There are two sayings that I grew up hearing. One: “No one gets before the time and more than the fate.” Two: “You make your own destiny.” I sort of believe in both of these. We never get anything before we are destined to get it. Time prepares us for the things that are meant for us. We all are destined to fulfill a purpose, and those who work towards their purpose, following their bliss, make their destiny. I failed in every other career I tried to pursue, and I ended up being a writer, poet followed by being an editor. Did I ever think of becoming any of these? Never. Specially not the editor.
When I entered class 11, the time when we have to make ‘career’ choices and choose subjects accordingly. It was the only time I was a pain for my teachers. I jumped from one stream to another, one section to the other until there were no more choices left to choose from. I studied commerce for a month, and I wanted to do anything in life but graduation in commerce. Since I belong to a family of businessmen, almost every member of my family has this degree. I wanted to stand-out, do something different. I hated each minute I was studying in that class though I was scoring well in tests. When the 10th results came out in summer vacations, I switched to science (PCM) but I wasn’t happy there as well. Engineer, me? Never. I am too bad with numbers. Then I dropped maths and took Biology, hence again changing the section. My school didn’t offer arts; so I, somehow, did graduation from it. With regards to my parents, I can only say that they have always been, and still are, supportive of me and my decisions as long as I stay happy and safe.
With entering medical stream, a new dream began clouding my mind. It never had my heart; I never had this dream before. All I loved doing since childhood was filling up pages and pages with unreadable scribbles. I hadn’t found a way to put my thoughts into words but writing… it was always my companion. Only books I used to read were textbooks. Only time I loved about studying medical was when we used to make endless notes at the coaching institute because that meant running pen on paper, uninterrupted.
The dream of being a doctor, that I had turned into my goal, kept running away from me the more I tried to hold on to it. I wish I knew earlier that a dream that doesn’t have your heart in it, is not a dream at all. I just could not make it to medical school no matter how hard I tried, how hard I studied. And to whichever college I made, my family didn’t approve of it for a number of reasons. I gave medical exams for three years, dropping the first year, and choosing to pursue English literature from Open School, DU as a side course in the second year of medical exams prep because English was one subject I loved beyond words. My class 7 English teacher is the only and the best thing happened to me in the school. She taught me creative writing, corrected me wherever I went wrong, encouraged me in her own ways. Her praises for my English test papers used to make my day, but I could never tell her what it meant to me because I was this shy, quiet kid.
Anyway, I was adamant about not giving up on entrance exams. I was trying to prove myself, but to whom? I had no clue. Maybe to the person in me who always believed that I am not good enough. We are our worst critics. I did give up on trying to get into the medical school at the end when I saw all the obstacles and realised that it wasn’t destined. But the fire within me to do something in my life had not extinguished and it still hasn’t.
When I studied and appeared in first year’s B.A. (English) exams, I fell in love with literature. These books attracted me more than those big fat medical books had ever attracted me. I fell in love with reading. Pride and Prejudice’s summary was the first thing I read while preparing for exams, and who cannot fall in love with Jane Austen’s work? If her novel’s summary was so beautiful, how amazing the book could be? The more I read and studied, the more I wanted to write. So, the course that I had taken as a ‘side’ course showed me the path to my destiny. I had always mistaken my passion for writing with my love for studies. I loved writing and playing with the words. I could never sustain the torture of physics and numbers. They have always been my nemesis.
When I told my best friend about my wish to pursue writing, she encouraged me, motivated me and even gave me prompts to help me practice writing. She has been my best and most important support in my writing journey. She is the one who, unknowingly, gave me the idea of posting my writings on Instagram. So, in December 2015, my Instagram journey began and I have not stopped posting on IG since then. Two months later, in Feb 2016, I took February Writing Challenge curated by Artson Publishing House and I won it. It landed me my first chance to get published in the anthology of poems titled ‘Little Love Notes’. This gave me the courage to take my writing ahead and courage is a big thing. With this win, I became confident enough to start sharing my writings on Facebook and my family, friends, relatives all saw a new version of mine. Nobody ever thought I’d be a writer, much less winning a writing challenge. My emails, inbox were all flooded with their wishes.
I began writing Poetic Letters To God after the release of Little Love Notes, contributing in several other anthologies simultaneously. With the anthology ‘Soo Much in Love’, my journey with Raindrops Publishers began and it’s been a pure blessing since then. I applied for the position Editor at Raindrops and during the travel diaries anthology project, Bernard Sir, CEO of Raindrops Inc. mentored me and taught me all about compiling, editing, interacting with contributing authors and poets, and publishing. He believed in me more than I did. Two years later, they published my debut book ‘Poetic Letters To God’. During those two years, I compiled and edited five anthologies, learned many more new things and met some great writers. It all helped me make my book better. Meanwhile, I did my master’s in English from IGNOU because one, I dreaded going to the college being an introvert and two, I wanted to focus full time on my writing and editing while studying. My introversion, which was a trouble throughout my childhood, has become my strength now with the help of poetry.
I do not know if my story is inspiring or not, yet it sure is chaotic. But I call it all fate. I was fated to be a writer and so I am now. I met right people at the right time and they all played their part to make me who I am and who I will be.
I won’t call it depression but my constant failures had made me sad and hopeless because I had never ever failed in my life, specially not in academics. I had this thing in my mind that I can clear every damn exam. Entrance exams are perhaps made to break that vain pride. I had deactivated my Facebook to avoid all interactions with people I knew. I became active on Twitter instead, and found some amazing strangers who are now my best friends, people who understand me like I understand myself, more so because I am more expressive in texts compared to talking in-person or on call. These are the people who never left my side. Who love me for the person I am. My inspiration is Michelin-starred Chef Vikas Khanna, who is also an author and poet, because all my Twitter friends are his fans and that’s how we met each other. He taught us how following our bliss can lead us to our destiny, to do what our heart finds peace in doing, how failures lead us to something even better. 6 years from the day I began following him, he wrote foreword for ‘Poetic Letters To God’ and it was one of my best moments! Having foreword for my first book written by the person I have always looked up to, who is the reason I had the audacity to write a book and get it published.
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It’s true that our darkest moments give us the biggest blessings. Failures were important, I know it now. And I see every failure as an opportunity. Failures and rejections are God’s way of putting us on our destined path when we start treading on the wrong route. And sometimes, it’s okay to give up as long as you are willing to give your all to something else. Now, when I look back, I Thank God for everything. I’d have been very unhappy and dissatisfied with life if I had been a doctor. My heart didn’t belong there. I prefer healing people with words. When people message or email me saying that my words have helped them overcome depression or broken relationships, I feel blessed. I am still healing others… emotionally.
I have come a long way yet there’s still a long way to go. Let’s see how and what this journey unfolds.