Why do you write?

You too have come across that, haven’t you? Perhaps, many times. And it is true for all of us who write.

Well, I’d have been less surprised if I wasn’t asked this. But ever since I started to write, this has been a point of conversation among few I know. Now here, I mean, those who do not write themselves; except for signing off bills or writing down bank cheques.

Just imagine, you meet someone down the aisle while shopping groceries. It is someone you must have met a decade ago. You don’t remember them that well, but are surprised nonetheless that they follow your blog and actually take the pains to read what you write. So you feel honored, you even start to fly with those invisible wings. But that is only so long and then they mention,

Never thought you’d end up writing. I always thought you were better off with your job in chemicals. Do you even get paid ?”

You had bloated up with pride, and it was as though someone had sucked the air right out of you.  Your face: a mixture of apprehension and anger. And as if that wasn’t enough,

“And quite honestly, who in the right mind would like to write? One can paint, dance, and sing. But writing? Isn’t it boring?

And then there are few who make it sound like some shit of a business. It does annoy me when there are traces of contempt dripping from their curious stinging words when they make it sound like – Why do you write? Rather than – ‘Why do you write?’

It’s instances like these when I feel like hurling something at them right at that moment. You know right away that they are pretending smart. They point fingers at you for something that you can do and they can’t. So they enjoy the moment when you stand fumbling, trying to explain your point even though you know that they are only going to laugh it out as a reward for your attempt. Worse even when some go as far as commenting sinfully, “…and there goes the writer”.

I wonder if that happens to you often. But ever since, I have started to blog, I have noticed people seemingly surprised at my interest in writing. They wonder why on earth someone would start to write. And had it been for just their expressions, I’d have thought I was mistaken, but to have their words fall on my ears, I can barely pretend that. I begin to think if something’s wrong with me or is the world in total turning mental.

I mean, okay, I might paint, I might not.
I might dance, I might not.
I might do anything else or I might not.
But the fact that I am doing none of those means I am NOT doing any of those.
Isn’t the world better off without my interests and habits to worry about?
And that’s not even the point.
Why should any job, any interest, any hobby or passion, be regarded degrading?
Why that scornful touch while talk? And why should it bother anyone why do I write?

Often, when I sit with my writing pad, my mother dearest, gets into one of her anti-writing moods. She’ll always have bizarre suggestions to make. Either I should learn to knit or maybe try some new recipe for dinner. After all, food and clothing count important; they also form the basic necessities of life. Since when did writing become any important? I wonder if I should even attempt to explain. So I just wriggle my way out somehow.

So, now-a-days, when someone asks me, “Why do you write?” I am tempted to argue. Tell them, I write because I know there is something I am bit well at. I am not the best. Not even close. But at least I am trying. I write because I know nothing else could have kept my scattered self collected, like those little bits of clay put together. The very many thoughts that jam my brain couldn’t have a home if not for writing.

Some prefer music, some pick oils. I chose words.
Maybe because I knew they could understand the complicated me better than anyone else.
It was my way of expressing me.
Reasoning with myself.
Discovering the paths not traced by anyone.
Contemplating the world, its people.
And do you always do whatever you do for money?
Writing might not pay me.
But who cares about money when it gives me immense satisfaction and peace, in ways more than I can ever count!

But I don’t. I choose silence. I prefer leaving them with themselves.
I love to see the confused demanding looks on their faces.

-Asha Seth