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Friday, July 27, 2018

Hometown for immigrants

I have had this blog for over a decade now.

This place has probably been the reason that led me to become a writer in the first place. Did I start writing seriously for the first time in this blog? Maybe not. But I have written and lived my life through words. And a lot of them are inscribed upon this blog. 

I do not honestly remember what made me take up writing on this blog. This was not my first blog (and perhaps won't be the last). But it has always been a trusty friend, every time I have wanted to come back to it. The last time I returned to the blog was nearly a year ago. It was with the promise to write more, write stories and tales. But it never happened. 

I feel that I harbour the notion that a lot of writers have, across the globe - that I am not really a writer. I haven't written as much as I should have. Or would be willing to. The ideas and words have come in spurts and short bursts, but never like a steady, flowing stream. When it did, I managed to churn out a short story. And in the offhand case, even a novel. While it is not a published piece of work, I am moderately proud of it. Purely because it saw completion. Completion comes rare to me, unless and until I drag myself over the finish line. 

I strongly feel that every single time I have tried to pressure myself or promised myself to get back to writing in earnest, I have failed. So this time around, I shall avoid it and simply see if I can do this. 

I haven't written a story in months. And the fact has been nagging at me. I look for remedies in reading, endless errands that I manage to run, just to avoid writing. And I  do not believe that there is a lack of inspiration. Or ideas for that matter. I often find it difficult to take things to a fruitful closure. And this (probably) is a reflection of my life as well. Sticking to a line of action has always been troublesome for me. Validation or looking for it, has also been something that has often driven me to do certain things, and even led to achievements. I remember how, when I finally started to get some traction on this blog, I realized that there was more that could be done. I could write stories. Move people with what they were reading. And I kept doing it for a long time, years even. A whole selection of my writings from this blog would become 'Cold Feet' - my first work in print, published by an Indy press that would shut shop in the future. And after Cold Feet would come 'Revenge', a novella that would be created within a week of writing while being at work in Hindustan Times. The short stories would continue being created, one at a time, in short spurts of creativity. One of them would find space in a UK Anthology of Horror Stories. Two others would find a place of pride in two Indian anthologies. One carelessly doodled comic strip would also end up being featured in a short comic by Amar Chitra Katha. Even this would shut shop in a few editions time. The fate of magazines, publishing houses, or much rather, anything associated with the written word seems to be imminent death. And that is a depressing thought. 

Which makes one wonder. Isn't all of Everything headed the same way? A world that will eventually collapse on itself sometime in the future?

When I started writing this post, I was mulling over how people move from small towns to bigger cities and capitals for higher studies or to find jobs. I am a part of the same bandwagon. When I moved to Delhi in 2003, I was a small town boy at heart. Fifteen years later, I am still the same. The wonders of a big city never cease to amaze me. I still walk around, open-mouthed, if I end up going into a plush building at Cyber Hub or walk through the high-sheen corridors of a DLF Emporio, the air heavy with exotic scents. But that is not what I wanted to talk about.

When I return to my hometown once in a while, I look around, trying to connect back to places that I grew up in. The alleys (where I went shopping), my school (doesn't look as big anymore) and endless other places. But there is a strong sense of time being stagnant. I have seen flyovers and buildings crop up around me in Delhi over the years. The city has been evolving over time and it is easy to spot. When I go back home, it seems little has changed. But, this is not true. There are multiplexes there and big malls, just like in Delhi. The consumerist beast has spread its jaws far and wide. Perhaps, there is some secret circuitry that refuses to let me see the change that has happened in my city. It still feels the same. Or maybe that's how it will always feel. A city, built on the foundation of my memories of it.

Which is what this blog feels like to me. It is like the hometown for immigrants, a place where you come back years later and feel that nothing has changed. But things have. Almost all the blogs I followed back then have shut down. Blogspot isn't what it was anymore. Hell, I don't even know if blogging is the same anymore.

But, hey. I can still blog. In this place which feels like home.

But will this turn into something that has a pattern, a form? Something I can hope and bank my writing career upon? I do not know. And like everything else, I am worried about leaving this garble of thoughts and ideas incomplete once again. I started writing this yesterday and couldn't finish it, so it definitely needs to be completed. Baby steps. This is like flexing of muscles or the time I tried to take up running. Maybe my writing muscle will grow over time. It is critical that I put a Finis at the end of this. So I will pretend that this is an end and stop right here. 

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