Mortal outpourings or heavenly proclamations?

  • Aneet Kanwal Randhawa, Hindustan Times
  • Updated: Nov 17, 2015 10:38 IST

It has been more than a year since I started my flirtations with the written word. I have no words to express my gratitude to all concerned in this newspaper and another one that found my “ramblings” (to borrow a word from another writer friend) worthy of publication. But beyond doubt, the experience has been every bit worthwhile.

But why do people who write, write? There may be a plethora of answers to this question. For some, it is livelihood. For others, it is a leisurely activity to bring forth their creative genius. Some may strike a “claim to fame” with it. Yet, there is a large section of people who write merely for self and not publication — for its cathartic appeal. Writing is the outpourings of the cup of mind filled to the brim.

Writing entails a freedom of expression that few other mediums entail. In verbal discourses, the other speakers might cut you short, as they find you playing discordant notes; but the reactions to your writings will only be after you have put your mind across. In the course of my flirtations, I had the opportunity of penning down some fictional accounts. Never before I felt so much in control of things. It is complete contrast to life, where you are merely dancing to the tune of heavenly designs. Here you call the shots. All your characters are at your beck and call. You can make them laugh or cry, conceive them or annihilate them, at your whim. You don the divine mantle, although in a subtle manner.

But at times, writing does seem arduous. At times it cascades out of you, while at other times, hours or even days go without any tangible accomplishment — which makes me believe in some cosmic power that holds sway over these things. Recall the writings of some of the accomplished authors. Do they seem to you mere mortal outpourings or some heavenly proclamations? The immediate writing that comes to my mind is poet Allama Iqbal’s Jawabe-Shikwa, the answer to his eloquently addressed plaint to God. As it casts its spell over you when you read it, you are left wondering whether it is the poet’s own work or the cosmic powers merely used the poet as a medium to convey their mind. Indeed, reply, they had to, to such an eloquently addressed plaint. Mirza Ghalib is more forthright, when he refuses to take credit for any of his great writings, by saying:

Aate hain ghaib se ye mazaameen khayaal mein

Ghalib, sareer-e-khaama nawa-e-sarosh hai

(From a mysterious sources descend these lofty thoughts to the mind/O’ Ghalib, the scratching sound made by the pen, is actually an angel’s resonance)

It may still be debatable whether the lofty thoughts descend from the heavens or are the feats of human mind. But if they are serene, they are bound to emanate a soothing fragrance after being scribbled.

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