I wondered about how books begin and I figured they too start as nothing, blank space and then a dot and once that dot is formed, it has begun. And it is this very dot that refuses to come out of me. And yet I can feel my book inside me sometimes. It feels almost whole, its edges sharp against my skin, its glimpses so vivid like the words are already printed on a page, fixed and un-undoable. So why am I so afraid to start, so keen to decide exactly what it will stand for before it is even born, so skeptical about its future. Will it be lost in the lakhs of books printed and forgotten each year across the world in a kind of literary black hole? Will it be just a dot in this Milky Way of books? What if it really eventually amounts to nothing, a failure? Will that be terribly beautiful or just terrible? Will it make me happy to have finally accomplished the task of writing a whole and entire book or will I lose that soft glow of a vague but promising future success that illuminates so many of my dark days and nights?
What will come out of me if I allow it is slightly intimidating too. I think once we begin writing, the piece takes on a life of its own and at some point the piece tells you where to take it, how to twist it and prune it, it whispers softly into your ears, so soft that one doesn’t know that the thoughts are one’s own. I am afraid what this piece will make me do. Whose hearts it would break, what shade in me will be highlighted and more than the lies and fiction, what facts and truths that are deeply buried, will it unravel?
This urge to write is a strange and elusive thing. It will roar and swell when I am in motion, walking, traveling: train, bus, auto, doesn’t matter and the minute I come to a place where I have the actual luxury of taking a notebook and scribbling down my thoughts or rat-a-tat-tat at the laptop keyboard, I will draw a complete blank. I will be unable to think about what I wanted to write. Like a shy bladder almost. A shy hand. Can’t write when the spotlight is on me, in this case, my spotlight is the white glow of the blank screen on my face. I also notice that I can’t take out my notebook and write when someone is looking over my shoulder. And sometimes a new and unusual place, not even particularly quiet you know, like the food court in a mall on a weekday afternoon, such places too cause an immediate flow of thoughts, ideas and words and for those few blissful moments, I am in the flow, I can hear my “hum”.