“Can I have a look at your work?”
For a long time now, I have dreaded that question. For me, my writing is private. It is not meant for those who do not know the context and so I choose very carefully who sees my words. And yet, if you know me well, you would know that I have tried in the past to overcome this dread, that this page that you see today is not my first blog. I have, in the past, started and abandoned three of them. Each of these blogs has a story of its own and each has quite an independent share of my writings on it. I will not migrate my work from there, though. They belong there, crystallised in the amber of time. But I will tell their stories here.
The first public appearance of my works was in the avatar of “A Mango Man’s Blog” on Blogspot. I was only a beginner then in the craft of writing, and I had been very recently introduced to the unending, enchanted pool of blogging. From where I stood, I could see the surface glistening with possibility, and every second, thousands of people jumping into it. Some of them were really enjoying the swim, trying out different strokes and slowly finding a place for themselves in some niche of the rocky waters. But most of them, I noticed, were scrambling back out of it. I put out a finger, dipping it into the water, only to find that it was too cold for me to jump in yet.
I tested the waters again in the immediate aftermath of reading Ayn Rand, and predictably, the new avatar was called “I,” on WordPress. This was a time I was trying to assert myself as a writer in front of the few people who knew me at my college. I wanted to be rebellious, imagining myself diving into the pool naked, as Howard Roark had, and laugh out in pride when I surfaced in the wake of the enormous splash of my diving. But, as soon as I started peeling off bits of my clothing, trying to expose my body of work to the world at large, I felt the winds of winter pinch me hard, forcing me to hold on to the linen. It was still too cold for me.
Two years later, when I had written sufficiently more, I decided to take a bucket of that water and pour it on myself. As I took up this rather metaphorical version of the Ice Bucket Challenge (which, by the way, was still a year away), the water numbed my mind as it flowed over my head, allowing me to tap into a Stream of Consciousness on Quora, where I could let my poetry flow down the throat of any casual browser, who chose to wait near the fountainhead. In that moment, I knew that I would no longer dam the flood, that I would keep posting my writings here. But the water numbed my apprehensions for only so long. Once it dripped down my clothes and those whistling wintry winds slapped me out of that benevolent numbness, the stream of my consciousness dried up again.
After almost a year and a half since then, I am taking the plunge today. After a long battle with myself, I have finally chosen to let go of the safety of the suit that has kept me warm till now. The winds and the waters are still cold, the question is still dreaded, but if you ask it of me today, I will simply raise a glass to you and say, “Here, drink.”