Looking at my long fingers my mother had once said, “You are going to be an artist, one day.” And a little girl suffering from cerebral palsy heard this statement as a joke. However, not very long ago, I wrote my first poem on my mobile phone. I couldn’t believe that technology could give me a gift so precious. Poems flowed out of my mind onto the screen of my mobile in no time which is something I could have never imagined. I have cerebral palsy which means I have limited control over my body movements.
Nobody thought that I could type on my mobile phone, phone keypads have smaller keys than an average keyboard. But, like a miracle, I continued writing stories and poetry on my phone. Writing opened new doors for me. Each door had a new way of looking at life. I always thought that when a writer’s mind works, they run towards paper and pen but in my case, I ran towards my mobile phone.
In 2009, I was still in school, and getting over various health issues, which made me take long medical leaves. Until that point, nobody knew that I had discovered a talent in myself, something that would change my life.
Holding a pen was always a difficult task for me. The pen never fits in my hand, it always slips down my fingers. If a pen can’t fit in the hand, how is a person expected to write with it? My parents understood this fact very clearly. So while I was always encouraged to write with the pen, I wasn’t forced to do so.
I had a sense that my disability and ability are not connected.
As a child, I was really observant. I used to make stories in my head relating to the things that happening or have already happened in my life. There were a lot of thoughts that flowed through my head, a lot of whys, ifs and buts. You can say that I was a curious child. Whenever all these thoughts and ideas formed a web in my mind, I would spill a poem onto my phone. These poems were a part of me like art is a part of the artist. Art can be in the form of writing, dance or music. Everybody has an art of their own and when someone finds their own way of expressing it, then it is a moment of true victory.
I really felt this victory when I realised that my art was my love for poetry. When I wrote poems using my keyboard, I felt magic happening within my fingers. I could feel the words lingering on my fingertips. I was really happy to experience the power of words in my life.
I registered for a lot of online poetry competitions and sent my collections to a lot of these forums. I thought that these online forums would able to enhance my poetry skills more efficiently. But now, I realise I was wrong. These forums always asked for money and never appreciated actual talent.
Because I wrote my works on my phone, it was easier for me to submit my poems to good online poetry competitions. I didn’t like many of these contests because the unpaid ones weren’t valued much. While I didn’t learn a lot in terms of craft from these poetry competitions I did gain some experience. They gave me what I really needed, exposure and confidence. A confidence to showcase my art to others. I really loved that feeling when people felt encouragement after reading my poetry and articles.
Since then, my art and technology became inseparable. Even if I was travelling to places, like in the mountains, I would always scribble down the little details of the journey on my phone. So that when we come back, I could write stories related to the journey.
This line, ‘I can’t write, but I can type’ has become a way of life for me. I sincerely believe that this one line says everything that I wish for my future. This quote is a reflection of my life and everything that I am — a writer.