It has been a while since I have blogged. I told myself that I am going to stay away from social media and any distractions of the online kind until I was done with my final draft. A year or so down the line, I have learnt that the final draft is never the final draft, especially when working on one’s first ‘proper’ novel. Suffice it to say tears of blood have been shed. I am now working on what I sincerely hope is the penultimate final draft. Laugh away you Gods of fate.
Staying away from social media has been the easy part. After the first few days of twitchy fingers, I have not once felt the need to get back on the social media bandwagon. That is until December 2019.
A sense of unease with the Indian government’s silence on many issues and the standard response of resorting to divisive religious talk had been building up over the years. The amendment to the CAA was the last straw for me. As an NRI, and one of the privileged folks, who is not impacted by the CAA, I move in circles that seemed disassociated with the harsh reality of life on the ground in India. I needed to talk to like-minded people, and for some reason unbeknownst to me, I chose Twitter – maybe because it is the one platform that I rarely used except for the direct upload of blog links from my WordPress account. I knew I did not want to be pulled back into posting on a regular basis, so Twitter seemed apt.
It has been a learning – I have had a speed course in brief on Indian history (of which I knew a bit more than what our schools teach us), Kashmiri history (of which I knew next to nothing), political and legal implications of many laws, and above all, it has been an introduction into the world of online activism – an impassioned world fraught with hope, sincerity, righteousness, anger, sarcasm and biting wit. I had no clue that there were so many committed, passionate, politically aware people in our country, especially among the millennials. I sound like, no scratch that, am such a neophyte in this regard. But it is true – the trolling and ugly aspect of Twitter aside, it is really a great place to get a toe-hold into understanding pretty much any topic.
Three months down the line, I have begun to read Indian history in greater detail (not just the easily available official line), have begun to read more about what is happening in Kashmiri from various sources, and am reading up about socialism. It is overwhelming. My head hurts with all the information. It has also meant that my writing has taken a back seat.
Now as I sit here in the safety of my middle-class life in the Middle East, my heart still broken about what happened in NE Delhi, I know that I cannot do much except contribute to some funds, tweet my anger, hurt and affront. But what I can do is what I genuinely believe is my only true skill – write.
As always, when I stumble at my writing, I turn to my blog. It is the place where I work my writing muscles and tease the knots that tie me up open. However, there are many thoughts that I need to pen down that are more political in nature. I hope that setting the words down will free my mind to get back to my business of working on my novel in a more focused manner.
So please bear with me if my blog posts end up being political in nature more often than not. Even my poems are angry. I have realised that I cannot turn my back on politics. I am a woman living in deeply trying times. Existence, I have come to realise, is political. There is no escaping it.
This is a longish post, especially given that I have posted zilch here in so long. Thank you for sticking around.