I ended up looking at this entry I had written a few years ago, which was a ramble about career choices. I think I was always under the impression that a perfect career choice would mean a perfect life. Little did I know that life is in constant oscillation and change is the only constant. Of course, writing has been a forte, but there are bigger things :)
So I have got back to writing for the fun of it! A certain James Bennet inspired me, should I mention he’s the animator for ‘Avatar’, ‘Iron Man’, ‘Godzilla, and a bunch of other famous action and fantasy movies out there? Well yes, I met him today and had a little chat. This was what he said — “What’s the point of writing only if you get paid for it? You should be writing a variety of things! The only limit to your writing is how passionate you are about it.”
I think that really got me thinking. It took some time for me to mull over what I wanted to write about. Then I went through the whole deal of “hmmm…should I start right now, like immediately?”. But I am the proactive kind, so here I am, back on Medium, writing — expressing my thoughts and penning down topics I am passionate about. Boy does it already feel good!
I’ve been writing content for children for a while now, and honestly writing about something entirely different today and for an entirely different target is so liberating! I would love to share my thoughts with the world and hopefully, it’ll make someone smile or inspire somebody to do the same. It’s quite cool, the kind of impact you can make through your words.
So today, I’m going to talk about my journey as a writer. I started writing in the second grade. My class has a pet teddy bear. The teddy ( I’m not sure about his name, so let’s stick to Ted for now), was to be given to each student in the class to take home. Each student would spend a week with him. Along with Ted, a diary was given. We were to write down how we spent our time with Ted during the week. The diary and Ted would then be passed on to the next child, the next week. This was an exercise given to us to encourage writing more and in turn getting better at English, grammar, and also instilling the idea of maintaining a diary.
When Ted and the diary came to me, I skimmed through it to see some really spectacular entries. Kids had taken Ted on a picnic, they had taken him to the zoo, they played with Ted at the park, they even had him at the breakfast and dinner table! Ted had done some pretty incredible stuff with these kids and there were even pictures in the diary to prove it! I spent my week with Ted and added my own entry to the diary (I don’t quite remember what it was, although I wish I did, hmmm I think it’s time to give my second-grade teacher a call, maybe?).
Well, that was my first stint at writing something personal. I did get inspired a bit by this and also by a lot of ‘Babysitters Club’ books, to start a personal diary after that. My diary was pretty much filled with school gossip-who was dating whom and random crushes I had. It was this kid named Fabien who used to run around the playground imitating characters from Star Wars. He was smart ad cute! This probably came from the fact that his Mom was French and his Dad was Indian. Killer combination! So, I would just stare at him when he was making shooting noises and running around the swings, for some reason, and I used to ask myself — why is he making weird-ass shooting noises and running around looking like a total idiot?! But, I still liked him.
So coming back to writing! Yes, my diary was pretty popular. I know what you’re thinking — Diaries are private and you don’t show them to anyone! Well, I did. I remember showing it to a good friend of mine and she called a bunch of other girls to read my entries during lunchtime. I knew the attraction was mainly because of the gossip content, but hey you have to give me the credit because it was well written gossip, otherwise why would these girls have been so entertained reading it?! These entries went on for a while and then eventually stopped.
I have not met anyone who has managed to maintain consistency when it comes to diary entries. You’re initially enthusiastic and then as time goes by you miss a a few days and then you miss many more ‘few days’, and by the end of it, your diary is lying all dusty in the corner of a cupboard and you barely open it. But let me tell you one thing - a good thing about diary entries is the fact that you can express and vent feelings of course, but it's also a way of making each day count. You become more aware of the fact that you’ve lived a little, you know? And you realize even the most mundane days have emotion in them — all you have to do is churn it out in the form of words, and you’ll realize a lot actually happened during the day, and you had a lot of thoughts and opinions about what happened too! It also makes you a little more proactive (well this could also be a little pressurizing at first). What I mean by that is, that you wake up each morning knowing you have to write about how the day went on by night time, so you’ll invariably end up doing things during the day that are worth writing about. Maybe intentionally at the beginning, but later, definitely subconsciously.
My next stint at writing was for competitions at School. I still have those entries with me. Some were published in the School magazines. I also started exploring poetry and sent a few to the magazine team that ended up being published too. I didn’t want to stop at just that. I thought it would be great to publish a few in the paper. There was a column in the paper that encouraged new writers and creative stories. I sent a few stories to them and all of them were published, one after the other. It’s only when I’m writing this that I realize I should have given myself more credit for all of this. I mean, my work got published in the School magazine and in the paper by the time I was in 12th grade. Huh. I should have thought about all this when it came to deciding my career! I think a sense of expression came naturally to me and when something comes naturally to you, you don’t feel any effort doing it, which is why you (by you I mean morons like me) never make a career out of it, because in India, a career has to be all about making money with a pain-in-the-ass job like IT which challenges the crap out of you — and you will never understand. But those days of confusion are long gone and I’ve got back to writing. I’m on track when it comes to my career and what I want to do in life.
My next stint at writing came when I was in college. I had a huge diary, spiral-bound I remember. I was dating one of my friends from School then so most of my entries were all lovey-lovey and quite romantic (although I must say the guy wasn’t romantic AT ALL). I was the romantic and dreamy one. But anyhow, the funny story about this was that I left this diary at home once. And…well long story short, my Mom found it and READ it (I’m not sure why she did that). And well, you can anticipate how busted I got, considering I am Indian and not allowed to have a boyfriend. But more about that later. I will write a separate Medium entry talking about my dating life.
After college, I joined a wonderful company called Storytrails. This company was a tourism company that would take people around important places in Chennai, India and tell them stories about it. Now these stories were all scripted out beforehand and would have to be delivered to the customers after we memorized them. Storytrails also had a ‘Kids’ section where they had customized trails for children— either educational ones where they would be taken on a field trip and we provide them information about the place in an entertaining way or fun birthday parties themed around what interested the kid — we had a ‘fireman trail’ once where we actually hired a real fire truck for the kids to check out! Cool right?!
Well, these stories we told kids were also scripted out beforehand and delivered very theatrically.
After a few months at Storytrails, my life went through a whole lot of bullshit.
I was called by an IT company, a job which I took for the money. After about a year and a half I wasn’t happy there and then decided to switch careers to… wait for it…Art and Design. I have no idea why the idea of getting back to writing never struck me as a career option. I really don’t know why I didn’t see it — maybe it was too static for me to see myself writing for hours on a screen and it would end up being just like any other desk job. I definitely had more energy than that! I think that was it, I wanted to work in a creative field which would spark my mind a bit more and maybe go exploring a bit more, broaden my perspectives. So I chose Art and Design, not out of a whim, but because I was actually artistically inclined and it soothed me.
The funny thing is before I went to study Art and Design, I joined Storytrails again for a while to pass three the last months before I went to study abroad. The realization didn’t strike me then either. So I did my Masters which was a not so fabulous experience. I came back to India to teach at a Design College and then at Schools. It was not the best of experiences. THEN…Byjus happened. And then a lot of things changed. The motivation I didn’t give myself as a writer came in through my managers and writers I collaborated with — a big one being the writer of The Magic School Bus, George Bloom himself. I think that did it. It made me realize that I was actually good at this shit! And trying something else or quitting because of fatigue would be the dumbest thing in the world! So I guess all I needed was someone critically acclaimed, also whom I was a big fan of, to let me know that my writing was good. Well from then on I thought ‘Ok, this is it!’ Writing it is! Let me grow here and let me share my ideas with others so they can grow too! And now my life is great, but because of the sedentary job, I’m going to get fat and die young.