When I was a little girl my grandfather played a game with my brothers and me. He would ask us to tell him an original story and would keep throwing random words/ themes/situations at us as we spoke. The challenge was to switch to the new theme of the story without missing a single beat.  The prize to the winner was so alluring that it had me spinning yarns in my mind all through the day – in preparation for the storytelling time. I started noticing little things around me, trying to find a story in it, because you never know the next word grandpa threw in could be ‘sabji wale ki cycle’ or ‘when Nani tripped’ or even the ‘crack in the bathroom wall’! Yes, he did it! So, I spent hours creating stories about any and everything and then some more. Those were heady, intoxicating days spinning away on the wheels of imagination!

While my brothers drifted away after a few summer holidays to do things that boys were ‘supposed’ to do (their logic not mine), I stuck to the game. And when Grandpa no longer wanted to play, all the stories in my head started spinning around, desperate to find a way out, choking me till I could bear it no more and picked up a pen. Out they came gushing, page after page. Filling notebooks, paper napkins, on the back of the envelopes, the margins of the newspapers, anything I could find! I loved to see my thoughts take shape in black and blue and thus began a lifelong affair with words!

And when Grandpa no longer wanted to play, all the stories in my head started spinning around, desperate to find a way out, choking me till I could bear it no more and picked up a pen.

I wrote and I write because I know no better. My stories need to come out of my system. My thoughts, imaginations, desires (both achieved and unattainable), my demons, my gods, my hopes and despairs have to be expressed. And what better friend than words, to help me do that. And so, I write.

It started with fan writing Enid Blyton and many notebooks were filled with stories about imaginary schools and adventures where I was the protagonist always to the rescue and always right! The confidence of the character that was me often spilled over to my real life and was responsible for my many milestones. I graduated to the classics, and Victorian romances became the central plot of my next lot of stories. The more I read, the more my imagination sprouted wings and notebooks meant for schoolwork were dedicated to the ilks of Mr Darcy, Scarlett O’Hara, the Joad family, Howard Roark, Atticus Finch, Heathcliff…the list goes on! And then, just like that, one day I was writing about things I wanted to write about. My characters were no longer based on what I had read, my stories were now my own interpretations of life.

The more I read, the more my imagination sprouted wings and notebooks meant for schoolwork were dedicated to the ilks of Mr Darcy, Scarlett O’Hara, the Joad family, Howard Roark, Atticus Finch, Heathcliff…the list goes on!

My words are now my very dear personal friends. My writings helped me create the world I desired at every point in my life.  I don’t necessarily want to share them with the rest of the world. I don’t want them to be judged by others’ standards and visions. I write because I have an intimate relationship with my imagination and words. And the three of us have woven a beautiful space for ourselves…we are complete in ourselves. We don’t have the need to be read, judged or praised, because we – imagination, words and me – are comfortable in our skins, whatever the hue!

My writings helped me create the world I desired at every point in my life.

And yet, when Write & Beyond knocked on this world of mine, held my hand and led me to a room full of writers, I was hooked! The journey of sharing your work, of taking advice, of afternoons dedicated to work spiralling into evenings of wine and laughter with people you understood, was heady and immensely satisfying! I was back to the summer holidays with Grandpa! I was sharing stories, ideas, thinking about topics and events discussed, wondering and weaving them into words!

The journey of sharing your work, of taking advice, of afternoons dedicated to work spiralling into evenings of wine and laughter with people you understood, was heady and immensely satisfying! I was back to the summer holidays with Grandpa!

So while we – imagination, words and me – still have our personal cosy space, very often we happily step out and explore uncharted directions…with our new-found freedom…towards Escape Velocity.

Ruby Kapoor a PR person by profession and theatre enthusiast by passion, gave up her 29-year-old career to pursue theatre full time and co-founded – Urban Suburban Productions. When she’s not writing scripts or producing plays, she writes short stories & poetry and cooks and travel. The views expressed are the author’s own.

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