Finding myself at the crossroads of transition not just in a personal space but also in the social space, the writer in me paused for a moment and reckoned with the question of my new identity.
Even though I published my first book in 2012, when I attended certain gatherings in various colleges, the audiences still addressed me as a blogger, a moniker that irritated me at the time. Being a young and upcoming author, it was certainly a matter of great pride to be addressed as an author on public occasions. This, however, did not change the fact that I enjoyed blogging since the day I started my blog, The Indian Commentator.
The part I enjoyed the most about blogging was the reception of comments from readers and also the goodies I received as part of campaigns such as book review programmes. Being a reader of books my whole life, this was the most enticing element that hooked me to blogging and kept me at it for a long time.
I started The Indian Commentator in 2008. As the first decade of the twenty-first century slowly walked out of the purview, I started getting intuitions regarding the manner of the communication that I had kept going with my readers. It was time to make a drastic shift, I felt, as I had seen Youtube emerging as a major platform for vlogging and it becoming a certain financial success.
One statement from my favourite Brazilian author Paulo Coelho is relevant here, as I commence the unveiling of my experience with a transition that never actually took place. “The fear of suffering is worse than suffering itself.” The original textual locale of this statement evades my memory. However, the implication of this statement is readily connected to the experience I mentioned. I was afraid to fail in my vlogging efforts since it raised concerns in my mind about how I looked, how I talked, how I scripted my content, etc. not to mention a plethora of other concerns related to the editing of the videos.
Each time, whenever I contemplated vlogging, these fears have held me, prisoner. In the indictment of my own flaws, I, therefore, succumb to the need to confess for these silly-yet-poignant concerns. The years following my first book have been witness to the publication of my new books, more than one book a year, often. The year 2020, which is trotting to its finale of hope, made me take a bird’s eye view of the literary works I endeavoured in the year.
The year 2020 started with the excitement of the publication of Life After the Floods, which was published in November 2019 by Kalamos Literary Services, New Delhi. The relevance of the book could not be missed as 2020 slowly evolved into a year of emergencies. The two other ebooks that were published this year brought substantial confidence as an author. Both these books, Save the Teacher and Save the Girl, were fantasies, set in a medieval India where spiritual and material forces collide for reasons we could locate in our immediate surroundings. As a writer, from the nonfiction work of Life After the Floods, a move to the fictional world in these two episodes of short ebooks was gratifying, especially so because these two books are part of a larger series called The Southern Chronicles. The new episodes of Southern Chronicles shall be released, hopefully, in the new year.
The next book that I published was the much celebrated and discussed, The Notions of Healing. With a Foreword written by one of India’s foremost academics, Dr Arunlal Mokeri, this anthology gave me the opportunity to explore the many phases of the lockdown period following the COVID-19 pandemic. I had the good fortune to associate not just with Dr Arunlal Mokeri but also sixteen writers from across India. Distributed from Kerala to Kashmir, these writers represent the soul of Indian literary legacy in one book. I am sure, this book shall shine in its relevance in the coming year also, especially when pandemic literature becomes a documented and studied discipline once the gravity of the onslaught of the pandemic wanes away.
This act of looking into the past has filled me with great expectations about my blogging endeavours as well. Now I can see clearly that my first book was a side effect of my blogging attempts. Being at the crossroads of an identity crisis no longer seems to matter. One identity complements the other and therefore not to be shunned entirely, I realize.
The crisis doesn’t exist any longer.
What you have to do when you face similar challenges in life is to look back and try to connect the dots. When you connect the various dots in the past, your present will take a graceful new shape that will fill you with confidence and gratitude.
I am thankful for my blogging platform and my readers here, who have kept their presence all these years. There are new readers as well, most of whom are from the newer generation. With a sense of gratitude, I shower you with my words and my books.
Please feel free to write to me using the comments section, and please do subscribe to this blog. I am off to writing my next book. See you all soon with another blog post.
Merry Christmas and Happy new year.