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The writer tells the story. But equally, the story makes the writer. An interesting story on what each does for the other.
One of the top 5 entries for June’s muse of the month writing cue, “There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.” (from Maya Angelou’s I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings).
With her eyes narrowed and fingers murdering the keyboard, Ashita was engrossed in writing the last chapter of her novel. Ravi, her husband of ten years, aware that she had switched on her writer-mode, closed the bedroom door to give her the ‘space’ she had demanded.
When she emerged three hours later, after a grueling writing session, she had a smile on her face. Her face was devoid of the earlier I-am-about-to- puke expression.
“So is it out? It is funny, how you go all potty-faced when you get the idea for a chapter,” said Ravi, biting his cheeks in an effort not to laugh.
“Yes…at last. ‘There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.’ You number crunchers would never understand that,” said Ashita, countering her husband’s cheeky remark with a quote from Maya Angelou.
Branding her son with an eagerly received hug and kiss, Ashita enquired what they wanted for dinner.
“Anything, as long as it is palatable.”
“What do you mean? I cook un-appetizing food?”
“Who said that? I just meant anything,” said Ravi, flashing his best smile to pacify his wife who might take on her war- goddess avatar if he crossed the ‘lines’.
Humming a tune, she headed to the kitchen to prepare dinner. Ashita had her life in place, at the pace and order that she wanted it. She was a successful author and lately financially independent owing to her best sellers.
Gone were those days, which were dark and brooding. Postpartum depression had sent her reeling with sadness, hopelessness, low self-esteem and guilt. She had feared that her lack of expertise in raising a child would irreparably harm her child. Being continents away from her family, with no one to help her cope up being a new mother, she was exhausted, scared and at the end of her wits. She had begged Ravi to save their child from her. Ravi had laughed it off saying all new mothers went through this phase and there was nothing to worry. Though he chipped in with housework and childcare responsibilities, it was never enough.
Hope had danced into her life in the form of Elizabeth, a benevolent social worker, who had found her at the clinic, after a failed suicide attempt. Elizabeth, with her kind words and her group of volunteers including Ravi, had instilled new courage and hope in her.
“Never bottle up your emotions, Ashita. They will eat into your very being. Pour them out as words. Write them down. Write about your fears and write about your hopes. Watch how words magically heal you.” Elizabeth had told her, handing her a notebook and pen.
The writer in her was born that day. The initial hiccups and fears had drowned in the support given by Ravi and the many volunteers who trickled into their one bedroom flat as baby- sitters, giving her the necessary space and time to heal. A house cleaner to help, was the next step.
The baby blues had vanished and she had transformed into a content mom. Her new friends nourished the writer, with appreciation for the few stories she had penned down during her darkest hours. A collection of short stories well received, led way to a full-length novel which went on to become a national best seller.
“I smell something, yummy,” cried her five-year-old Aryan.
The aroma of her cooking had lured her son into the kitchen, closely followed by Ravi.
“Mmmmm… Biriyani,” said Ravi, his eyes bright with excitement.
“Yes it is Biriyani. It is celebration time. The first draft is done,” said Ashita, picking up Aryan, allowing him to perch on her hips after she finished transferring the Biriyani into the plates.
“Bravo…That is great news,” said Ravi, hugging her.
The novel was her story, a gift for all those who might be out there dealing with the often undiagnosed and damaging condition of postpartum depression. The profits from the book would go to the support group she had formed together with Elizabeth, for helping new moms and single moms suffering postpartum depression.
As Maya Angelou said, she wanted to try to be a rainbow in someone’s cloud.
Pic credit: Erich Stussi (Used under a CC license)
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Chetan Bhagat had no business slut shaming Uorfi Javed or any other woman. If he wants to 'guide' young men in the 'right direction' then he should take accountability for his words.
Chetan Bhagat, one of India’s bestselling authors, thought it was an ingenious idea to slut-shame Uorfi Javed, an Indian actress and influencer, at the Sahitya Aaj Tak literature festival.
“Phone has been a great distraction for the youth, especially the boys, spending hours just watching Instagram Reels. Everyone knows who Uorfi Javed is. What will you do with her photos? Is it coming in your exams or you will go for a job interview and tell the interviewer that you know all her outfits? On one side, there is a youth who is protecting our nation at Kargil and on another side, we have another youth who is seeing Uorfi Javed’s photos hiding in their blankets.”
Uorfi Javed responded with a video on her Instagram stories calling out Bhagat’s bluff. She shared the screenshots of his previous chat conversations with Ira Trivedi, author and yoga instructor, which came to light during the #MeToo movement.
While boys are taught to naturally own the space they enter, girls are taught to give up, to accommodate, to adjust since "it is their primary responsibility to keep families and relations together."
Yesterday, I was watching these 4 young girls around 16 – 17 years old play badminton. They were having fun, goofing around with all 4 of them equally involved in the game.
In some time two of their male friends joined them, and as part of round robin, the 2 boys replaced two of the girls. All good.
As the play continued, I started noticing a change in the way the game was being played. The shuttle was played most of the times between the two boys and there was a sense of competition and aggression brought in. The other 2 girls playing soon starting losing interest in the game as they hardly got any game time. Even if the shuttle came towards them, the boy in their team would move and play that shot. They soon moved to the sidelines as the boys continued to play.
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