It is not easy to be a writer in this day and age. Though the written word holds considerable value, people find it difficult to express themselves with ease and put pen to paper. People fear being criticised, analysed and judged for what they may have tried to convey through their words, ideas, actions, and emotions.
In this uncertain environment, the budding writer is unable to flourish and give wings to his imagination. This writer exists in each one of us. He lives on leading a moribund life, traveling in rickety buses, working to make ends meet. He could be the neighbourhood chaiwala, or your friendly darzi who works day and night tirelessly, and does his work with absolute efficiency. He could also be “you” who is reading this article right now.
You could be a storyteller, a writer or a lyricist, who creates his own ‘republic of imagination’ in his spare time. You could be shy, and may not have the courage to share your true self with the world.
But, does this mean you will not deliberate and give expression to your innermost ideas and create magic with the shaheen qalam (majestic pen), and become the writer that you want to be?
These are pertinent questions that one must ask today. In this time and age, when means of communication are many, ironically, real communication between people is becoming a thing of the past. I remember fondly hearing about the suhana daur(golden period) when writing letters was the norm, and people took to writing like a fish takes to water.
The letter was akin to emotion, or what I would call colloquially, jazbaat and the khat conveyed what we couldn’t overtly convey. The letter was, therefore, a metaphor that became an object of desire as shayars made it their muse. Ghalib famously said, “saw kos sebezabaan-e-qalam baatein kiya karo, jaise hijr mein visaal ke maze liyakaro” (from hundreds of miles, talk with the tongue of the pen, and enjoy the joy of meeting even when you are separated). The qalam is, therefore, the catalyst that forces us to conjure a riot of emotions in our mind, as we think and express our thoughts on the fine piece of paper, which no longer remains an inanimate object once we start communicating with it.
But this form of deep and direct communication is becoming a rarity these days, and you and I are becoming creative craftsmen who can mask their emotions. The iPad and the iPhone are replacing qurbat (nature) that the heart felt, because the qalam is becoming a thing of the past. Are you ready to live a life bereft of love and compassion, and be the same panchi (bird) who is qaid (jailed) in his own pinjra (cage)? We all have the answer to this oft-repeated question. The problem relates to implementing the solutions by defeating the fears that live on in our hearts. Forget about the world and get hold of a pen and a piece of paper lying next to you, and write anything and everything that comes to your mind, and feel liberated! This is your lamha (moment).