Updated: Oct 20, 2018
Thanks for succumbing to the click-baity title. It was either this or '7 shocking facts about Anugrah that will make even the most skeptic millennial subscribe to his blog'.
The irony of writing this post is that I have hit the proverbial writer's block. I have a couple of fiction ideas fermenting at the back of my mind, but I'm unable to bring them to fruition. It's not a devastating loss to the world of literature, I can assure you.
To give you a fair warning beforehand, this particular post has no agenda. Since I have nothing to write about, I thought I'll write about my writings. Why, how and when I write.
The response to my blog, so far, has been phenomenal. I'm told I broke the internet, much like Kim Kardashian, but I managed to do it by exposing marginally lesser skin in Goa.
On a serious note, if you are one of those who contributed to my blog's lukewarm success, I'm really grateful for your encouragement. If you are not one of those, this is the bit where I tell you to press the bell icon to never miss another update from Agnihotrish.
The feedback has been quite varied. Some readers, clearly visually impaired, have suggested that this was one of the best thing they have read in a long time.
"My name is Anish Mysore and I have no words. You are making me cry. I would have gone down on my knees if I were a girl!", declared a reader, citing anonymity.
Slightly more honest readers of Hiraeth responded saying, "I stopped reading the post the moment, I saw the weird title. The design of the website and all is cool tho."
A genuine question that came up - "Is your written English naturally good or do you have to search for synonyms?" My English is loathsome. I literally had to search for synonyms of 'bad' to describe it. And before you ask, my grammar is abhorrent.
I have always misspelled coming as 'comming'. This went unchecked for years, until one day my 12th grade English teacher circled the word on my answer sheet and wrote 'Et tu, Brute?' next to it.
A friend's mother wrote back saying - "He seems to be obsessed with the concept of the supernatural and death". Aunty, I would humbly take that in my stride, for if my memory serves me well, I haven't experienced either so far. Yet, I was able to write about them!
Many have asked why the general tone of the posts seem to be dark and have requested for humorous articles. Counter intuitively, writing gloomy is more fun and cathartic. Writing humour is a lot more difficult than being witty in person or funny on instant messaging. But since humour is therapeutic, I'll try to dish out an extra serving of it from now on. Starting with a mantra I wrote for my own difficult days - "Survive this and I promise you will have another awesome tale to tell your children."
A friend asked me what the real-world inspiration for my poems and stories is. In the words of Albert Camus - 'Fiction is the lie through which we tell the truth.' Nah, Camus was just a lazy, unimaginative writer, I think.
A fellow writer, told me this (which very strongly echoes my own sentiments) - "Always felt that reading someone’s writing is like looking inside the author’s mind, especially the nooks and crannies that the writer seeks to illuminate through their words."
Although my mind's nooks and crannies are filled with cobwebs, one of the primary reasons why I resumed writing after a hiatus, and love to read other people's blogs, is just this.
I wrote a lot when I was in school. The first significant piece I wrote (with generous help from my father) was the autobiography of a blackbuck named Krishna. The story won me the prestigious TATA World's creative writing competition. Thereafter, like every promising artist's career, I hit a dead-end and had to make do with writing SOPs for seniors and cheesy love letters for my friend's love interests.
I feel there are two kinds of writers - most, like P. G. Wodehouse, make the readers sweat with their overwhelming words and convoluted sentences. Few, like Ruskin Bond, seduce you with the simplicity of their expressions and ideas. I strive to be counted in the latter category.
I grew up on a steady diet of Tinkle, Tintin and Goosebumps. I had a strong aversion to classics and foreign authors (even before RSS made it cool). Never really enjoyed Enid Blyton, Charles Dickens and the lot as I could not connect to the world they wrote about.
Exceptions to this norm were Roald Dahl and J.K. Rowling. The Witches by Dahl was the book that single-handedly got me hooked onto the joy of reading. When Potter-mania took the world by storm, I read and re-read pirated paperbacks of the series.
The first unputdownable book I came across was Swami and Friends by R.K. Narayan, which I devoured, cover to cover, within a day. The magic of Malgudi that he weaved is without a parallel. I never read Sherlock Holmes, but I can bet that he is surely no match for our suave desi detective - Satyajit Ray's Feluda. Ray's short stories taught me the art of suspense and twist. A scandalous revelation, but I would like to come out clean today - I might have occasionally enjoyed a Chetan Bhagat novel or two. There, I said it.
My favourite author is Ruskin Bond. No one comes a close second (no offence to all you fine gentlemen and lady, mentioned above). He is a man for all seasons and ages. His idyllic, romantic stories and pure, honest phrasings make me come alive. His most enjoyable books have been Funny Side Up and Omnibus. One of my most prized possessions was his autograph, gifted to me by a friend who visited Ruskin!
Who can resist falling in love with an author who pens something like this : As I walked home last night, I saw a lone fox dancing in the cold moonlight. I stood and watched. Then took the low road, knowing the night was his by right.
Since my childhood, I have read hundreds of books, which have all influenced my writing style, and more importantly, influenced my lifestyle. As I grew up, I finally started to embrace non-fiction and much like the Indian government, I finally opened up to the idea of foreign goods. Guha and Gladwell, now sit side-by-side on my bookshelf. If you have absolutely nothing better to do (why don't you?), you can check my current reading list here.
I am very touchy about my 'library' at home - the modest bottom shelf of my cupboard. Despite nefarious attempts by my family at creating a rift between the two of us, our blossoming love has stood the test of time. I can't bear to see them stuffing that space with sarees in lieu of Sakis or banyans instead of Bonds. If worst comes to worst, I plan on starting a petition at change.org.
In closing, I would like to touch upon the symbiotic relationship between writers and readers.
The writer has no words of his own. They belong to the readers. The readers create them by filling in the colours of their own connotations.
As succinctly put by Ursula Guin - ‘The unread story is not a story. It is little black marks on wood pulp. The reader, reading it, makes it live.’
So, thank you (yes, I'm talking to you!) for bringing to life these tiny, black pixel patterns on your screen.