The older we become, having a sense of accomplishment seems like a distant dream. Perhaps, tiny things that enliven a child cease mattering to adults. Colouring within the lines is not a great deal to us anymore. Indeed!
But, I often question myself:
Have I stopped basking in small, yet beautiful things that restore faith in life? Like writing a note to a special friend. Walking the dogs when the dawn breaks. Fixing a healthy breakfast. Reading at a favourite cafe. A visit from a friend. Solving crossword puzzles…
…and the list is surprisingly long. For a scatterbrained person like me, following a routine appears daunting. Adding insult to injury, I don’t remind myself often that life’s essence lies in those small moments, and I can be more content if choose to borrow a horse’s blinkers. 🙂 While I am thankful for having become a bit self-aware, I miss all the nice moments that I failed to recognise. But… even in those not-so-great times – when I was perennially sulky – two things revived my outlook on life.
A) A sultry afternoon in January 2014. Boo – my foster puppy – was sleeping like a baby in her crate. Curious adults and noisy children were excited to see other puppies in the adoption camp, but not Boo. Unlike other canines, she was dull and diffident. And, she was a mongrel that had a chronic skin condition. Understandably, nobody wanted to adopt her.
I refilled her water bowl, and sat beside her. I felt a lump forming in my throat. I realised that there was only one option. I held my husband’s hand, and led him to a corner. Clearing my throat, and wiping the tears that rolled down my cheeks, I told my husband, “I know I am being unfair. We already have a 10-year-old dog, and our house is small. But, I think we should adopt…” Even before I could finish, my husband said, “I always knew Boo belongs to us…”
The mere thought that I managed to rescue, foster, and adopt a dog, fills my heart with inexplicable happiness. The times were testing. It was stressful to make two dogs, as different as chalk and cheese, get along. However, when I see Boo’s sunny face and incredible energy now, the memories of those difficult days escape my memory. This thing called contentment feels beautiful.
B) Writing was not an all-consuming passion until 2010. Only after social media conquered my life, I started writing more, but with all my heart. A favourite cousin inspired me. His short stories were impressive, and I naively presumed I could write such striking stories too. I wrote word after word after word, and paved my way to a newspaper.
Reporting was not like what I dreamed of. Not a whisker. I struggled to keep my head above water.
A tough battle began. And, I walked out for the fear of allowing it to hurt me more. I don’t know if it was a fair fight. But, for some reason, I am glad I fought.
I don’t write for a publication anymore. In many ways, it makes me immensely sad. I am not a writer anymore. Like not an official writer. All practice is done here, in these blogs. A kind friend once told me, “Even if you are not actively writing, you are still a writer.” A profound opinion. And, I am trying hard to buy it. Maybe, even after several years, a small regret might be hiding in my memories, for quitting what I started. But, it won’t continue to haunt me forever. Because my nephew shares my love for words. He is addicted to the pleasure of writing, as though I paid it forward.
After he moved to the USA, we have been writing to each other regularly. The 9-year-old boy writes about everything that fascinates him. He once wrote a postcard fiction. About a boy, who rode a horse, went on a roller-coaster, jumped into a pool, and lost his life accidentally. My nephew had narrated it in first person. I still don’t know why he chose a sad ending. But, it was memorable. I read it over and over again. Words were misspelt. Grammar was haywire. It was a story all the same. My little boy could imagine and write a story!
Once, it was a maddening day at work, and when I was chasing an elusive celebrity for an interview, my sister sent me a picture of my nephew’s activity book. She had highlighted my nephew’s answer for a general question. I read it, and delighted in the understanding that what seemed futile to me had a point after all.
Question in his activity book: Who inspires you?
My nephew had written: My thichi (aunt). Because she writes for a newspaper.
There aren’t many such satisfying things like inspiring a child.
I haven’t broken the news to him that I don’t write for a newspaper anymore. Even if I did, he wouldn’t judge me. So long as we exchange notes, I will be his favourite aunt. An aunt who can write and who would be kicked about discussing Greek mythology and Harry Potter with him.
My dream of being a full-time writer might have gone with wind. But, as it went astray, it seems to have dropped a seed in my nephew’s heart, and I hope it would be deep-rooted, and that he would realise it. It wouldn’t matter even if he doesn’t. I am a part of his happy, warm childhood memory. After he grows up, he can re-read our letters, his stories, and feel good about life. And, that very hope heals my deepest regret.
My sister just informed that he will attend a creative writing workshop called Enhancing the Writer within this summer. I am happy for him. To boundless level. And, I am also jealous. Very! 😀