Ashwath Damle 

    TY BSc

    Senior Approval Board 

    I realised something while trying to write meaningfully for this piece. Writing about nothing is really hard. When you are writing an article, an essay, or even a quick retort in a discussion/argument with a friend or a stranger (Reddit), you are writing about something. You are focusing on trying to properly frame your view and the writing just sort of happens. In that sense writing is like an invisible connective tissue for your ideas. Yet writing isn’t all that invisible. We all seem to have an innate feeling for good writing and more importantly bad writing. By bad writing, I don’t mean writing that’s hard to read (for a tour de force in painfully dense writing, look forward to when Saylee ma’am makes you read Hayek). Rather the real bad writing is writing that fails to completely engross you. After all, isn’t that the difference between a book and movie? When you’re watching a movie you are constantly aware that you are watching a movie. But when youre reading a good book you lose track of everything. Now most of us will never write with the skill of those novelists. But that doesn’t mean there is no point in writing. After all, most of us will never bowl as well as Zaheer Khan (best bowler ever; no I will not be rational), but that didn’t stop me and my friends from imitating his action. 
    I am sure everyone else has also spoken about their love for reading. But then again, if we didn’t love reading, we would be an odd bunch of writers. After all, to me, writing has always just felt like a natural extension of reading. I remember being in 6th grade having just finished the Harry Potter series, when a friend of mine told me about this book he was reading- The Murder On The Orient Express. Now combine the effect of reading the reveal at the end of the book, with the fact that my parents had a bookshelf stocked with almost every Poirot and Mrs Marple, and you can imagine, why I felt like I had struck gold. But my parents, in their infinite wisdom, decided that the “ adult themes” in Agatha Christie’s books were a bit much for an 11 year old. So they told me that I could only read Agatha Christie when I was a bit older. I suppose tired of having the same argument again and again, my parents bought me the complete set of the Feluda stories as a distraction. (As an aside let me just say if you haven’t read the Feluda stories, you really must. Satyajit Ray may have written them for a younger audience but you are never too old to start reading Feluda.) 
    When I got the 2 volume omnibus, I read each story, repeatedly, until I lost count of the number of times I had read them. But there’s only so much fun in re-reading the same stories. So, driven by the sort of self-belief that only children can have I decided to write my own Feluda story. How hard could it be? After all the characters already existed and as with all detective stories there was a set format for the plot. So I started planning out the plot and workshopping it with my brother. It was great fun, deciding where the mystery would be set, who would be the murderer, what would be the motive. But when I sat down to actually write it, I just couldn’t. I didn’t know where to begin, I had no idea what the first sentence was going to be. 

    It’s much the same when it comes to writing articles. The real joy is reading and researching, and then planning out the narrative of the article. The writing at the end of it feels like butchery, leaving out all sorts of interesting things, just to craft a narrative. There’s no denying that writing is a chore, but it is by far the most wonderful chore. After all, it’s only by writing yourself that you can truly appreciate good writing.  The anguish of trying to write that first sentence never goes away, but the more you write the less power that feeling has over you.

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