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From her first poem as a class 3 student, Paromita Bardoloi has come a long way. A Featured Author at Women’s Web for April 2017, she shares more about herself here.
With over 1500 women (and men) sharing candid stories, views and experiences here, our editors are picking some of the best contributors each month, as Featured Author of the month. Paromita Bardoloi is one of our three featured authors for April 2017. She interviews interesting women at work, writes about the women in her life and a whole lot more – find her work here.
More about Paromita Bardoloi in her own words!
Authors are often asked this question, but everyone has their own reasons, very personal to them. So, why do you write?
I over think. I am over sensitive. I feel too much. Everything that I see, hear or touch stays with me. That is my bane and boon. Writing is my antidote to madness. If I didn’t put it out on paper, I think I would have gone insane. It is my meditation. My constant conversation with God. My prayer for survival.
I write because the world becomes too much for me. I write to express that ‘too-much-ness’. The thing is, if you meet me, you will have no idea what is going on. So, I take solace in words. Words don’t judge me. They just flow. Like a river. Like a lover.
I feel everything way too intensely. Writing is my way to untie my own knots that too much sensitivity brings. It is my way to self-care. And God has been kind that it became my profession and things worked out for me.
When and how did you first begin writing?
I wrote my first poem when I was in the 3rd standard and the next in 6th standard when I was travelling with my family to Guwahati. It was a twelve hour long bus journey. I was sitting near the window seat. I saw paddy fields, dimly lit houses and the never ending roads around. I wrote a poem in my mind, that night. I think I entered the world of words, that night in a moving bus, next to a stranger.
Assam is very beautiful. The creak of the dawn or the fall of the dusk would move me. I would cry at its beauty. But I realized it very early that children of my age did not feel that. So to fit in, I slipped into two worlds. In one world, I was this funny outspoken girl. I could just strike a conversation with anyone. And in the other world, I was intense, vulnerable, shy and way too sensitive. My little diary helped me move in and out of two worlds.
I remember a few Diwalis at home, where for the first one hour I would burn all crackers and be this happy girl. And post that I would go into my room and write an intense poem. I also lost my father very early. I loved him the most. I was a child then. As a child, my father was my hero, my magician, my Alchemist. The world was perfect. But after his death, I felt all perfection melt away. I missed the sanity my father brought. The world of writing and imagination took me back to it. May be this escapism is my way of coping. But writing took me there – I was the happy child there and it makes me feel terribly safe. Just to sit and write is my gateway to paradise.
Do you have a muse?
Life is my muse. It fascinates, seduces, terrifies and makes me fall in love. I have never had one muse. Life brought me too many experiences, which stood as a muse. I have this incurable lust for life. I lust to know it. Even when I am terribly hurt, I can’t disown or hate life. I hold on to hope. And then life magically becomes a muse. I am grateful; life gave me a change to live it. That itself is an honour.
Where do you get your ideas from?
For me, mostly it comes from conversations. I can talk to anyone. Also, I surround myself with some very intelligent men and women. I can talk about anything and listen. And if you let people feel safe, they tell you their story. Each one has a story, which is his/her truth. From there the ideas come. I write everything as a personal story. People forget facts, but not a story. A story is a form of protest that will outlive death. Stories are the frontiers that death can’t take away. It stays in our conversations and in our thoughts. And nothing can kill that.
If you ever want to protest, write personal stories; it will bring the frontiers down. I have no bane in life. You can be God or a murderer; I will still listen to your story with equal grace. And no matter which story I have picked to write, I never let go of the human dignity that even a dark character deserves. I hope that I never write anything that takes always someone’s dignity. That is the only bane I know.
When it comes to writing on/for/about women, what questions and issues drive you the most?
I think there is lot of talk that goes on around women empowerment or the so called ‘Women Issues’. We are all trying to solve it on the macro level. At the policy level. But a human being is conditioned at the personal level. It cannot be an equal world unless we change the personal dynamics. No matter how much of waiver in taxes the Govt. gives for women entrepreneurs, unless we raise girls with a vision, we won’t be able to balance the dynamics.
We tell young girls to laugh softly or not talk loudly. We tell them to follow and not to lead. We kill dreams so young, that it almost becomes an impossibility to merge the gender gap later. We don’t even teach girls to treat themselves as equals. They are always on the second rung. And finally their salaries also become add ons and not the main income of a family. Even when it comes to organ donations, compared to men, very few women get it done for them. We are fed into the concept that a male’s life is more valuable than a female’s. It is so over fed that so many times we don’t even realize it.
So, I like writing on that personal level. On simple things that create the fabric of inequality at the end of the day. It is like a cobweb. It begins with the simple thread. Unless we recognize that one thread, the whole exercise becomes futile. So, I write on very simple issues, which create our story of being the ‘Other Halves’. We are not halves – we are already complete as human beings. We still need to recognize that one fact that we are complete human beings and not halves to someone. And I write on this!
Anything you’d like to tell others who would want to write?
If you are a writer, please take care of yourself. Don’t burn out. I did that for two years and I felt I would exhaust myself. You know from within how much you can take. Writing is a very lonely profession. And it demands all your attention. Personally I give it all. It takes a slice of my soul. And I over did it. That was a very emotionally taxing thing. Learning to say NO, was a blessing, finally.
Take your work seriously. Do what you can do. But don’t take yourself seriously. Laugh a lot. You will find too many people, who will have too many opinions about you. Just do what feels right. Stay a child. Otherwise you won’t sustain long. No matter what, have a great support system that has nothing to do with writing. Have friends to go out with, to talk nonsense with and laugh with. Don’t take yourself seriously. You are more important that anything.
Keep yourself healthy. Sleep and eat well. Nothing is worth losing good health and your mind over. I learnt that lesson the hard way.
Never forget to put yourself first. You will thrive. That I know for sure.
And one more thing, it’s great to hear good things about oneself. Appreciation is a great feel-good feeling. But don’t let it go into your head. I see many people taking it too seriously. They start behaving differently. It feels weird. And that’s when the going downhill begins. You stop having a touch with reality. No matter who reads you or who doesn’t, laugh at yourself. Like everyone else, you will die too. And go back to this earth. So laugh. Laugh a lot. It is the best thing in this world. To laugh at oneself. It brings the pauper and the prince to the same box!
Have fun while you are at it. Nothing is worth without the art of having fun with it!
Trust me when I tell you that!