When Namrata di asked me to guest post for her blog, I didn’t know what to write. I asked her what she would want me to guest blog about. She said she usually asks people to write about their journey in writing thus far. Or to choose the topic – and I decided to mix and match.
It is no secret that I had wanted to be a writer since I was six years old. I remember having written this poem called ‘Ringing Bells’ and it appeared on my school’s first wall magazine during Christmas Fete. I remember my sister telling my mother excitedly, “Did you see? Chingri’s poem appeared in the first edition of the magazine?” And I remember feeling rather tiny as I stood in front of the board that had my poem pinned on it, staring at my name. Someone had rubbed off the childish writing in pencil and re-written it with an orange sketch pen. My writing never appeared again in the school magazine because my sister became the editor and she was apprehensive that people would say it was favouritism. I didn’t try either. Until the school decided to publish the best written essays during examinations as pieces in the school magazine!
Looking back, I can tell you that wanting to write and trying to figure out where to get published was what consisted of most of my childhood. I didn’t want anyone other child, growing up, wanting to write in English to face the trouble I faced. That’s what made me start BUZZ Magazine (www.buzzmagazine.in) when I was in my final year in MPhil. Of course, most of the contributors aren’t the target age group I had in mind. But I am sure we’ll get there. Because social media wasn’t even there when I was growing up! Things are surely different now.
So with all my struggles of figuring out where and how to get published, I happened to come across this site called fanfiction.net. It’s a place where people can write stories of their favourite characters in Alternate Universes. It was fun and amazing. They had a sister site called FictionPress. There, they allowed you to post original fiction. That intrigued me. That there was place to make myself heard. It was the site where I started writing the very first drafts of The Secret Proposal (originally called The Strange Proposal). I was in my 2nd year Masters when my friend, Chiquita suggested that I try and get published. In my head, I’d just decided that trying to be published was not going to happen till I was in my late twenties or early thirties! Because I’d tried contacting publishing houses and all I have to show for them are rejection letters. (Well, I did try to approach them when I was fourteen. So...that’s kind of my fault. Because no matter how gifted you maybe, writing at the end of the day is still an art and work. And it needs a lot of patience and a lot of study to write a good story.) Everyone has good ideas but trying to put them into words and words which will stay with your readers for a long time is what really matters.
The Secret Proposal hit the markets in 2012 but for some reason it didn’t do too well. The next book I wrote was The Guitar Girl and I took the indie route for that. In the meantime, my life took a downward spiral for various reasons. I tried to make myself recover the only way I knew how: by writing. It was with a completely broken heart and an equally shattered mind, that I began writing what would become When Our Worlds Collide. This story was published first as an e-book and then in paperback by General Press. It was the story of Akriti and Zayn and the elusive happily ever after that resonated with the readers and I started feeling okay again. It discovered that writing gave me strength, and the ultimate secret: all good writing comes from a place of pain.
To be honest, the story idea for All Signs Lead Back to You had started as a joke. I toyed around with the idea of a girl who’d be my polar opposite. Who doesn’t like thinking, who doesn’t want to stop and see what’s beyond her immediate future. Who is so scared of her own feelings, that she believes in hurting people rather than getting hurt! And what happens when a guy who is completely in love with her gets caught up in her whirlwind. Of course things end in a disaster. But because this girl doesn’t understand that you cannot just go back where you broke it off, she tries her best to get him back. She doesn’t care about the prices she and everyone else around her might have to pay for it.
For some reason, none of us are ever able to let go of our first loves. Somehow our minds keep circling back to them: over and over again. It doesn’t matter if they knew it doesn’t matter if we had been in a relationship with them. Their thoughts don’t let us go. Even the tiniest of signs lead us back to them. And hence, was born the story of a reckless girl and a careful boy and I had my fourth novel: All Sings Lead Back to You.
I know Diya is no Akriti and Ashwin is no Zayn. But no two people ever have had the same story, isn’t it? This is a completely different tale, with different characters. The only thing I had hoped my readers would take away from this story is this: that no matter how damaged and broken something seems, there is always, always a way to become whole again.
Thank you for reading this rather long blog post! I really enjoy writing. Can’t you tell by the length of this post?
www.anieshabrahma.com and runs an online magazine, BUZZ Magazine. She can be contacted at: firstname.lastname@example.org. She lives in Kolkata with her family and her five super adorable cats!