Why Write?

09/03/2015 8:05 AM IST | Updated 15/07/2016 8:25 AM IST
Laineys Repertoire/Flickr
Ditched the typewriter, kept the letters

Words. That's why. I need them to make sense of this world. Everyone does. But I need them to tumble out of my head, jostle their way through the pen, and fill the paper in front of me - sometimes to make that perfect sentence, and sometimes to get mercilessly murdered for tumbling out a little too soon.

What if I didn't have that pen? What if there was no keyboard to furiously type at? What if I didn't write at all? Would it make a difference to me? I am not exactly spewing out path-breaking pieces of literature that in the next century, would be the subject of an evening of deep literary conversation over clinking glasses. So then why stare at the blank screen for hours sometimes with the words mostly refusing to fall in order?

Over the third cup of strong coffee, the few, but enormous, grey words of doubt were still pacing about in my head, while the rest crowded in one corner, and hid beneath the darkest thoughts. The grey ones are mostly words of rejection and ridicule that come with the territory. Their mission is mostly to get the pen to stop. As I reached for a refill, a note slid in the room from under the door. Whoever pushed it in, giggled and whispered something to the other giggler. The note was mysterious enough to get the grey words to stop, and watch me pick it up.

Your most revered and respected Majesty,

We, the lowly subjects of your magnificent kingdom, are rejoiced to remind your Greatness that tomorrow the last of our enemies shall fall. The balance to our motherland shall be restored, and days of peace shall once again dawn upon us. I pray to thee, O benevolent one, that after we have slayed the last of those merciless monsters, you, in the name of the kindness that resides in your large heart, allow us to celebrate the change of tide that tomorrow brings.

Most humbly,

Forever at your service,

Your loyal subjects.

The subjects' beaming faces peered through the door. "So can we go to Big Chill for lunch tomorrow after the exam?"

I nodded, and smiled my biggest smile. The subjects were now shrieking with joy.

I discover such notes everyday - some announce a revolt, others ask for a dramatic pardon, some declare their quiet love, and yet others request for a list of books and other knickknacks that hold the key to their very survival.

Somewhere the boys also know that the large-hearted queen could never say no to such eloquence. That's us - we need written words to make sense of us. We fumble when these words try to roll off our tongues, for they mostly end up in a messy pile. We like to communicate through words that our fingers can trace, and our eyes can behold forever.

The grey words in my head had seen the entire drama. They left. They understand that I need words - not the damp, depressing grey ones but the other ones - the humorous ones, the sarcastic ones, the teary ones, the scary ones, the sad ones and the angry ones. Not the monstrous grey ones that scare the other words away.

Words, for me, are therapeutic. Sometimes, the most delicious ones climb up from the books that I read, and meet the little one in my head. The words dance around some more, conjuring up startling scenes and wondrous worlds. Without them, I'd just have the grey words - their putrid smell, their drooping shoulders, and the chill they bring to the bone.

I love my small, chirpy, chaotic bundles of alphabets. I march on, followed by a trail of words, jostling with each other, elbowing the one in front, and tripping the one behind, all itching to form that perfect sentence, that perfect story, that perfect world.

So I stare at the blank sheet. So, I write.

Previously posted at Tanu Shree's blog, Random Thoughts.

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