Aspiring Writer. Defiant Professional
Written By: Malavika Madgula
“I have never started a poem yet whose end I knew. Writing a poem is discovering.” -- Robert Frost
There is a plethora of matter on the internet as to how to get inspired to write, how to write well, ideas on what to write, and so on. I have no idea about the success rate of those who tried this non-conventional path, but I am one who believes that writing comes from within. If something about words makes your whole spine tingle, then you’ve probably had a long love affair with words and you might have even engaged in wordplay at some time; pun unintended!
In my case, apart from the occasional forcefully written pieces for English Literature class in school, writing came to me naturally.
My First Forays
It was the year 2001. Events like WTC, the Bhuj earthquake and the assassination of a royal family had shaken the world. Too young to understand the actual political, economic, and social ramifications, I did the only thing I, as an 11-year old kid thought I could do: I wrote about it in the form of a 20-line poem. It was only after my family and friends appreciated the poetry, however childlike it sounded, I realized that I loved writing it. So I set about composing more.
My attempts at poetry were most random: I wrote on anything and everything. My most ambitious attempt as a kid was when I sat about converting an old African fable of ‘Why do mosquitoes buzz in people’s ears’ into a nearly 50-line poem; rhyme èt al. I wrote a poem on one of the most famous queens of ancient Egypt ‘Nefertiti’ after having watched a documentary on the excavation of her mausoleum. I even wrote one on the road behind my house! The saga of writing continued throughout my graduation and post-graduation. In fact, throughout the 2 years at business school, I was onstage less for presentations and competitions and more so for reading out the poetry that I’d dished out for several occasions, including the Director’s birthday and Teachers’ Day!
I got inspired by anything and everything around me. My parents are travel freaks, and the same percolated down to me, which meant family holidays all over the country. Those places, including the rolling dunes of Rajasthan, the snow-capped mountains of Sikkim, the backwaters of Kerela, the beaches of Goa and the dry mountains of Manali and Ladakh are permanently engraved in my mind. Most of the poetry that I wrote was inspired by vivid images that would jump out at me either in photographs or from my living memory. It was bliss.
A particular poet whose poems have inspired me in a way I can’t explain is Robert Frost. It was love at first sight for me when I read ‘The Road Not Taken’ and ‘Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening’. The intense imagery created by both poems threw up such powerful and passionate feelings that reading them make me shudder pleasantly till date. As his quote above resonates, I feel the same way when I’ve written poems.
I’ve had the good fortune of landing up with the most amazing English and Communication professors throughout my school, graduation and post-graduation. Their sense of criticism, appreciation and a silent encouragement has been a constant reminder as to who I am and how good I have the potential to be.
The Road Ahead
I just quit a job I thought I loved, unless you count sitting at a desk daydreaming about writing as a job. A bad boss, coupled with the enthusiasm to write, backed by supportive family and friends encouraged me to quit my job, and ironically today I’m on my way to my first submission, penning down ‘My Writer Story’. Umpteen press releases, articles, literature paragraphs, letters, and an epiphany later, here I am; a fledgling writer, but enthusiastic nevertheless.
I’ve recently just set up my blog; something that I wanted to do years ago, but better late than never. I’m particularly proud of my tagline that currently reads ‘Aspiring writer. Defiant Professional.’ It gave my mother a jolt and my friends a good laugh. Someday, I’d like it to read ‘Author. Poet. Blogger’. My best friend said that he could already envision that; all I had to do is walk down the path. Amen to that.
Malavika Madgula is a freelance poet, blogger and writer living in Mumbai. A certified grammar nut, she is currently in the process of setting up her blog at http://malavika24.wordpress.com/. Connect with her on Twitter @mmalavika24.
Author: Shuchi Singh Kalra