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My journey through pen and keyboard

Before I dive into today’s topic, let me highlight the humble beginnings of this hobby – writing. It began on a warm and humid summer evening in the tiny peninsular city of Mumbai, or Bombay, as we called it back then.

Jeez… this isn’t going to be that sort of a story.Although if you are interested, I could do a private interview for a modest pint of IPA! And I mean the British pint!

Essays, elocutions and speeches have always been a part of school life. So, you could say that anyone who has lived through high school has been a writer at some point. Granted, not every piece of writing is worth a Pulitzer or a Booker. But, as long as your childhood essays didn’t all start with the phrase – ‘Once upon a time…’, you can safely claim the skill of writing tolerable literature.

Obviously, the term ‘literature’ needs to expand to include Twitter puns and Whatsapp forwards, considering those are pretty much the ‘War and Peace‘ of the digital age!Sorry, Leo, but today, only Literature students read 1,200 pages in a single book, and that too seldom voluntarily! Case in point – the number of people who watched Game Of Thrones versus the ones who read it!

I can confidently say that my school essays DIDN’T begin with the one-liners that were standard for cracking top grades. Why? Because my teacher honestly believed that there is no standard recipe for writing literature in life!

Well, she hadn’t read Chetan Bhagat then, had she?

Nevertheless, let’s draw the focus back on me.

I never really wrote anything out of passion until I reached college. What began as a way to escape the torture of fluid dynamics, soon turned into a full-time hobby through the four years of college.

Studying, you ask? Tut tut. You only do THAT in college if you want to pursue the hard sciences. For everything else, you only need a 10-day cram before the exams, and grade-A boot polishing, come recruitment.

I vividly remember the lectures on fluid dynamics during my second year at college. The subject itself was far from fascinating, but I spent a great deal of time writing short stories on the rear benches.

Funnily enough, at that point, Facebook posts were so popular that the idea of creating a personal blog on Blogger or WordPress seemed like too much hard work. So, I’d write most of these stories on a piece of paper, old-school style, and a friend of mine would publish them on Facebook using the QWERTY keyboard on his Nokia business phone.

He enjoyed reading the posts firsthand and providing real-time feedback, while I enjoyed the voluntary assistance in migrating my penned thoughts onto a digital canvas.

For anyone who joined the digital circus after the 2010s, Nokia, QWERTY, and Blogger might almost seem like myths, and to be honest, they practically are. Well, except for WordPress, of course, which has managed to be resilient amidst the constant flurry of service providers such as Wix and Squarespace! And no, this is not a paid promotion.

But all that back-room publishing stopped as soon as I stepped into my first corporate job. I spent my waking hours slogging for a steady income and the rest, exploring the party culture of Bangalore! And this compounded until writing became a distant memory and Netflix took centre stage.

If I’m being honest, HBO played a HUGE role in sucking away my time too! I spent far too many years waiting for the winter to arrive. And when it finally did, it was lamer than January in Mumbai.

Then 2019 came to an end, and with it, COVID-19 entered our lives. Firstly, in no way do I think that we NEEDED this virus, but the timing could not have been more perfect. And I am sure that a lot more people have had a similar thought in private. Most people saved valuable time in the absence of a work commute. For SOME people with insurmountable inertia to exercise, the increased household chores were enough to shed at least a couple of kilos. In case of new parents, it meant quality time with their newborns. For newlyweds, it meant ahem-ahem.

And for me, it meant rediscovering my lost hobby.

It began with a simple goal – to find an outlet for my thoughts in the absence of social contact. Reviving my old college routine seemed like a great way to spend my free time while I was locked indoors, but I had a tiny problem! My trusted typist from college had left the country to work abroad! And on the other hand, having worked with a computer for the past seven years, writing with a pen was no longer my strong suit!

I am sure this does not come as a shock to you, but if you think I’m kidding, then try writing a 1000 word essay with a pen and paper. You’d WISH that you could only doodle half the words instead of neatly stacking them on a line. Our usage of traditional writing devices has reduced so sharply that at times, it almost feels unnatural to physically write ‘z’, ‘j’ or ‘q’, the least used alphabets in the English language.

So I had to turn my attention to a digital blog, and surprise-surprise! The world had moved on from Facebook to Instagram, which is basically all about photos and videos! So I started with the only piece of tech that I remembered from back in the days – WordPress. Obviously, having a friend who moonlights as a freelance web developer came in handy at various stages of creating this blog. But more importantly, what helped was a focus group of friends who’d give the first bit of feedback on the thoughts that I wrote down.

Why did I need feedback on a ‘personal’ blog?

Because the content of my writing had transformed over the seven-year hiatus. I had moved on from emulating favourite authors to presenting the medley of thoughts that crowded my mind. And believe me, some of these thoughts do need critical filters!

Anyway, this is how The Clockwork Epiphany was born.

A place where I could talk about my latest thoughts, and let like-minded readers be a part of the conversation.

Well, there IS a comments section where the readers CAN be a part of the conversation. But unless I start publishing my posts on Whatsapp groups, expecting people to comment on a blog is almost unreal as Salman walking fully-clothed in a movie! Wait, I take that back! Bhai was fully-clothed in a few movies, as per some conversation threads on the internet.

Nevertheless, It has been a journey from an essay on ‘My best friend’ to ‘The Clockwork Epiphany’. One that I hope does not end here.

Because through this journey, I have evolved my thoughts, and my perception of the world. And I, for one, do not wish to stop that evolution here.

So, so long and thanks for all the fish! Until later.

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