“The first time that I…”

I barely remember the last time I started something from scratch. I had almost forgotten what that felt like.

The first time that I joined a dancing class, I was very young, five years. Quite a long time ago. And, I was too young to comprehend how I really felt, if at all. Sure, it was fun. I met lots of people from various neighbourhoods, schools, ages, et cetera. I got to eat chocolates on the way back, meet friends and play games, got invited by my mates’ parents, made friends with dogs, yeah, fun.

The first time that I got music lessons, I was six. Quite a long time ago, and too young to comprehend how I felt about it. After music, I’d go straight to my dance classes. More people, more games, more fun. How did I feel about it? I don’t know.

And there were many other firsts. All of them, when I was really young.

The first time that I started writing… no, the first time I wrote something down, I was ten-ish? I was always a storyteller. Always something. Let me rewind a bit.

I had a bad habit of being late to school all the time, never woke up on time – I am a night owl, always have been. “Why are you late?” the teacher asked. “I am sick, and I had to go back home and take my pills.” Look solemn, be humble. “Get in,” said my teacher, opening the classroom door, and in I walked, immensely proud of myself; people rarely ever got away with it. The day after that, the car broke down. And then a snake was in the backyard. And then my sibling of two years wouldn’t stop crying. Then there was a flood. Then my watch wasn’t working. And on and on it went. And each time, I would have a story to go with it. It had to be authentic.

As time went, I realised I got a kick out of telling stories: I was a part of a dance group, touring all over the city and out, giving performances. And I would often tell them one scarey story after another on the tour. At first, it would start with something I had watched. “Hey, I’ve seen that one,” one of my friends would say, and then it would begin. I would say, “Wait, but you haven’t heard this.” And the story would take a different turn. I would add more details, make it more intricate, slowly a story about a decent man with zero social life would turn into a man who sold apples, but they weren’t just apples, they were poison apples, you would turn into apples when you ate them. Yeah, funny as that might seem now, the children back then were not amused. And then it turned into stories about werewolves (until, of course, it wasn’t so cool anymore), and ghosts, and the likes. The only recurring theme being that my story was never finished; there was always more left for the next time.

Safe to say, I told many stories when I was a child. That wasn’t what mattered, that wasn’t what changed me. More importantly, I began to read. It wasn’t until I started reading, that I truly began to appreciate a good story.

The first time that I started reading, I was nine. I started with Harry Potter. My brother is a voracious reader. He’s always reading a book. Always. Everybody in my family reads. And, I was the only one who hadn’t, back then. And so, one day (when I was nine years old) I asked him why he would possibly want to read something that he wasn’t required to, one that didn’t have any pictures, one that wasn’t ‘important’, and he told me to give it (reading) a try. He is a straight-forward, down-to-earth kind of guy. He gets to the point. “Read this book,” he told me (about Harry Potter). “But there’s so much, I wouldn’t know where to start.” I hated beginnings, they always took so much effort. And there were five books then. So he said, “Why don’t you read the second book?” So, reluctantly, I did. And that was it. Half way through it, I shut the book and started from the first Harry Potter book. There was no stopping me. And, predictably, I became the librarian’s best friend. I read so many books back then, and so quickly, I don’t even remember what I read anymore.

The first time that I started writing… no, the first time I wrote something down, I was ten-ish? It was always some scene I envisioned in my head (yes, quite the dreamer I have always been), or developing an incident I had witnessed or heard of… but it was never a complete thing. And I would flit to the next one. As I got older, I turned into more of a solitary writer. Writing for myself. But, it wasn’t just about writing. It was the story. And I didn’t write one for a long, long time. Sure, I would volunteer to write essays, write poems on the corners of the textbook pages, edit presentations and so on. But I never did have an ‘idea for a book’ for a long while.

The first time that I ‘started writing’ was when I was eighteen. That’s another story.

All this goes to saying one thing – that I’ve loved to write. I was never concerned about what people thought about it, if at all, or what was trending, I just did it because I had to. Even when I didn’t want to, I had to. It was a compulsion of sorts. It felt weird not writing something. Sure, I have my moments, I get lazy, I find excuses, but I always come back to it. But, I’ve never been serious about it. It’s not ‘work’, and for a med student, writing for leisure is a luxury that one can’t afford. Heck, I barely get five hours of sleep. Why am I saying this? Why the blog?

The first time that I started a blog was on 28-06-2017. I have been telling myself I should start a blog, for a long time. It was just an idea, an idea that wouldn’t go away. For months, or arguably, years, I’ve thought about it, never quite getting there. And finally, I just did it. And why?

It was a way to keep myself motivated to write.

It was a way to challenge myself.

It was a way to be serious about it.

It was a way to honour a thing I love so much.

And because, a blank piece of paper is god’s way of telling us how hard it is to be god.

So, I’ll do what I’ve always done – Write. Curse. Repeat.

And how do I feel about that? Bloody damn good.

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