India Diaries – embarking on a journey inward

A very belated ‘Happy New Year’! May 2018 be the year of self-discovery for you, and may you embark on journeys both outward and inward to help you find fulfillment. I am writing after a long hiatus, and I apologize to anyone who has checked back on this site and found nothing new to read. I plan to write more consistently in 2018, and I promise it’s not just a fake New Year’s resolution 🙂 I have travelled to and around India for a month now, and returned with renewed zest to write and share my travel stories.

Last year, when I started this blog, I thought about what I wanted to write. Writing about travel came easily to me, so I thought I would start there. I put a lot of effort into details, links and stories, and enjoyed telling the stories. And yet, it felt as if my writing was falling a bit flat.

It was like a straight, two-dimensional square drawn on a piece of paper in pencil, as opposed to a three-dimensional box with curves and torn edges, still standing tall by itself, because it was real and strikingly beautiful. I felt something was missing, and yet couldn’t quite understand or pin-point what it was and how to improve it. It was as if I needed to turn my writing and this blog into a “Jumanji”! Make it come alive.

When I visited India a few weeks ago, I met with a friend over coffee to catch up. It was a beautiful backyard converted into a coffee shop, and the house had been converted to a boutique. My friend arrived a bit late, and I arrived a bit early, so I had a chance to take some photos of that charming little nook:

My friend and I talked a bit about our lives – his family, work, wife & kids. I had hoped to get his take on my blog and what he thought of it. He’s not a writer but I love the way he writes, and I have encouraged him to take up writing more seriously (he’s a dentist!).

Our conversation was cut a bit short since my brother arrived to pick me up earlier than expected, because a “Fakir” who my uncle really believes in had arrived at home and my uncle had wanted me to meet him. I am generally a non-believer in astrology and anything related to it, but my uncle is a pretty logical guy and this was not your typical astrologer but more of a spiritual person who had a vision. More later on another blog about the “Fakir”.

I caught up with my friend over text/chat later, and he told me the same thing that I had been feeling all along last year when I was writing. That feeling that something was missing. Except, he was able to succinctly describe it to me. “I enjoyed the blog”, he said. “But, it would be so much better if you described how you felt. You’ve done a beautiful job of describing a Banyan tree in Hawaii, for example, but how does that make you feel?” I think he hit the nail on the head, because the same thing had been churning in my head all along that day. Someone else had said to me that morning that it seems like I go close enough to “almost feel” an emotion, but not quite feel it completely.

Your writing is a reflection of your current state of mind. So it was not a surprise that my writing last year was a lot of good prose, but couldn’t quite stand on it’s own and needed a touch of poetry. After all, what is good writing without the writer’s deeply personal perspective, which evokes the same emotions in the reader that the writer experienced themselves? The best writing takes you there; being that person, seeing what they are seeing, and feeling what they were feeling.

Here’s (a toast) to “writing more deeply and consistently” in 2018!

P. S. The photograph in the header image is of the sand dunes in the desert of Khimsar, Rajasthan, captured when we were returning back to the Jeep in a camel cart; looking backward at the splendour of the desert. It reminded me of the vastness of the universe, the emptiness of miles of desert sand. It made me feel calm, thankful, peaceful; and reminded me of the beauty in the most empty and bland experiences of life.



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