An Ode to My Fifteen-year-old Self
‘I have not written in ages’ was the sentence I started with every time I wrote something and nothing would come up after that because it was a lie. I had been writing all along; even at times, I did not want to write and no words escaped out in the paper. In the buses I rode with head phones on, eyes open, looking at the abysmal scenarios that passed by: the broken bridges, dusty roads, black smokes coming out of dingy vehicles, clouded eyes of drunkards, smelly shirts of hardworking people in a nasty mood, crammed spaces searching for air, my brain would compose poems after poems that never found their way into the papers. The scariest thing about not writing was the constant thought that lodged into my mind that nobody would care if I stopped writing completely.
Each day, I stared at the tip of the pen to drop a useful ink in the papers but it did not until one faithful night I opened up the diary that contained pages and pages of smudged inks and was only half filled up. It contained letters to imaginary people written by a girl of fifteen about how good the pani-puri tasted and how she failed a math test. It seemed as if the girl did not care about the grotesque handwriting and grammatical errors. All she cared about was to jot down everything and every single memory her tiny self gathered from the world. I did not recognize her at all, wished I were she and became her for a night. I was fifteen that night and I wrote a poem about an open lidded acetone bottle that was both dark and angry like all the fifteen year olds are or maybe like how I was. After that, I composed a lists of embarrassing whys and why not’s. It was all very satisfying and tiring not because I did not get to sleep that night, but because being a fifteen year old is somewhat unnerving. I have been writing since then. Little by little, starting with a sentence and moving on to a paragraph and then two paragraphs as of today. The first sentence I wrote after that night of being fifteen was, “Expecto Patronum your dementors”, which was not very original and did not have any concrete meaning whatsoever but considering that the ratio of words escaping through the pen to the paper was zero is to one, it seemed like a great achievement.
I started writing not to judge and coward away from feelings. It was because the words had power to change the world around me.
Writing has always been about escaping reality. Maybe I stopped writing because at this point of time, reality is slapping my face like a Hindi tele-movie’s “saas”. I would compare reality with a kind of common cold that shuts down your ear canal and makes you feel like a drowned fish but I will not because that is literally my reality right now. I still stumble at words and sentences and some of my thoughts will never find their way into a paper because I do not know how to make them sound coherent. If my fifteen year old self wanted to form these thoughts into sentences, I am sure she would go with a green pen in big capital letters, “I HATE YOU WORLD!!! AND COMMON COLD!” It was her way of coping with reality in a sentence. These days, I cope it with bundles of tissue paper and coffee and phone calls. It is okay to believe that she was more interesting than I am. Maybe she was stronger than I was because she fought her battles alone and survived with all those imaginary people she made up while I have an army that help me through everything. Over the years, it was as if those imaginations materialized in unbelievable ways. I keep wondering if she was writing my story, years ago in that study table beside blue windows, which had a kid hanging by the handle, shouting routes of micro-buses. (This is the story for another time). Her letters were ode to things that did not exist and she was glad. When things did not made sense she wrote until they made sense and she was glad. She was glad and that really mattered to her. She was never worried if the world was glad with her scribbles as long as she was happy. Today, I would have not written all these stuffs, if it were not for her diary. She made me realize that the reason I started writing was not to judge and coward away from feelings. It was because the words had power to change the world around me, even though the change was infinitesimally little. It made me happy. And it mattered.