rough beginnings — why I write now [I’ve always painted!]
I was born in the capital city of the largest democracy on the planet (in case you’re wondering, that’s New Delhi, India) with two irrefutable signs of greatness:
untameable hair and a permanent frown.
Right from the beginning, my brother tortured me…and I learned how to fight back.
but soap boxes and stages were a whole different matter…
But most of all..
Get a load of my honking, ginormous glasses. That’s what comes of reading with a flashlight under a blanket, or more often than not…forgetting the flashlight altogether. How do you explain needing that many batteries to the parents? I read Enid Blyton and Georgette Heyer in the bathroom, Victoria Holt and Barbara Cartland under the bedcovers, Charles Dickens, Tagore, and Shakespeare in the living room, Rosemary Sutcliff and JRR Tolkien under the lid of my desk at school, Tintin and Amar Chitra Katha between the pages of my textbook while “doing homework…”
I read for inspiration. I read to escape my way too boring life. I read when I needed help making sense of the world. I read because there was nothing more exciting than to travel to a different country/planet/time and be someone else–to fight dragons and win, solve crimes, have adventures, fall in love, fly.
I did not write when I was a child. I was too intimidated by the creative people around me. My father was the consummate storyteller and had a passion for Urdu poetry. My mother was a linguist, musician, and poet, with a penchant for Puritanical perfection.
My brother grabbed all the looks and smarts the family genes had on offer. He came first, he called dibbs.
I ended up with the short end of the stick, only it was fat and frumpy too, and came gift-wrapped in honking, ginormous glasses.
You’ll forget you’re having a fat, frumpy day.
Yes, I was a typical teenager addled by angst.
Are you feeling sorry for me yet?
Don’t! I wouldn’t be a writer, if I hadn’t been a reader first.