Writing is no fluke. You do not suddenly wake up one day, take a pen and paper and become a writer overnight. Well, there might be instances or coincidences that might create the aforementioned situation, but for a layman like me, writing was developed through myriad inspirations and a lot of trial and error.
Inspiration can take different forms through your life and they play a part in what you translate on to a blank canvas at the end of the day. I remember once in art class, when I was a kid, we were given an assignment to design a visiting card. I wanted to be what my Dad was then – a sales executive. So, when my project came to fruition, the visiting card proudly stated – Nishath Nizar, Sales Executive – with a funkier logo and design for the company my Dad worked for. I know what my Dad must have been thinking when I proudly showed it to him – Of all the things you could have become in the world, you chose to become a sales executive? (with no offence intended at the profession i.e.). Well, you couldn’t blame me, my Dad was and is my hero, and I wanted to be anything he was. For the 8 or 9 year old me, the biggest takeaway from the exercise was that I was able to make a funky logo out of the blue in place of the drab current one.
All through childhood, the school library was one of the places I loved to frequent. Going through Enid Blytons, RL Stines, Greek, Roman and Scandinavian mythology collections, I tried to ensure that even if I didn’t write anything (which I didn’t, until late into my teens), I had the vocabulary to be a nerd. It was only after I shifted countries and schools (for good), that the writing became my essential companion. While I began writing to compensate loneliness arising out of new location, new people and new circumstances, just a year later I was in it for the sheer joy and collaborations it brought me. Inspiration from childhood is almost always based on your experiences at school, and I had countless anecdotes and crazy collaborators who helped raise a poet first and writer later. Then there were the heartbreaks, the fights and teenage angst that was great fodder for writing. Along side all of this, I had some wonderful friends, who stood by me at every step of the way and encouraged me to write no matter how crappy it turned out.
Moving to high school and college, it was time for refinement, and the creation of style that has stood by me since the creation of this blog. It was also the time when I got into the habit of writing long letters to anyone who was willing to lend an ear. I still have the whole bunch of correspondence I had with some wonderful women, who have influenced me in a lot of ways. While words barely escaped my lips, I was able to put everything into words on paper at the get go.
I first started writing letters, after my best friend moved to Pattambi in tenth grade. Conversing with Anusha over letters marked the beginning of this ritual, which in today’s day and age is almost non-existent. We would just blab on for pages about every other detail that went on in our lives. Even with the advent of instant messaging, letters continued. Aditi was another close friend, who through her words and letters brought about a lot of calm to some tumultuous times, and allowed me to vent out things I could not have otherwise said out loud. Then there was the savvy Mizaj, who was incidentally my first pen pal and was my personal psychologist before she even started pursuing it in real life. Even this blog had a major influence from Mukta, with whom I would compete to put up the most number of posts. (She won, putting up 36 posts in 2008, while I was able to muster just 21).
Time and again, I have found such people, who have allowed me the freedom and creativity of melding my methodologies into mustering up what I am able to today. And I am thankful to each one of them. At my first (technically second) job in a sports magazine, I always looked up to Kadambari and Anand as my mentors, not just because they were my seniors but fantastic writers themselves. Their influence on me at my first job gave me one of the most perfect platforms to not just improve my writing, but also taught me leadership worth emulating.
I will be a bad person if I conclude this post without mentioning the guiding influence of Jane, who according to me is my biggest inspiration. Through her writings, advice and pep talks, I found great clarity when I was at crossroads. Even today, the greatest critique I respect is that of Jane’s, because that is the pedestal I will always place her on. Her stories transport you to the place and time she wants you to be in while at the same time making you so emotionally connected to the character, that you will in turn feel compelled to be as crisp and moving as her. So Jaaney (as I like to call her) keep doing what you do, inspire a million others and keep writing ever so beautifully forever!
But no inspiration is complete without the backbone support of your family. Back home, my greatest fan and critic is my Dad. The only other person other than myself to be stoked about me getting back to writing was him. He has been lamenting at me ever since I got into a corporate job, about how I have almost given up on writing. But hey Dad, here is you in a post! So, seems like I haven’t given up on it after all. When you have family like these do you want anything more?