I have been passionate about reading and writing since my childhood. I wanted to write profusely and read extensively. I wanted them to accept that I have a statement to make and that I have the skill to tell my story. But I could not manage to fulfil it. I was preoccupied with my chores and profession.. My reading remained restricted to material related to class teaching. I felt myself to be like the priest whose knowledge does not surpass beyond what is related to Puja.. My conscience was bitten by a sense of guilt and futility.
At the time of my superannuation I was already free from my family obligations and responsibilities.. Now my passion has emerged as my priority and relevance. I had plenty of leisure time to pursue my passion.. I focussed on writing. I had already sent my stories to several magazines for publication , but had not received ready acceptance. I was dismayed to find that my handwriting was getting progressively illegible. I was getting frustrated.
Around this time we had to move to Patna for six months. In hindsight, it appears that this event triggered a series of developments that defined me.
Our daughter worked with a computer there. She drew my attention to the relevance of computers for me. Though I had seen a computer at our Chandigarh too, I was not drawn to it. I thought that I cannot have access to the benefits of modern technology at this age. My daughter told me that I can write, and save documents on it. She demonstrated documents can be written in Hindi as well.She assured me that there is little danger of the machine getting damaged by unskilled users. At that time unicode was not available for Hindi. Several softwares were available and ... each of them needed independent methods.
She introduced me to mailing too. I was enthused and inspired. I found a key to pursue my passion;
We returned to Chandigarh after a six months stay in Patna. I received a book of poems by Joy Goswami from our younger son,Apu with a request to translate the Bangla poems to Hindi. I was not conservant with the poems of this poet. So I requested our neighbour Dr Sushmita Chakravarty to tell me about the poet. One day she came with a gentleman. Dr Harjinder Singh, a professor of Chemistry in Panjab University. He was Laltu, a reputed poet and writer in Hindi, Punjabi and Bangla. I happened to establish an abiding friendship with Laltu. He introduced me to his colleague Dr Vijay Kumar Singh of the Department of Tibetan and Buddhist Studies. Dr VK Singh was requested to give a CD of iLeap software. VK Singh was very enthusiastic and friendly. An abiding warm relationship developed between us. He proved to be a very knowledgeable person in the realm of computer writing and the internet. We met regularly at his residence in the campus and his department. I became comfortable with the alphabet and working of computers and the internet,together with mailing and other related matters. I Had plenty of leisure time. My residence in PGI Campus was adjacent to Panjab University campus. So I could be in frequent and regular contact with Vijay Babu. My passion provided me with motivation and energy.
Around this time I happened to visit my parental place, Deoghar. I happened to meet Bachchu (Dr. Shankernath Jha) there. Dr Jha is a reputed pediatrician and a prolific writer. We had a hearty conversation and nostalgic foray into the past history of our community . He shared his idea of writing a book on the community and made a request to me to be a partner in the project. I liked the idea and found it to be near my heart. Bachchu also told me about his independent writings, novels and poems. I proposed to type his writings in Hindi. He agreed to my proposal. Thus began our grand partnership.I was able to prepare the manuscripts of his several books. In the process I attained fluency and gained confidence in preparing documents and soft copies. A notable achievement of the partnership was the publication of a book BHAJO KA KUNABA. THis book came out to be regarded as a monumental document of our community. For me this book is important as it incorporates some of my articles.Bhajo ka Kunaba has earned unexpected acclaim.
Together with typing Bachchu’s manuscript I kept on writing independently. In the beginning, unicode was not available for writing in Hindi. So I experimented with writing in several softwares that were available at that time. It was a sort of experimentation too. With the availability of unicode in Hindi, I preferred and opted inscript over transcription and phonetic options.. I typed the manuscripts of Bachchu’s (dr Shankernath Jha) several books which were published subsequently. Simultaneously I translated widely from Hindi to English and from Bangla to Hindi. . I wrote in Bangla and English as well.
In due course availability of the internet also eased with the spread of wifi services.
I was excited to use e mail service. It opened access to known and unknown persons. Came to know about digital publications from these mails. I sent my articles for publication to a few of them.More than one editor showed interest. The articles began to be accepted and published and read..My writings earned appreciation from known and unknown quarters. I wrote extensively covering a wide range of subjects. I wrote about my own travails. I kept on receiving positive feedback. Was this not what I had wanted? I had wanted acceptance of my believe that I have the skill to tell my story and that I have a statement to make.
Simultaneously I got opportunities to read books on diverse fields such as science, fiction, poetry and spirituality. My children are good readers. So I had a supply-chain of books. Besides them Dr Purabi Mandal,and Raj Shekhar among others stimulated my reading and writing. Superannuation from service and fulfilment of parental responsibility had created a void. I was friendless too, struggling to find an identity for myself. The role of the opportunity provided by these activities cannot be minimised. I am filled with gratitude to the glorious uncertainties of life. I am grateful to my passion. It has added meaning to the evening of my life.
Paulo Coelho’s famous observation provides the music. To realise one’s destiny is a person’s only obligation. All things are one. When you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it.