|Boat on Godavari|
During my teens, I used to write a lot of poetry. Books full of it. Much of it was mechanical emulation of the romantics and the avant garde, right down to multi-layered classical allusions and synesthetic mimicry. Where I ran out of source material, I invented it, sometimes masterfully. When I read my adolescent notebooks today, I wonder how, more than why, I indulged in such juvenile academic calisthenics. Yet, there was a strangely refreshing spontaneity and tension about it, which now visits me rarely - like a new budget airline setting up shop. Of course, I am also able to see how I was exploring the power of writing, how I was trying to seek and strengthen my own voice. From another perspective, also that of writing, it is a record of my evolution, an essential and perhaps private chapter of my incredible journey. If I have to seek a parallel, however, it would have to be that of painkillers.
I was barren but aware of a truth within that I had no access to, and I was trying to use all that I encountered to try and divine that well, similar to how the intensity of mother-in-law/daughter-in-law soap operas help cope with the vapid selfishness of the small world outside us. I have grown since then, as only a novice can claim, in my understanding of the art, the craft, and my content. Yet, the moments that would earlier have translated themselves into verse began to be spent more and more in silent wonder and thankful prayer. With time, and personal accomplishment, I began to shed what I considered baggage, to let go of the need to fit in and feel a part of. For a good part of my life, I became content with just being in the presence of the mystery of life. The artist in me, one could say, learned to see, and in sight, turned into a monk.