01/04/2016 1:24 PM IST | Updated 15/07/2016 8:26 AM IST

Why I Write: An Indian Novelist Explains

Writing is magical. I've been a writer for 10 years now. I started out late, which some say is a good thing.

I was in my early thirties stranded on the Howrah railway station, my train ten hours late, and something magical happened at that moment. I don't know how, but I ended up writing the initial chapters of my first novel. And ever since that day, I've been addicted to the power of my own imagination. You should try it too. Just surrender to your thoughts, allow your soul to create good and bad mirror images, make them want or loathe something, and you are all set for a lifetime of adventure and fun.

To my mind, there are only two kinds of writers: those who write very well, and those who write well. It is another matter that many writers don't sell. That might be a sore point. But you have to ask yourself: what is your motivation to write. If it is money--which is not a bad thing--then writing becomes a job. A job is a job and it comes with its own targets, timelines and earnings etc. But if the motivation to write is to unravel this puzzle called life and get on a trip negotiating thoughts that help demystify people and their actions, then writing takes only one direction: that of pleasure.

At a personal level writing allows me to explore a new world where people don't just exist, they live, their goals are not imagination, they are possible realities, where emotions are not a burden, but a relief to channelize life itself, where unreal is more real, and where god is a distant aberration who watches over curiously. In short, I'm the legal owner of the alternate world that I choose to create. I call the shots, I decide the rules, I change them halfway, and I cherry-pick the winner, who, by the way, is not always the best guy in your world. It's this power to create and destroy which makes up my day. I live two realities: the one created by nature, and the other created by me. It's magical as I said. Do you get the drift?

I like the idea of resetting rights and wrongs, playing with the established norms of the society, twist the ambition of the communities that are obsessed with themselves, challenge basic notion about love, longing, need, choice, identity, and survival. I write urban stories set in contemporary times, dealing with real themes and issues, but also explore the core questions of need and negligence through the matrix of greed, hunger, and success as it exists in our civilization today.

Writing has also made me a better reader of life. I can see more, feel more, live more, and share more. I think ever since I started writing I have become more tolerant and compassionate, and I like the idea of challenging myself. When my own questions target myself, it acts as a booster dose to the magic that I experience every day as a writer.

Trust me, writing is a magical experience. I have found mine, now it's your turn.

* This piece had earlier appeared in Open Road Review here.