I am not the only one who is constantly asked this question (and it is pretty obvious that there shouldn’t be any misunderstanding that I am trying to justify something), be it writers or artists, we are constantly ‘bombarded’ with questions like this – why do you write? What do you gain from doing this? Are you earning enough from your work? What are you trying to achieve by doing this (and this question seems to be a favorite among people who love to be sarcastic or love to sneer at people of all levels)?
I am being honest here; I am inspired by all those artists who have amassed wealth to the extent that art has become their means of livelihood and they never returned or never attempted to do anything else other than improve their art over a period of time. I lived with that expectation for so long that I will achieve the same and would not have to worry about my depleting bank account every now and then.
However, if I go by my current reality, I am a salaried person working in a multi-national company. I have my monthly targets to achieve, reports to submit, and a lot of people looking at me and wanting answers to stuffs that can only be ‘unearthed’ if I login to my system… and not out of the blue. Anybody else in my shoes would have given up on their dream or worst, committed suicide (I don’t want to bring in statistics but not able to achieve your dream is definitely one of the reasons for suicide cases) but I have a weakness, and why do I call it a weakness is because it is one of the reasons why I always find myself stressed out – I don’t give up so easily.
I was given a responsibility at work to collect some important data. I did full justice to it and submitted it only to receive a call from an unknown person who was yelling at me to provide a missing data which I was not aware about or told about before. I was dumbfounded and called my boss regarding this, only to receive a cold response that it was required and so I should find a way. What am I? A crane operator to bring down a building and construct a new one in that place.
I was pissed off, I switched off my computer and went to the terrace to breath some fresh air (which is in plenty now for we are all in lockdown and pollution has reduced). It was a cold moonlit night as I found myself slowly calming down within minutes. I realized within that time that I was given a responsibility, I could have turned away from it before but if I was given that task then there is a reason for it. I know there are a few of you who might say that I have been made a scapegoat but… it is not about how your story starts; it is about how you end it. You have been made a scapegoat; time to prove to the world that you are the wolf.
I have been asked to do something, it is up to me to see the end of it. I went back and immediately called the people concerned to provide me the data that was asked. The unknown person who yelled at me a few minutes back wanted the data in 15 minutes. Sorry buddy, you want your data, you will get the data… but according to my time. Within 45 minutes, I received all the data and submitted it.
Why did I share this story of mine? In all sense, in all perception… it is the answer to the question, why do we write? Because, if not us, then somebody else will do it. Why wait for somebody to do it when you know you have the capability to show or tell the world what they need to see and listen.
Yes, I want all the writers out there to be famous, to be loved, to be recognized… and that is only possible when the story that you all started is finished not by anybody else… but YOU. Through my job, through those mundane tasks, through those everyday deadlines that I need to meet, did I find the reason to continue with my passion and not give up on my dreams. Late (better late than never) did I realize that if I am able to develop my passion, however, little time I am able to give for it, it is all because of my job. In today’s world, nothing is possible unless and until you have the required financial support backing you.
My job is the reason why I was able to get the support to finance my dream. Without it, there was no way I could have even published my first book (however bad it may have been). Again, I am not the only one. There are so many people out there who are doing the same. I guess my Mom is right, we all need to have a primary and a secondary job in our life. Over a period of time, you never know when your secondary job will become your primary but that can only happen if you invest the right amount of time on it.
There are writers who have earned name and fame from their first book and then there are those who have written so many (that they can have a library in their own name), it would have been their 10th, 50th, 100th book that gave them the recognition they deserved. It is the passion that the 2nd type of people has that must be inculcated among everyone, for I believe that if you feed your passion, in time your passion will feed you.
Here is another one that I wanted to share. I love playing video games. I do call myself a pro-gamer, not because, I am unbeatable (which I am not. Trust me, I am the worst gamer who holds the record of getting his ass kicked even before a deathmatch ‘officially’ begins) but because of the amount of experience I have earned in just playing so many games. There was a time when I used to play with my friends and use to marvel at how ‘PRO’ they were, and always wished to achieve that level. Somehow, it never happened.
While all of us have grown up with a few of them married and having kids, my passion for video games was still alive and intact. My prized possession (along with my standard configured laptop) is my Xbox One and while I keep playing those named and famed games with multiplayer feature, one thing I realized… I am still the same. I don’t have a headset and that makes all the more fun. I am sometimes the butt of joke among players who have fun making me a target and increasing their scores. When I get a kill (which no pro-gamer expected me to), I become the target again with people going after me and forgetting that there are other players in that match.
Self-realization sucks only when you look at the negative side of it but when you look at the positive side, that is when you begin to enjoy what life has got in store for you. I login everyday on my console to have fun while watching other players trying to prove that they are the best without an interest in having fun (‘having fun’ being the primary reason why the companies are investing millions of dollars on the PC and console configuration). Trust me, if you are the best in something, you don’t have to show it. You can market it if you want but that doesn’t mean you need to be a pushover.
So why do we write? Because apart from writing being a passion, it is also our way of having fun with words, with bringing our ideas to life in the form of stories, blogs, essays and articles. People out there need to be inspired, need to be motivated… they need to look up to a hero. There is an old saying that not all heroes wear capes. How true is that?
I look around, my home, my locality, my workplace, anywhere I go. My mother who loves to cook delicious items every now and then. Is she doing it for herself? No, she is doing it for me and the least that I can do is to motivate her to try something new every now and then. I see a work friend stressed out over something. The least I can do is to understand what is wrong along with letting him/her know that they can do it, there is nothing to be stressed out. A bit of teamwork and some dose of coffee, and voila, work done in a matter of minutes. We are all heroes and I mean it. If you think you do not have the six pack abs or the perfect figure that models have, it is time that you looked at your life through the eyes of all those who come to you for support.
Your parents who are proud to see you faring well in life while you cry out loud that your girlfriend/boyfriend ditched you… look at your life through your parent’s eyes and you will see a hero in you. Your friend has a hard time trying to run his/her computer, you see him/her freaking out. You walk up to see what is wrong and within minutes, do some ‘magic’ through which the computer starts working… you may not know what you have done but in the eyes of that person, you are a hero. You see a homeless person sitting on the streets hungry while all the others around that place is having their fill at the local stalls. You offer food to him and you see him smile. You think what you did is just simple service for humanity’s sake but to that man you are a hero bigger than superman.
That is why we write, my friends. The characters in our story are inspired from you, the people we constantly meet in life, the people who did something really great as mending the coffee machine or our mobile phones. Yes, we sometimes bring in a bit of exaggeration but behind that exaggeration is our complete gratitude for being a hero in our times of needs. As we are locked up in our homes due to coronavirus, look who the real heroes have turned up to be. The doctors, the nurses, the security personnel, police force, the armed forces, people from nook and cranny who are providing food and water to the people who need it the most during this global crisis.
Look at every story you may have read and you will understand that our stories have always revolved around these people. Stories, movies, serials… they have always exaggerated about them and many times we drew flak for it. However, it is during these moments that we all realize that none of it were an exaggeration. We meant what we wrote and as long as the pen exists, we will continue to write what really matters to our beloved readers.