About the Right Ting

Or about my lousy attempts at putting puns everywhere.

I’ve always loved writing. My love for the English language began in my 3rd grade, after I moved to Canada and stayed there for almost a year. When I moved back to India, I was acing all of my English exams!

I think it was in my 9th grade that I started writing elaborate stories. Cause you know, adolescence. So many things I could write about! But before I could start writing, I had to start reading, which, if you’re a 90s kid like me, started off invariably thanks to the Boy who has continued to Live in my imagination, Harry Potter.

Fun fact: HP1 was my first ever Christmas present.

Of course I had read through most of Enid Blyton too, because that’s what our school library had. But maybe it was for the lack of exposure and awareness, I had only ever read … kiddie fiction. I graduated to young adult fiction a bit later, but my sources of inspiration for writing were more or less, limited.

But that didn’t really matter. Growing up, just offered a lot of material to write about. I had a lot of dreams and aspirations. And like every odd-ball kid who didn’t feel like (s)he fit in, I always thought I was made for greater stuff. That my keen observation of the world around me would give me an edge, later on, in life.

I once dreamed about the college that I’d eventually get into, and wrote a piece about it. About how life would be. Or how I would meet a mysterious and intellectually superior guy, with whom I could have a war of words, ideas, humor and possibly love. So basically, my pieces were about wishful thinking. And they were either in my diary or saved as Word documents on my first ever laptop.

But after I got into college, I was exposed to an entirely new universe, which was colorful and vibrant. It was there when I started blogging for the first time. I would blog about the people I would notice. I made caricatures out of most of them and wove short stories that would deconstruct their personalities. Later on, I’d also blog about my experiences. Writing became more observational.

Towards the end of college, I experienced the first ever lull in my life. And I admit, that was the first time I experienced something close to depression. I was very scared of making a decision for myself, career-wise. It was also a point when I had minimal human interaction. So then, blogging became a keeping-an-eye-on-self therapeutic outlet. It also gave rise to Nerdville version 1. And I kept at it, till I found myself in the next phase of life.

Deliberation. During my gap year between college and just before coming to Iowa for my PhD, I found myself moving in and out of phases of deliberation. It was a halfway stage. I wasn’t completely down in the dumps, but I wasn’t fully out of the pit either. There was a lot of contemplation, that eventually helped me understand myself a little bit better. It opened up wounds that I never even knew existed. And this was the first time, that I wrote, not just about what I felt, but also about what I wanted to feel. I started using blogging as a healthy way of processing and channeling my emotions.

After that stage, things finally started looking up for me. My PhD started off pretty well. I had changed around 3 or 4 blogs in total, till that point. And I just thought to myself, this new-phase-new-blog rule wasn’t working any more. It just felt like I was stowing my past phases away. But my existence was never a disjoint and disconnected sequence of phases. It was more of a continuous learning experience. So, I decided to stop running away from myself. And so, Nerdville version 2 continues to thrive.

At that point, I started looking towards a new direction to my writing. It didn’t always have to be about me. Didn’t have to be my aspirations, my observations, my feelings and my way of rationalizing. Writing and reading, could be a more wholesome experience. So I tried to extend my passion by adding an extra dimension, of creativity. Writing stories, which were not necessarily centered around me. Though I did borrow elements of myself for writing them, but I did make many of them largely fictional. And that, to me, was an accomplishment of another sort. Writing doesn’t have to be about my current universe. It could be about an alternate one, which very much contains elements from the present one.

To date, I think that’s the most beautiful thing about writing. I can weave a universe that I want, and no one can stop me! No restrictions. No consequences to fear about. For a control freak like me, it just works really well! Writing, at the end of it all, is just about finding the right ting.


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