I have always had a knack for writing.
My tryst with writing started when I began reading children’s classics at the age of eight. I wanted to come up with stories – write better stories than the ones I read. At the age of 13, I read Anne Frank’s diary, which inspired me to keep my own diary. For years to follow – till my college days – I kept writing in my journals.
In my journals, I could express my opinions – beyond the scrutiny of others. It was my safe space to talk about my body, my understanding and confusion regarding the concept of sexuality, review books and films, express my opinions on matters which I dared not express in my class or before my friends and talk about daily affairs which mattered little to everybody except me. This was a space I claimed as my own.
Many years later, I started a blog. Writing in diaries had become quite old-fashioned by then and blogs and vlogs were the new ways. Writing on the blog again created that safe space for me – as I was careful never to share my blog with people who might judge me. But writing in the safe space also meant that I could afford to be irresponsible with my words. I could choose to write whatever came to my mind without ever really thinking that my words might be careless or irresponsible.
Then I began writing on social platforms like YKA. It was when I began writing on such social platforms that I consciously weighed my words carefully. I couldn’t make an unjustified accusation or claim. I needed to make my argument coherent. Instead of radical views, I tempered my views according to what I came to believe as rational. I replaced the value-laden words which had previously peppered my writings. I tried not to be judgmental and came to the understanding that my rash words might hurt someone’s sentiments. I learnt to be careful in what I wrote. I also learnt to be reasonable.
My writings were now out in the open. They could no longer hide in the safe space of a dairy or a blog with minimal traffic away from others’ scrutiny and judgement. Yes, I still write about my experiences coming from my multiple identities – as a woman, as a daughter, as a student, moreover, as a human being traversing life, facing discrimination, struggling every day, having opinions on things that matter to me. But I try to do all that in a responsible manner.
My words don’t aim to just vent and express dissatisfaction; my words are also meant to be constructive and not just talk about me but also about how my experiences are relevant to all my readers. This transition from the personal space to the social space made me the responsible writer that I am today.