I do not distinctly remember when I started writing first and when words started flowing on a paper and came together to make a coherent structure. Whatever I couldn’t say verbally, would always be written down in a diary, and now sometimes on my iPhone’s notepad. But I do remember understanding the power of words when I was 18, when I read a poem by the renowned Urdu poet, Faiz Ahmad Faiz, where the opening lines resonated with every bit of me… “बोल कि लब आज़ाद हैं तेरे , बोल ज़बाँ अब तक तेरी है…”
Yesterday, this blog, Delectable Reveries was acknowledged as the best blog in India (runners up) at the Food Bloggers Association India’s (FBAI) awards show, and when they announced my name, I felt a slight numbness while getting to go up to receive my award. You see, when I started the blog and began writing here, I did not know that people were reading what I had to say or that it even mattered. In fact, in the recent times the debate always has been that are people even interested in reading long form blogs anymore, or not. I continued writing, because if not for anyone else, I had to write for myself, and if it resonated with even one person, that was a victory for me. So when one gets acknowledged for what they’ve strived for, it takes a moment or two to let it sink in. Thank you FBAI, the jury and the readers who supported us. I am still coming to terms with it.
Recently we’ve branched out and have started producing videos for brands and some wonderful clients and friends, and yet while that procedure is on, the first thought in my mind always is to come out with a story from that experience (and I have. Shall put them down here as and when our projects go live). I try that even in our videos, there is a story that touches someone somewhere, even if it is through the medium of a 30 seconds to 1 minute visuals. As one of my favourite authors JK Rowling puts it, “There’s always room for a story that can transport people to another place.”
From meeting a Sumana, who came down all the way from Nagpur to meet me as she’s been my blog’s most loyal reader, to her penning down a handwritten letter for me, which I shall treasure forever, to hearing my name being announced for the best blog in India (runners up), the feeling was surreal. My takeaway from this is that I am going to continue doing what I do i.e write my heart out and tell the stories that matter to me and hope that they will echo with someone. Live every day and go with the flow, because if it has worked till now, it will work always.
It was lovely winning this award with Kalyan Karmakar of Finely Chopped, a great friend and mentor. It felt even better to have people who matter a lot to me and who’ve encouraged me in this field by my side, specially, Shital Kakad, Jasleen Marwah, Rushina Munshaw Ghildiyal, Kurush Dalal-Rhea Dalal and Saee Koranne Khandekar. These are people I have looked up to and sought inspiration from, and to see them being present meant a lot to me.
I am not in a place to give advice to anyone, as many asked me on how to be a successful blogger, but all I can say is, “bol ki lafz azaad hain tere…” Write not because you can, but because you must. Write, because you want to freeze those moments. Lastly, write because you never know who’s reading and breathing those words.
Leaving you here with my favourite poem:
बोल कि लब आज़ाद हैं तेरे
बोल ज़बाँ अब तक तेरी है
तेरा सुत्वाँ जिस्म है तेरा
बोल कि जाँ अब तक तेरी है
देख कि आहन-गर की दुकाँ में
तुंद हैं शोले सुर्ख़ है आहन
खुलने लगे क़ुफ़्लों के दहाने
फैला हर इक ज़ंजीर का दामन
बोल ये थोड़ा वक़्त बहुत है
जिस्म ओ ज़बाँ की मौत से पहले
बोल कि सच ज़िंदा है अब तक
बोल जो कुछ कहना है कह ले
Speak, for your lips are yet free;
Speak, for your tongue is still your own;
Your lissom body yours alone;
Speak, your life is still your own.
Look into the blacksmith’s forge:
The flame blazes, the iron’s red;
Locks unfasten open-mouthed,
Every chain’s link springing wide.
Speak, a little time suffices
Before the tongue, the body die.
Speak, the truth is still alive;
Speak: say what you have to say.