Amongst many other existential questions I had, one of them was, if I will ever be a good writer? It’s not like I can not write, I have been told plenty of times how my words helped people feel better and how I have a voice but it was mostly selective outrage on (pseudo) modern issues.

I used to write poetry when I was little or what seemed like poetry to me. My mother initially wouldn’t believe I wrote what I wrote, but later said I’d someday become a great writer or a poet because I had the knack for it. I won’t lie, I enjoyed it too. Thinking of myself as a writer gave me butterflies in my stomach.

When we moved to the city from my little town, I hated it. I hated the people and most of all, hated my new school and its forever bragging kids. This went on for long until one day, my only friend showed me around the library. In that moment, I was in love. Just like me, my friend resented the kids and the school too. He shared that the library was his only safe haven and I could understand why. Never in my life had I seen a library so beautiful, the brown shelves full of books, little succulents on the tables surrounded by comfy chairs, a grumpy yet quiet librarian, and most importantly big windows flaunting the huge lawns of the school.

I wanted to spend each minute of my school hours in the library. I was never much of a reader though. I still became a regular visitor specially every time I’d feel low or sometimes bunk my classes with my friend just to watch football matches of our school seniors from its windows.

I enjoyed my fiend’s company. There was a sense of comfort around him. He never spoke much but always heard me patiently. We had a lot of things in common other than the fact that I was more of an extrovert while he was like a silent lover. He liked a girl but never had it in him to confess it to her but we would gossip about it and also about my new crushes in our favourite place and that was enough to make my lousy day a better one.

My other best friend from my former school even got jealous sometimes but I’d enjoy it. Things got a little better in the new city until one day, my new best friend decided to call it quits on life and died by suicide. It was the same day our exams got over and had our prom planned in the evening. He was gone that morning. I found out around mid-noon while getting ready.

I had never experienced a loss like that before and was too little and too dumb to fathom what had happened. Even though I didn’t like a lot of things, I was never really unhappy and couldn’t understand how in the world could one kill himself? Can someone ever be in so much pain that he’d take his own life because that seemed easier? The guts you need to take a step like that! What if he didn’t really want to die but just got unlucky in that one moment? For days I kept asking myself hundreds and thousands of questions but eventually, as days passed, the questions faded or well their voices muffled at the back of my head. I started resenting school more but the kids suddenly became sympathetic towards me.

I started spending most of my time in the library, and the teachers didn’t mind. The grumpy librarian became the only person I didn’t dislike. Things weren’t so great back at home so nobody really bothered with what had happened with me and I liked the solitary existence.

Years passed and life happened. My friend became a memory triggered almost every time I picked up a book to read. It was because of him I had started in the first place. Stories happened, love was found and love was lost, loved ones were found and soon lost but I never wrote again and stopped reading after finishing school too.

I grew up and started solo traveling, oh the joy it brought me. To be at an unknown place, all by yourself. While wandering around, I met people who couldn’t understand a word I’d say yet welcomed me wholeheartedly. Enjoyed simple meals but always felt full, experienced feelings I never knew existed in me, heard different life stories from strangers and felt astonished but all the more grateful for the life I had. I’d never been happier. In traveling, I found my solace, yet again.

Every time, after a trip, I’d promise myself to write down every little detail of my expedition, but I obviously never did and eventually forgot about some of the most beautiful memories of my life. I’d come up with different excuses like, “What is the need to write this down? I would never forget something as beautiful as this!” or “I can’t really put it in words”. Even when I’d come up with different poetic verses or phrases, I’d never write them down and eventually forget about them too. But it weighed me down. I always ended up feeling cheated by myself and sometimes, helpless too.

I didn’t know what was wrong with me, but it felt like a constant battle between wanting to write and not being able to sit and form even a single sentence. Until one day, 3 in the morning, annoyed by yet another day in the lockdown, I came across a beautiful quote by Vincent Van Gogh.

Vincent Van Gogh happens to be my favorite painter cum artist. He would always remind me of my only friend in the new school. Both of them killed themselves because they couldn’t stand the sadness of the world. But before dying, Van Gogh wrote something beautiful about life, changing it for better for many I am sure, “Many people seem to think it foolish, even superstitious, to believe that the world could still change for better. And it is true that in winters, it is sometimes so bitingly cold that one is tempted to say, ‘What do I care if there is a summer? Its warmth is no help to me now.’ Yes! Evil often seems to surpass good. But then, in spite of us and without our permission, there comes, at last, an end to the biting frost. One morning, the wind turns and there is a thaw and so I must still have hope.”  

And that’s how I sat and wrote. Without still being able to figure out if I was or could be a writer but also without caring about it anymore. Just with a little more hope in my heart and a smile on my lips.

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Aarushi Om

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