4 years and counting…

“In Other Words”…

Hello, my readers,
I was reading ‘In other words’ by Jhumpa Lahiri, one of my favorite writers. I wish I could read it in Italian but I read the English translation, and the feeling was indescribable! At many places, it felt as if I was reading my own diary! There is no question of comparison as she is a great writer and I am not even a published writer; the amount and the scale of work are worlds apart. What I want to convey is ‘Antar-yatra,’ the inner Journey of a writer. I try to write in English, and I am not even a native speaker! And Hindi is the language with which I grew up because of my mom, who not only introduced me to many great writers in the language but also encouraged me to explore more and more. She had a great collection of Hindi literature, and she even subscribed to a famous magazine (Dharm Yug)at that time for us. Finally Gujarati, my mother tongue, which I read solely during my school days. Most of my early poems(published and unpublished on this blog) are written in Gujarati.
At the time when I started writing this blog, due to my profession I was continuously conversing in all three languages simultaneously and inside I was feeling insecure of losing my voice, my own language. When I had just started, I couldn’t write even a single sentence in one pure language, struggling for the appropriate words, perfect words. More often than not, I left many poems or stories half written or avoided writing. I thought I would never be able to create with the fluency I had acquired in Gujarati language, earlier. Though Jhumpa Lahiri started writing consciously and courageously in the Italian language, for me, it was a struggle to find which language to call mine.
So, not clear about the choice of language; I continued to publish my work and share others’ creations in whichever language my thoughts would form up then. Maybe if I could have stuck to only one style, I would have made some progress, measurable by many publications or being known as a writer of that particular language, I don’t know for sure!
Do I regret now? No. It has been a great journey, and still, it is. What I discovered along the way is a layered personality or maybe three or more personalities that I am. Thinking and expressing in different languages differently, even when I translate my own work I cannot use the literal meaning words, I go by my instinct, and the words grow within me, they evolve and come out in a language they have chosen to be born.
One more realization I had during these years; it is not essential to be sensational, dramatic, spectacular or shocking in presenting your literary work. What touches your heart, penetrates you genuinely is more subtle, day to day simple revelations that life has to make, your daily triumphs and heartbreaks, moments of solitude and loneliness, a sudden flow of joy or maybe a sense of failure. What we live, breath, eat, sleep, cry, laugh becomes excellent poetry.

Thanks for being there on my journey,…keep flying with me.
Nehal.

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