Telling tales

{Thoughts on how I came to write in a published book. Insert happy dance here.}

As a mother of a new baby, I had a lot of free space in my head (aka not doing any intelligent work per se; it is a discussion for another day as to how much intellectual thinking is needed to care for babies, but the tasks are usually monotonous).

One thing I turned to often was the television (duh!) during those blurry days and nights. I don’t seem to care much for the English language series, unless they are certain comedies or riveting investigative dramas. So my go to are the romantic dramas of the Subcontinent, to supply me with mindless entertainment.

That is how I had ended up with watching and analysing this genre of serials that production houses in India and Pakistan churn out. A lot of the programming is mind numbingly regressive, and we should not go there, lest we become zombies after watching these.

But some serials, despite regressive ideas, have a few gems of story telling. Many are at least cursorily(?) women oriented. And I watch a lot of television online now, so it is very easy to read about what other viewers are opining about it.

Hence I ended up writing a post on the topic, which later led me to write a fiction piece in the book. I am a novice writer, so what I did was insert dialogue by fictional characters into my non-fiction essay. And it became what I called the fiction – essay.

There is a movie on the Indian diaspora that deals with domestic abuse, that could have played in my head, as I titled the piece. But ‘provocation’ was a term very easily used by even young female viewers of the series, to justify acts of domestic violence. 

Even within our own relationships, especially intimate ones, often the definition of provocation becomes a hazy one. Relationships are not one-dimensional, there is a give and take. (Unless we are dealing with mentally disturbed persons.) So, often it is hard to blame a single party on the consequences of any act. Provocation is a very loaded word in most contexts. Also, while researching for the story, I learnt that provocation is a legal term when the judiciary handles cases of violence. 

Beyond the personal, one of the goals for my writing is to write for the community, or what is more popularly called as writing for a cause. There is no dearth of artists in this world, and these are times when funding for arts programmes are being cut everywhere. 

Perhaps when we are creative, we could ask why is it that we create. Surely art for the sake of creativity is a great premise, but after a point our art should be a product of our interaction with the real world around us. Our art is informed by our lives, and our art should, in small measures, influence the world. 

As long as we are a thinking species, we cannot avoid holding and disseminating opinions. Neutrality is not possible. 

I do not mind being preachy, I am sure I often come out as preachy when I reflect on the society. But what I am reluctant to do is writing about experiences that I may not have directly had. But then, in those cases, I should learn a lot about my protagonist and their world-view, and treat my subject with respect and care. 


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