Writing is something that I have done for the majority of my life. I wrote my first story when I was six years old. “The Mystery of the Missing Vase”, I believe it was called. I started working on a novel when I was 12. I called it, “Revenge of the Ants”. Never got around to finishing it. The drafts are still lying about somewhere in my old notebooks.
I am, what I would call, a born writer. Whether I am good at it or bad is for you to decide, but it is something that I always fall back on. It is just something I do. I eat, I drink, I sleep and I write. It’s as simple as that. But it is only now that I have started to accept that, to enjoy it even. I didn’t always like writing.
When I was in school, I had a brilliant English teacher. She is the one who taught me to enjoy literature. I did hated that attention at times, because she would single me out sometimes and ask me to read a certain book or an anthology of poems. I used to resent that. I used to resent the fact that it was only me who was asked to do this. I never understood the value of that extra attention. She also encouraged me to write, and to write more, as did my parents. I never understood the value of that. It is only today that I do. It is only today that I thank her for her seemingly thankless task.
Well, I was a teenager. I was a rebel. I didn’t want to be told what to do. I just wanted to do what I wanted to do at that moment. Even if it meant watching Hum Aapke Hai Kaun one day before my Maths board exam. Oh yes, I did that. And don’t think that I had studied for it beforehand and was just trying to relax before an exam. I hadn’t. It’s a miracle I even passed!
Writing went the same way. I resented people telling me that I should be a writer. I just didn’t want anyone to say anything to me. I just wanted to be left alone. Ah well! Teenage!
But, even then, sometimes, I would find myself writing in my diary or working on a new idea for a story or an article. It was dichotomous, always. I wanted it, but I didn’t want it. All at the same time.
Here, in film school, we are expected to do a fair share of writing, all screenplays mainly. And I have spent a lot of time observing my friends write. They write a draft, then write a second draft, then a third, then a fourth and so on and so forth. By the time they reach their final draft, the story, the structure, everything will have completely changed. But for me, it has never been like that. My first or second draft is usually my final draft that I am happy with.
I used to question why? I used question whether it is just that I am lazy? Am I just trying to escape from work? So, this time, for my year one thesis film, I decided to work harder on my script. I tried doing multiple drafts. But I couldn’t go beyond the third draft. As soon as I reached my third draft, that was it. I didn’t want to change it anymore. I was perfectly happy with it.
That set me thinking…why? Finally, today, I reached an answer. I finally know why. I realized that unlike my classmates, I don’t get to work with a pen and paper. Writing is something that I’m doing constantly in my head. I keep thinking about it. I keep revising it. I keep re-writing it in my head. By the time I actually get to putting it down on paper, I’ll have gone through several drafts in my head. That is why my first or second draft is usually my last draft. Finally, mystery solved.
Today, writing is just something I do. No, actually, its not just something I do. It is something that I enjoy doing as well. When I’m writing, I forget everything around me, I lose track of what’s happening. I just immerse myself in what I typing out on my laptop. For me, it’s like meditation. You know how you’re never supposed to let anything divert you when you are meditating. I could never do that. I struggle to do that when I try to meditate in the traditional form of meditation. But when I write, it just happens. All my thoughts focus on just one thing.
And that is what, I guess, writing is to me!