its own path and pace. And instead of resisting it, we must embrace it. I hope you will read the book to find out what happened to Meera, her love, her dreams and her struggles, her loss and her triumph. And also to find out could she follow her dreams, could she reclaim her love and could she let go that was not destined for her and moved on with life.
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