When I was asked to write about my journey of ‘how I became a writer’, I fell into deep contemplation. What can I write that’d be different? I mean the journey of an Engineer/Management graduate, leaving a cushy job and turning out to be a writer isn’t something new anymore. As we move through the 21st century, more and more people are coming out and following their heart to be a writer.
Resources, technology & media have made the journey immensely easy. All the material you want to research is just a few key clicks away on the internet. We are fortunate to live in a time where chasing dreams isn’t considered whimsical anymore. The definitions of successful careers are breaking and mindsets are changing. Considering all this my journey should’ve been fairly simple, only it wasn’t.
Why? Because I was hiding behind layers of prejudices, expectations, and cowardice.
As long as I remember, I loved reading. So much so, that the mandatory shopping trip to buy the wedding trousseau, that pretty much every to-be married girl looks forward to, I spent with a book in my hand. My need to read was simple – to escape reality. I was an only child, socially awkward, and with every trait of being a wallflower. Doesn’t translate to a very interesting conversation or company. Sometimes in my teens, when reading was not enough to escape the confusion of being an adolescent, I took to writing. Pouring my heart out to my helpless diary seemed a good way to sort out my problems – then I came to a point of creating an alternate reality. Playing out the things that could’ve been different, scenarios where I would have not chickened out but fought for the truth valiantly, began taking shape in the diaries. Throughout my troubled teens, writing gave me solace and helped me power on.
The beauty of writing was I never stopped for a minute to think I might not be good at that, that there were many writers, or that I don’t have a genre.Tweet
A part of me had always thought that once I grew up, life would sort itself out. Adulthood, for me, was always a montage of picture-perfect moments. In all of them, I could be seen as being wise and knowledgeable. But as I stepped into the precipice of adulthood, I realised how nothing I had expected was true, that there was no magic wand that I could wave on life for it to sort itself out. For a while, I toed the line, tried to be the ideal adult that I thought I should be, followed the plan of graduation, post-graduation, well-paid job in a MNC. The only thing I did differently was finding my life partner, and getting my love marriage arranged. There was an underlying feeling of discontent like I did not belong here, I carefully brushed it under the proverbial carpet. But, life, had other plans, it poked giant holes in the gossamer of happiness that I’d wrapped myself into.
The funny thing was, it was not the circumstances that let me down or the hundred things that could go wrong that went wrong. It was my own body that refused to heed my direction. After trying to grow our family for a couple of years we were told that we suffered from unexplained infertility. Ever since I remember, I’d always wanted to be a mother of two! The five years that we struggled with a battery of tests, invasive procedures, treatments, etc. I realised how less I am in control of life and how in one single moment things could change. I quit my job to focus on one ambition I had, to be a mum. Thankfully we were successful in our third attempt and our son was born. One would think having a child after two miscarriages would mean the world to me, that it’d be the happiest moment of our lives. Only I couldn’t connect to the child I moved heaven and earth to have. At first, I put it down to sleeplessness or the fact that since he was a pre-term, he needed extra care. But slowly, steadily, I began to realise that whatever I did the feeling never went away. I’d look at my child and instead of getting overwhelmed with maternal love, I’d be distraught, I’d feel angry and upset with everything. As things worsened, there came a time when the first thought to hit me as soon I woke up was, wouldn’t it be amazing if I were to die today?
I then realised that it was time to seek some help and that’s when I was diagnosed with postpartum depression. Then began a search for an antidote to magically take away this feeling. I did all the exercises assigned, took a long and hard look at my life choices, my relationships, and decided to weed out anything that was holding me back. Through all of this the question that kept coming up, ‘what is it that I wanted to do?’
Every time this was thrown at me, I would go in a loop and confuse myself. Till one day in one of the sessions, our therapist very innocuously asked,
What makes you happy the most?
And I blurted writing! I had the antidote of life’s troubles already with me, and best of all, I had already used it and sorted my life out once! So, clearly in my case, my wisdom decreased with age! Without thinking about it further, I took the pen to paper or in my case fingers to my keyboard and that’s where the premise of ‘Unloved in Love’ was born. I wanted to write about choices and how life could change direction without any notice. Once I started, I just didn’t stop! To aid my writing I joined a Novel Writing course at the London School of Journalism and the result of all the hard work through two years, is this published book.
The beauty of writing was I never stopped for a minute to think I might not be good at that, that there were many writers, or that I don’t have a genre. Don’t get me wrong, I, in no way, believe I am a good writer, but I know I am learning, I know I can do better and I am doing everything I can to improve.
For me, writing is ‘expression’, writing is ’emotion’. And when I get it right, for me, writing is redemption.
About Rituparna Ghosh
Rituparna Ghosh has a diploma in Novel Writing from London School of Journalism. A proud infertility survivor, she currently stays in Reading, UK, with her husband, son, and her cat. She works as a Transformational Life Coach. Unloved in Love her debut novel.
Images courtesy Rituparna Ghosh on Facebook. Any Reproduction or Reuse is prohibited.