I have written prose and verse, in whatever cobbled form, for nearly 30 years now. I penned these words one night, a few years ago, before a new adventure was about to unfold.
डगर डगर नई नई -
भुगोलकी दिशाएं स्थिर रहेंगी - वहीँ
नदीकी अंगड़ाई सी, सूरज के किरणों से ..
उभरेगी धाराएं किसी एक सुबह
तब तक चांदनी मैं -
ईचार्योग्य गंतव्य के लिए -
नक्शे खीँच रहेहैं - यहीं यहीं.
~ (c) नंदिता | मार्च, २० १ ०,
In Hindi it means:
New paths remain aplenty
though the direction will never change.
Like the grace and ebb of a river
Like a dawns’ first rays...
Shall emerge a stream one morning
We draw maps to wishful destinations
..while still here.
- (C) Nandita, March 2010
Within days after I wrote this, our lives changed and I took on different responsibilities than what I was familiar with. Another few years later, I toyed with the idea of serious writing. One day I was asked: Why not? And, having no good answer to it, but to actually write, I took the mad plunge.
Yesterday, I sent out a minor distillation of 6 months of writing, several years of muscle building labor, to about 70 some people who had pre-ordered this specific portion of my work.
This was my first piece of work as a writer in this specific field of work. The work itself was small, 45-some pages long, extracted from more than 140 intense pages, but that was all that was required for this exercise.
To me, it was bigger than the 45 pages. It represented hours and hours of obsessing over details, of text and photographs, of not having a social or family life, of two individuals helping me present a piece of work.. and we were still finding things to fix. And believe me, there was more to go. It was also vision I had managed to carve, along with my often better half, for myself after being at the mercy of someone else’s plan for themselves too often, and where I did not fit, once too often. It was a slender cow-path we had walked on relentlessly, one footstep at a time, with the undivided attention, conviction and moral support of no one, but my often better half. This - and the blind gamble 130+ strangers and less than 10 friends took in testing my abilities, had been my only motivators. .
And through the day I obsessively returned to my medium of communication - to see if people saw that. There were pictures and words and nuances of style, and the technicalities that only a geek would see. Aesthetics. They saw some of it, but not all. I received a handful of best wishes upon the completion of this piece and what a go-getter I was. Some critiqued that this was not what they expected. Few saw what it represented. Perhaps they did – and through their abbreviated notes, they said it.
After 8 long hours had passed, I decided to quit beating myself up. I had to stop waiting. It was not their dream, it was mine. Of course, I was expecting too much. I spoke with my often better half, and we consoled and boosted each others' spirits - that our dreams would always and only remain our own. He wisely cautioned - we had to rise above seeking approval. This was not a vision that everyone would see. And might be even lonelier if we reached the top, but we could not let today stop us from working towards tomorrow.
And then, as the wrap-up of my day continued I received a brief note from one of the gamblers - the wife of my ex-supervisor, Mr. D, who had also taken part in this exercise and received this 45-page piece. Mrs D has seen me not only as her husbands’ employee, but also as a parent and spouse. We had once visited each others’ homes over holidays as families, where the kids played and the grown-ups talked. But she has also seen me at work, outside of ‘work’ – when I first started freelancing. And when we were no longer tied through common circles – our parting had been bittersweet, for me.
Her simple note read:
Congratulations on successfully pursuing your Dream, Mrs. D.
Whether she meant it or not, there was a powerful voice about those six words. They were more motivating and empowering than all the books out there or quotes by famous people. There appeared a conviction and confidence. But most important, to me – I read the continuity. Her (perhaps) unconscious choice of words told me that somewhere deep inside, she knew that my dreams were bigger than what came through in that email to her. Perhaps some part of her unconscious self knew that this was only the beginning for me. At that moment, I all but cried. She was not my parent, a mentor, a teacher or a colleague yet her words meant so much. I knew, somewhere in her, perhaps she too was a dreamer just like me.
Thank-you Mrs. D, I never imagined that that one Christmas dinner at your warm home nearly 8 years ago would allow me to be a humble recipient of such powerful motivation. Thank you.
With those words in my pocket I continue forth with my writing and my work.
And besides, as they say, “It ain't over until the fat lady sings”. And I, am just warming up.