I have always enjoyed writing. The love for writing started at quite a young age. To be very precise, it started when I was around 7 or 8. I used to jot down silly poems, on the lines of famous Malayalam movie songs. I don’t even have them anymore. They were jotted down on the back of notebooks, which were thrown away at some time or the other. No one even knew I wrote.
That was until I was 10 years old and doing my 5th grade. There came a competition organized by Reynolds in our school. Anyone from the 5th to the 10th grade could participate in it. I don’t think there was even the distinction of Upper Primary students and High School students. It was a writing competition and I took part in it. The competition was this – the team from Reynolds would give five random words and we had to weave a story out of these words, using all of them in the story. It sounded quite bizarre to me and the five words I got seemed extremely random at that time. I don’t remember the words now. I thought for some time and wrote something. I didn’t know if it looked good or not, I didn’t really care. The allotted time was over and we went about our classes like usual.
In the last hour of school we were taken to the auditorium where the results would be announced. I sat with my friends, laughing and having fun, feeling extremely sure the High School seniors would win it. After some speeches were made by the people who came from Reynolds, they came to announcing the winners. They said they had two names with them – both of whose stories were equally good. They called the first name, it was, as expected a friend of my brother’s who was doing his 9th grade. I knew him pretty well and was very happy he won. Then out of the blue I heard them announcing “Radhika”. I didn’t budge. I sat there like a rock feeling sure they had made a mistake. They announced again – “Radhika”. That was when my friends started pulling at me to make me stand up and go on stage. I hated going on stage for anything and my legs started trembling. There was no escape. I went on stage, looking puny beside the 9th grader, the teachers and the guests from Reynolds. But as I stood there trembling, I felt a feeling of elation, like I had really achieved something. That was the first time I realized I was a writer, not a good one perhaps, but still a writer in my own terms.
After that win I started writing in my diary regularly – just normal and casual journal entries. It gave me a chance to vent out what I really felt, every day, about everything. It went on for a long time, until I finished 12th grade. The only other writing I used to do was in the form of general essays for English and Malayalam papers in examinations. I used to write those better than the essays based on the study material and my teachers used to appreciate me for them. The major form of writing continued to be diary entries though. Then one day, I sat and read everything I had written in my diaries over a period of 6-7 years. I couldn’t believe how childish and immature I was and what all nonsense I had written, especially on days when I was really upset. I decided to start afresh and burnt all my diaries. Maybe I should have kept them, when I think of it now. But what is done, is done. I opened a new diary and started writing in it. But unlike before it was not on a daily basis. It was when I really felt like writing and on things I wanted to write about.
I soon graduated from my diary to MS Word and from MS Word to the internet when I started my own blog space in 2006. Not many bothered to read what I posted there, but I didn’t care. I was posting them for my own joy, sometimes for my own peace of mind. I went on write about things I really cared for, things I really couldn’t stand. My rebellious mind which despised orthodox ideals vented itself out in the form of blogs I posted. I never named anyone or wrote anything that would hurt a person directly in my blogs. I just wrote what I felt about a scenario and how I felt it should have been. They were all purely my opinion and it was never imposed on anyone. My parents hated it and kept urging me to delete my blogs. I understood why they said so. A young girl who had to be “married off” was not supposed to portray unconventional ideas on the internet for the world and especially “the society” to see. I totally understood their worry, but was unwilling to delete what really meant the world to me. I guess it was all about standing by what I believed in. I’ve had marriage proposals withdrawn by the guy and his parents, due to my blogs. I’ve had my family not talking to me for months together, due to my blogs. It all just died down sooner or later.
The latest in the string was getting threatening emails by an old trainee for a blog I wrote about a comment he made on raping a girl. On top of sending me threatening emails, he went ahead and put up status updates on Facebook giving my full name and details along with a hate message and his justification for making the comment that he should have raped a girl. Many of his true followers commented on it abusing “the shameless blogger” who offended their dear friend. None of the followers seemed to worry about the fact that their dear friend was talking about premeditated rape.
But as always, I remain undeterred by threats and fights and abuses. Because for anything, and I mean absolutely anything, I cannot stop writing. I continue my writing not to impress anyone, but only because I don’t have a life without writing; it keeps me alive. It has always been and will always be my lifeline.