Life on Cloud 8

Great moments happen in the bathroom. We have seen this throughout history, be it ancient or contemporary. Archimedes had his moment in the bathtub. Had it not been for Jack Canfield’s eureka moment in the shower, we wouldn’t have the tasted the chicken soup he made for our souls. So it was only befitting when such a moment struck me in my moments of privacy.

People need something to remember me by. When I get all rich and famous, I won’t have time to answer to every gossip starved reporter’s questions. Then it struck me. Why not write an autobiography? I ruminated while I showered. If the adventures of my life are ever chronicled, I would like them to be recorded in my own words, not those of some senseless biographer’s.

My book would be called Life on Cloud 8. I have even thought of how certain pages of my autobiography would read. It would probably be something that went like this:

“I was born and brought up with books. Ever since I was a toddler, I was taught to preserve and value books. My father would bind them nice and tight, never letting a loose page go astray. From the great works of Osho to the spirited talks of Dale Carnegie, he had it all. Book after book was piled until it formed a great mountain, climbing higher and higher until it threatened to vanish beneath those laden clouds of his shirts and pants.

My grandmother possessed the art of storytelling. Her beautiful poetry wove magic as she recited verse after verse in her enchanting voice. I didn’t realize it back then; I was merely three. All I knew was that my grandma was someone special. And as I look back over the years, I realize that it was this gift of hers that I have inherited.

I laid my hands on the first book at the age of eight. Mind you, I had read books before, but all of them had to do with the solar system and the geography of the earth. But this one was different. It spoke of a court jester called Tenali Raman and his witty tales. I felt so good after reading it! It wasn’t like the comic books I had read. It had no cartoons and no illustrations. Reading it made me feel less childlike, more mature.

Then began the era of Harry Potter: the boy, who lived. And indeed he did live, right from my childhood through my adolescent years. “Promise me you will send me to Hogwarts once I turn eleven!” I would say, tugging at my father’s sleeve. I was in love and no amount of logic could coax me out of my magical fantasies. I wanted my own broomstick and my own Sorting hat. And my little brother was more than happy to encourage my desires as he stood brandishing his pen wand shouting spells at me.

Till then I had only been a silent reader, merely enjoying and reading the tales others had to tell. It wasn’t until the fifth grade that I discovered my passion for writing. I had written a short story titled Spooky Night for an essay assignment in school. I was nervously fiddling with my paper as I waited for the teacher to call out my name. “I like it, it’s funny,” said my partner. An appreciative nod from her was all it took for me to delve into the world of words. I went home and I wrote and wrote and wrote, about issues ranging from saving the environment to terrorism. My parents smiled appreciatively and encouraged me to read each poem that I had written.

Pottermania continued into my teens: the age of hormones and impulsiveness. I was suffering from heartbreak. Lonely and morose, I took solace in the world of words. They befriended me easily and comforted me in times of need. What I didn’t know was that while I was building a new world of my own, I was also building walls. Walls that fenced me from mental and emotional intimacy. Walls that kept me safe. I was so desperate for an escape that I didn’t realize when one by one, the words slipped away. I was in a blank space, stoic and emotionless with only the walls to keep me company.

And then I didn’t write for a year.

But something slowly began to dawn on me — I still loved what I did.  I had been rejected, but I was still in love. And so I decided to start over.

-Steve Jobs

It was during one of my little detours to the bookstore that I stumbled upon R. K. Narayan and his Malgudi days. In the dusty winding streets of Malgudi I found my innocence, my former childlike self. It was ironic that the same books that helped me grow up were the ones that wheedled me into childhood. I was in love once again. I marveled at the woody scent of the freshly printed pages and the way the words danced before my eyes, inviting me into a realm so unearthly that it seemed almost divine. I cherished it dearly, rejoicing in those moments of stillness and those moments of skin prickling illusion of proximity with the characters.

My readings helped me see things clearly now, with a fresh new perspective. So it wasn’t a surprise when one night I sat in front of the keyboard and pressed the ‘Publish’ button. It was my first piece of writing in nearly two years.

I had recommenced my journey into the world of words. It was my personal space, my safe haven. I came across many people on this blogging journey, young and old who shared and refuted my ideas. While some relished the art of baking, others cherished capturing moments in a frame. Each had contributed a part of themselves, however small, in their own special way to the world. I made friends, exchanged pleasantries and came across some really astounding people. They were all beautiful, lovely and generous. They all had something to say, something to give. It was this small commune of writers, of artists that ushered me into a realm of awe and gratitude. I enjoyed these interactions as much as, if not more than the act of writing itself.

Sometimes there would be instances when I would find all that I been looking for in a fellow blogger’s words…in his pictures, rekindling a long lost part of me. It was this mirroring…this connection… that made the world’s random turn of events less random.”

18 thoughts on “Life on Cloud 8

  1. RIA, THIS IS FABULOUS. You are, most assuredly, amongst the “really astounding people” I’ve come across. The Steve Jobs quote in the centre of this piece is perfect. I’d love for you to be able to make a print-out of this post small enough that it could be placed in a gold locket to be worn at your neck for the rest of your days. Keep writing, keep writing! Keep observing. Keep loving. And be proud and delighted that you are you 🙂 x

    • If I were to name a few astounding people, you would be at the top of my list 😀 I love the idea of wearing this in a locket. I’d never thought of something like that before!
      Thank you for being a regular visitor. Your encouragement is what keeps me going. It’s what motivates me to write more and do more 🙂

  2. I loved this one…..way to go girl!!
    I’m sure writing your heart out….would make the world’s haphazard turn of events less random 😉

  3. Phenomenal !!!

    I totally equate with such an inspiration to writing, though mine did not involve Harry Potter after the Goblet of Fire. I moved on to Forsyth, Ayn Rand, Adiga and others for the same that you sought through HP.

    Wonderful read.

  4. The idea of writing an autobiography is an interesting one indeed! And given your love for the potter series and passion for writing, it’s only fair that you started with writing about those things. By the by, if you do write an autobiography someday, will I get a signed copy please?

    • Yeah I know. This interesting idea is a by product of more bathroom time 😛 Like I said, I had planned on writing about a lot of stuff apart from that, but somewhere down the line, I forgot 😛
      And yes indeed, you will get a signed copy! 😀

  5. My best thoughts, the best of my personal writing, often comes to me when I am in the shower. It’s quiet standing in the water and I guess I can turn off life with the kids and work and just think what I want or need to think about. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve gotten out of the shower and immediately started writing a poem or post for my blog site down onto paper before it disappears from my mind, dripping water all over the paper. Sometimes just a simple idea comes to me or a sentence for the book I am working on. But it always seems to happen when I’m in the shower.

    • I cannot tell you how very similar I am to you in this aspect. There is something so inspirational about the bathroom time that gets our creative juices flowing. I am so pleased to know about these eureka moments of yours 😀 Thank you for stopping by! 😀

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