06 June 2013

Why I write

I suppose I have to thank the Radiant Reader, my English text in 3rd Standard, for instilling a love of reading in me.  I was trying to trace the exact point in time that I developed a love for reading. So I went back to my childhood.  I loved the language classes.  As soon as I got my books for the new session in school, I would pick up my English and Hindi textbooks and flip through them, reading all the fiction given therein. 

We used to subscribe to Dharmyug and Chandamama, popular Hindi magazines of the 60s.  I remember my aunt complaining to my cousin that the minute I spotted a new issue of either of these magazines, I was lost to the world. 

My cousins were fond of the romantic novels of Gulshan Nanda.  My uncle used to frown upon them, quite rightfully thinking they were bad reading material for young girls.  One afternoon my uncle caught me with my nose buried in a Gulshan Nanda novel.  He snatched it from of my hand and threw it outside the house.  My cousins, who used to read these on the sly, cast baleful looks at me for ‘outing’ them.

Soon afterwards, my uncle took me to a private library close to my house and enrolled me there.  It was one of the best things to happen to me.  I would draw books from the library and read like there was no tomorrow.  I was roundly scolded by all for such a passion for reading.

I write because I love to read.

I wrote a short story about a young woman who is adopted, and sets out to find her mother.  It was in Hindi, and the style was quite like Gulshan Nanda’s.  It was trashed by my cousins.  Later, under the influence of Enid Blyton and Daphne Du Maurier, I started writing in English.  All my writing was kept hidden in a notebook.

Much later, after college was done with, I typed out an article on my father’s typewriter and sent it to The Times of India for publication in their ‘Middles’ section.  It was picked up for publication, and I got a cheque of  Rs.150/- for it.  It was a princely sum in the early 80s.

Now.  I blog.

I write because it is a compulsion.

Write Tribe Prompt


  1. Radiant Reader!! Wow... this took me back to school too... we had this as our main English book in school.
    Getting published at such a young age is fantastic. Looking forward to read more from you! :)

  2. Only readers can be writers. So true. And writing is a compulsion. I know the feeling. :)

  3. Awesome that U got published in TOI as and when u sent the article!
    Beautiful story behind how u started writing

  4. Reading stimulates writing!Pls do keep writing!

  5. Such a sweet post.. makes me think about when I started loving the language .. really no clue.. Maybe Tinkles and Chandamamas would have piqued the love :) You must post the article sometime..

  6. Very well written post.By reading so much ,you aquired the habit of writing..Keep writing.You write very beautifully.

  7. Thank you girls.

    Your kind words make my day.

    I have lost the clipping of my article, I am afraid.

  8. I can so identify with what you've written, Ava. Reading is a big part of why I write too. More in my post!

  9. I completely agree, Ava. Research has also proved that when children read extensively they become better writers....Beautifully penned :))

  10. It was such an interesting read Ava as just like Corinne, I also identify so much with this post!

    Many things, like reading novels at young age was not allowed and I read many secretly. I also started writing with few Hindi poems, and I sent a hand written piece to Delhi Press and it got published!:)

    Reading is of course a big-big reason for writing because we book lovers love those lovely words and want to create our own:)

  11. Thanks Tarang,

    Delhi Press, wow! Didn't they print Sarita? There was another publication as well. And several ones for little children.

    Good going!

  12. Wow! You got published at such an early age!
    Keep writing! And I agree that reading is a very essential part of writing.

  13. Very interesting angle about writing because you enjoy reading. Indeed, there wouldn't be any reading if there weren't any writing (and possibly the other way round too). So they are connected - and I doubt there are writers out there whose writing hasn't been influenced by what they've read.

    Can also identify with the "compulsion" bit. It becomes second nature after a while, I suppose - to want to put things down in writing. :-) I have that too. :-)

    Very well written, Ava.

  14. Yes Sarita is from Delhi press. And many more, Grihshobha, Champak, Suman Saurabh but my articles and stories publish in Alive and Woman's Era (Both from Delhi Press) generally...:)

  15. I remember those Radiant Readers - OMG you took me back in time.
    Daphne du Maurier is one of my favourite authors. Jamaica Inn is my fav DdM book.
    I love your "I write because I love to read".
    And most of all Congrats on your published article. Awesome.

  16. Raja Thank you. We are driven by some compulsion to write.

    Tarang I have not read these mags in a long time. I must pick them up.

    Suzy :-) My faves are House on the Strand and Rebecca. Must re-read JI. Thanks

  17. Radiant reader! It sure did sow all the right seeds in us. Even my formative years were well sculpted by it. True Ava a point I missed in my own write up. We write because we read. When we read we have so much welled inside we need an outlet. A wonderful note on our sheer habit to write :)


  18. Almost same like my school life...
    yes both these skills are connected...so a good reader can produce a good writer...very well written

  19. Radiant Reader! That brings back memories. And yes reading does lead to writing.

  20. I still remember Chandamama and Tinkle and Wisdom etc. which occupied most of my childhood. And if I find one of those books around now, I still read them. Memories make us write too I guess.

  21. You took me back to my childhood days Ava. Thank you. On many occasions my mother even caught me reading story books just before the exams. :D what wonderful days they used to be.

    I can only feel how wonderful you must have felt when TOI published your article. And that 150 rupees! Priceless!!! isn't it? :)

  22. Thank you everyone. It was really good to delve deep into my memories to try and figure out where the writing bug really bit us :)

    Preetilata: Rs.150/- was a princely sum.

    Leo: Oh those books! Those comics we were so addicted to.

    Ritu, Richa, Shellymona :)

    Thank you all.

  23. I used to read all the children's magazines in Hindi that were then available. What is more, I loved to hoard these magazines too. I lost those magazines when my parents "donated" them to others. I have nt quite recovered from that loss even today. I feel that my mental abilities took a serous dive from that time onwards.

    Indeed all the right seeds were sowed in you at your formative years. You got published in TOI. Fantastic !

  24. Yes :) I had a collection of kiddie magazines as well. When I was a teenager, I collected JS magazine. Lost them all :(

    Thanks Atul.