I’ve been asked this question many times, even by my own self, probably because I am a software professional by qualification and experience. I started writing the moment I learnt to write. There were diaries, I remember, in my childhood where I poured all of my little heart. There were questions. There were wonderings. There were a thousand ways of trying to make sense of the world I had landed into. The pourings gradually turned into poetry. Poetry, only meant for myself, for only my eyes, as those words contained intimate chunks of my soul, riddles even to myself. Why do I write? I write because writing is as natural to me as breathing. I know, quite cliched, but true. I write when I am sad. I write when I am happy. I write when I am confused. I write when I think I have put together a piece of the puzzle that life is. It’s like when I put the pen to the paper, something rapturous happens…something therapeutic…something mystical.

I have a love affair with words. Languages, even. I love words dancing around me, enticing me, teasing me to put the right ones together. I know life is too expansive and intricate to be held captive in the web of measly words invented by an over-enthusiastic species. Yet, every little patch of it, or even the shadow of that patch woven into just the right words makes me ecstatic, whether those words are mine or someone else’s. Reading has always been a big high too. That little heart had always wanted to suck up so much of the universe in its tiny nooks. Reading is like a free visa to all the places on earth and even beyond. I think reading is the staircase one has to take to reach the inner sanctum of writing.

Reading is like a free visa to all the places on earth and even beyond. I think reading is the staircase one has to take to reach the inner sanctum of writing.

I was reading a book the other day that had a question – what would you do if you were the last person on earth. That is, if there is no one around to see and appreciate your work – it’s just you and your work. Even better question someone had asked me a while ago was – what would you do even if you are penalized for it. The answer was simple. On the tip of my tongue. I would write, of course. I would play, jump, whoop it up without a care too if I am the only person on earth but I would write. I won’t care who reads it or not.

But since we are writing in a world still inhabited by no less than eight billion people, and I am not exactly innately unbridled about sharing my writing, writing feels like baring my soul… like standing naked… for others to look at, like it or not like it, formulate opinions and comment. So the day I decided to be a full-time writer, I made a contract with myself that though I will share my writing with the world freely, it will still be written for myself, world’s commentary notwithstanding, still a flow of emotions and experiences to the paper, through my eyes, through my heart.

So the day I decided to be a full-time writer, I made a contract with myself that though I will share my writing with the world freely, it will still be written for myself.

I believe writing is anyway between the writer and the universe, though others read and sometimes enjoy it. Writing is a grace. We don’t write, words find a conduit in us. They are always flowing in the universe, ready to be inked or digitally solidified. Like combinations of colours find a conduit in a painter or a melody in a musician. The creation captivates me with its profusion and urgency. I seldom have any say in the choice of language out of the four I know either. I have woken up in the middle of the night to write down a Punjabi poem that for some reason chose that hour to descend. I would be going about daily life and a thought flashes and I find myself writing a ghazal or nazm in Urdu. I would be talking to someone and a situation will start moulding itself into an English story. I would read a newspaper and the characters start appearing out of it forming a story in Hindi.

I write because I love to write. I am chosen to write. Any form of creative expression is a blessing.

Dinakshi Arora writes prose and poetry in four languages – English, Urdu, Punjabi and Hindi. Like any Indian worth their salt, she’s done her time in the IT industry as a programmer. Dinakshi Arora, wrote The Thirst for Write & Beyond in the anthology Escape Velocity. The views expressed are the author’s own.

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