Yes, we have a winner to the giveaway that I had announced a few days ago. It was the first time I had ever planned a giveaway. There were so many people who had entered the giveaway and I was curious to know who the winner would be. So I eagerly clicked on the ‘choose random winner’ and ta da…the winner is “Meera Raghu”!
Ever since I was a kid, my mom has been telling me to be patient. I don’t know how many times she has said, “Nothing happens before it is meant to be.” And so when Dad asked me why I took so long in getting my poems published, I said the same to him.
But it made me wonder. I have been writing like forever. I can’t remember a time I never wrote. I started collecting my poems and other writings in a note book when I was around 13. Yes, I did send a few poems to magazines and post them on Facebook, but why did it take me so long to actually put them out there in a book for the whole world to read? And why now? What had changed?
I realised I had. While I was definitely no longer the child who had started out writing poems, I had also evolved as a woman. As I went through life, living, loving, hurting, learning, forgiving both myself and others, teaching, reading, building new relationships, losing some, I changed.
I grew into myself. The self I wanted to be. Confident, compassionate, not afraid to love, not afraid to share myself.
My years as a trainer in a direct marketing organisation where the majority of sales people were women, made me realise that there are so many untold stories behind every face, so many hopes, so many dreams. It didn’t matter what walk of life you came from, some things are universally the same.
As I shared my poems with friends, I heard things like, “Oh my gosh! How did you know what I was feeling?” or “I can relate to this absolutely”. Some even cried as they read certain poems. And that is when I knew, I had to share this with others. With other women who felt the same, but maybe could not find the words to express it. I had to be their voice, not in a strident, revolutionary way, but in a compassionate, loving way.
And so though a few of the poems in my book, “Who shall I be today?” took a lot of guts to share, I just knew I had to. The time has come. It is meant to be.
P.S. I am giving away a free copy of my book. the offer is open for the next three days. So if you live in India, and would like to win a copy of “Who Shall I Be Today?”, just follow the instructions below.
“Why did you decide to publish a book of your poems? Why not go in for a novel? Do people really read poetry?” These have been some of the questions I have been asked ever since I have been talking about getting my book of poems, “Who shall I be today?” published.
The reason I decided to publish a book of poems instead of writing a novel is simple. I love poetry. I started writing poetry much before I started writing stories. And in fact, the first thing I remember being read out to me were poems. There is something so magical about poetry. It captures thought, images, and stories in a minimum of words; creates scenes of love, of war, of nature, of magic with just a few strokes of the pencil or today with just a few clicks of the keys.
And yes, people read poetry and they write poetry. There is a whole world out there of poets and lovers of poetry, who keep the craft alive. Poetry is making a comeback like never before! Poets old and young touch our hearts and thrill us. Whether you are reading Maya Angelou or listening to Sarah and Phil Kaye as they perform, you are transported to a different world.
And this is not just in the west. Closer home, we have poetry clubs and poetry meetings happening almost every week. You just need to search Google or Facebook for poetry groups and you’re overwhelmed with the number.
Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! All of you! I am so overwhelmed by the response to my last blog post ‘When’ Dreams Come True’ that I am still a little teary eyed. So many of you responded on Facebook itself, where I had shared the post, and so many more sent me personal messages and even called me up to congratulate me and ask me for signed copies of my book. And my book isn’t even out yet!
This outpouring of love and genuine happiness on the part of all of you my friends actually had the effect of making me cry. I sat down and wept. I wept out of gratitude. I wept because I felt so humble, that so many people loved me enough to feel happy for my success; to take the trouble to tell me so! I wept because I felt so blessed! So blessed!
And in that moment when I was crying my heart out, I realised that it doesn’t matter if my book does well or not (Of course I know it will :P), but at that moment the fact that so many people were cheering my achievement of a goal, was the greatest OMG moment since the birth of my daughters!
It’s like reaching the finishing line and realising that the crowd is cheering for me. For ‘ME’! And as I look at the crowd, I see lines of my poems in the faces of the people there. And I realise every one of my friends and family has been part of this journey of mine helping me become who I am today, helping me know myself better, helping me write better, grow into myself, till I had the courage to put together these poems to show the world.
When I read my poem ‘Painting over memories’ I see my house in Vashi, with its walls covered in childish scribbles and the friends who shared my life then as a young mother, many of them young mothers themselves.
‘My first day in school’ brings to mind my students and all the teachers I worked with, so many of them who are still in touch with me and from whom I learnt so much.
My family, both the one I was born in and the one I married into is part of almost every poem; supporting me, wiping my tears, helping me get up again, celebrating life with me.
And I realise that this book, ‘Who Shall I Be Today?’ is not mine. It can never be mine. It belongs to everybody who has been part of my life. Everybody has in some way been woven into the poems, bits of my heart and soul.