Exactly seven months ago to this day, on a dull uneventful afternoon at work, I opened a word doc and started writing about an incident that had happened the previous night. I wanted to vent. And clarify certain things.
And that led to “The Essential Mallu food-guide for non-Mallus”.
When I had finished typing out the post, I mailed it to Arun. He read it and said “It’s great!”. And I remember asking “What? You liked it? I thought you wouldn’t like it!” because he’s not the kind who’ll say “It’s great” to everything. And he replied “Arre! How can you decide what I like??” I said that I didn’t feel it was a great piece of writing. Then he made a few suggestions, I made some changes here and there, and finally published it. I also published it as a note on FB.
What followed next left me completely overwhelmed and at a loss for words.
Over the next few days, the note got shared on FB multiple times. I had only learnt the theory of nuclear fission. I saw how it could be applied in real life with this note. My friends shared it, their friends shared it, friends of their friends shared it. Juniors, seniors, classmates, acquaintances, strangers- everyone shared it, and actually made the effort to drop me a message on FB to let me know that it was a kickass piece of writing and that they were looking forward to reading more from me. And like a broken record, I replied “Thank you! :)” to everyone. I didn’t know what else to say! It was just too overwhelming. I was getting friendship requests from all over the place, simply because they loved my writing. That day, I realized that it’s not just the hot girls with model-type profile pics who get fraandship requests from strangers. :p I even came across a family friend who I had heard a lot about but never met! Suddenly, I was that girl who everybody wanted to know and call their friend. It got me believing in the power of the internet.
And then someone asked me whether I have a blog link for the note to share, since not everyone was able to share it on FB because of privacy settings. And so I gave the link to that guy.
My number of followers went up from 11 to 39. In one day. And it kept increasing. Each time I opened blogger, I was thrilled to find that I had got two more followers. And more comments too. I was living in a completely different world. I could not believe that little old me was actually this blogger who everybody liked to read. Ya, it was not like winning the Booker Prize or something, but for me, it was a HUGE deal. Till then, I didn't even know that I could be 'funny', that being funny and sarcastic was my thing.
After that, every post I wrote, I was aware that I had a certain standard to meet. A standard that was set by me. And I had to meet the expectations of all those kind folks who had faith in the writer in me. It was hard. After the initial excitement wore off, I started getting worried. What if I’m not able to write something equally interesting? What if I’m just a one-post wonder? What if they lose interest and don’t read my posts anymore? Will I be able to handle criticism after all the adulation? But I continued writing, because it was the only thing I knew to do. I continued writing, promising myself that I will try to meet not just my readers’, but my own expectations as well. The number of followers increased, I made a conscious effort to write regularly. I formed a circle of friends who I now call ‘My bloggers’ (Yes, mine. I’m a bit selfish that way). And even though no other post of mine has come even close to the popularity level of that post, I know what I’m capable of. I may not be on FB any longer, but some of my posts still get shared there.
As I was sitting in office today, wondering what is wrong with me, why I’m not able to write, why I’m not able to come up with anything worth reading, why the block refuses to go away, where my muse has taken off to, I opened the very same post to read. And saw the date. And it was exactly seven months ago that I had written that.
Reading that again, it restored my faith. That I will be able to write again. That even though there is a lull now, I will eventually get back to my old self. That the person who wrote the ‘Essential Mallu Food guide for non-mallus’ has not gone anywhere. She’s still alive, maybe not kicking because of various factors, but alive nonetheless.
Yup, I’ll be back. Meanwhile, please don’t write me off.