An affair to remember

Very often as children we are asked to visualize what is the one thing we would like to become as grown adults capable of thinking, dreaming, acting on our own steam and living in this azure world of ours. For me the option was quite simple. From the earliest years of my life I remember walking around with a diary and pen scribbling my rampant thoughts – this at a time when I did not even know how to think, mark you. And rampant thoughts they certainly were and a melange of colorful thoughts that simply weren’t considered appropriate for children to have. I started penning down fairytale romances when one was not expected to be aware of these things, and with all the deviousness of children, would carefully hide them away as my secret passion to pursue in solitude, on my own some. 

As I progressed on in school, there was just one subject that caught my fancy and gripped me in its talons. The English language and its many -splendoured hues got me inebriated like I could not believe it was possible to be. Suddenly there opened up these great vistas of the future, my mute and relatively retarded brain that had always seemed in hibernation suddenly appeared to wake up. Words, the wonderful world of words held me in a thrall. Then before I knew it, in my earlier years at school I had finished devouring King Arthur and His Knights of the Roundtable (prescribed as a non-detailed reader in school those days!). Then came Tolstory, Milton, Shakespeare, Byron and Shelley, Keats (ah, that eternal favourite) and so many more. Life suddenly seemed interesting and took on a star like quality. My English teachers were my all time favourites, and the feeling was mutual! I am actually still in touch with most of them! It was quite the opposite scenario with Math, so we won’t go there! 

I became a bibliophile so obsessed….grabbing whatever books I could lay my hands on at the dusty second-hand bookstores lining the streets in certain narrow culverts and arterial roads in my hometown Chennai, or at the more sophisticated book stores. When this did not seem like the most affordable thing to do, I enrolled in the little community library we had a few streets away from where we stayed. Growing up as a teen in the 80’s it was easy enough to pursue a hobby like reading with single minded focus! This was an era before the Internet and smartphones which meant you actually needed to trudge up to the old reference libraries in town and spend days there grovelling on the floors and thumbing through dusty tomes on rickety shelves to actually even get a research or thesis paper done! 

And the sense of excitement at completing my thesis for the master’s programme in communication is something that gives me goosebumps to this day! It was on a topic as tricky as could be imagined – the penetration of satellite television and what digitalization would mean for the mass media…aha, I know most people today would wonder why that seems like such an achievement. Of course, it seems like absolutely nothing today. Pull out your phones, Google the details and voila….you have your presentation in minutes. But imagine a time when there was neither access to such information (yes, I actually physically got sent off from so many television and radio broadcast stations for doggedly trying to get some inputs from the powers that be!), nor were the pediatric resources that were available current or relevant. Add to that the anxiety that people had about the “press” as even communication students were referred to. 
Anyway, I digress. The point being that language and literature were always a single minded obsession. From editing the school and college journal to freelancing for local newspapers, it was almost a standing joke among my school mates that my career chose me…long before I had any rational thought or knew where I was going. A couple of decades down the line it seems almost unbelievable that they were right. Editing piles of stuff today and watching the relative angst my own kids and their peers go through trying to ferret out what would be the best career option, I am glad, so glad, that I had my affair to remember. Way before I could even kiss and tell! An affair that has lasted more than half a lifetime! 

38 thoughts on “An affair to remember

  1. a story that need no remembering for sure…it kind of etches on mind…great story…an affair that need no remembering…coz, you never can forget..

  2. Can I say I am jealous? This comes from a person who has a professional designation and has worked in it that capacity for over a dozen years. But with each passing day, I realize that the profession is not what I would identify myself readily with. So for someone to love and be passionate about what they do is truly a blessing!!! Very glad you found your calling!

    As for me, I am starting to discover a world that shines more light to an otherwise mundane life… the world of words!!! Thanks to people like you who freely share both their thoughts and words selflessly!!!

    • So lovely to hear that, girl. Thank you for the kind words. Yes, writing is a passion. The good thing though, is that with a little bit of interest and some attention to detail and logic, anyone can work towards writing beautifully. You do write well, and I dare say you can continue to do that in your spare time, no matter what your profession. But yes, I agree with you those of us who write, rather like with musicians and artists, can actually enjoy what we do. In fact, it is the only way one can be good at it at all! Look forward to catching up more on the stories we all love and one other random thoughts as well.

      Best,

      Anupama

      • This girl’s name is Anu too! To know you are from Madras too, warms my heart! Thanks for your words πŸ™‚

        PS: In this blog, I only see one post about your love for writing. But sw105’s comment above seems to indicate a story titled ‘An affair to remember’. Is it? If yes, can I get the privilege of reading it?

      • Lovely to hear that, my namesake. Well, this blog is essentially one where I follow all things ArShi. But yes, I do have another blog….largely defunct….you can see the link up in the settings menu or dashboard I think. It is the writeline.blogspot.com. Let me know if you are able to access it, Anu.

        Hugs!

  3. Oh my goodness! Another fellow Chennaiite! Your ‘An Affair to Remember’ was a bittersweet trip down the memory lane. Bitter because those halcyon days are a thing of the past – literally and figuratively and sweet because i was fortunate enough to experience the joys of pre-technology days. And joyful they were (my son vehemently disagrees). While I’ve read my share of Enid Blyton, Hardy Boys, Nancy Drew, Mills and Boon etc. it was the classics that caught my attention ever since I learned to read – with Pride and Prejudice leading the way. It’s wonderful that you still keep in touch with your English teachers. Being an English teacher myself, I can say with unwavering conviction that ‘a Lochinvar’ or ‘An Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard’ brings the same enthusiasm today as it did when I first read them.
    Keep writing. You have a wonderful way with words.

    • So lovely to hear and reminisce with you about those wonderful poems….An Elegy in the Country Churchyard takes one back….die-hard Chennai-ite YES! You teach English….next to writing that would have been a favourite career choice! And I hear you, Kaycee when you talk of children and reading now. Those Enid Blyton’s and Nancy Drew’s as much as the Pride and Prejudice and Dickens et al in later years were soul food and building blocks to where we are today. But in an era where my children quickly disparage the reading habit, saying ‘Don’t worry ma, we can Google it!’ I often wonder if I am beating against a hard wall when encouraging reading! Thanks for your thoughts!

      • “Don’t worry, we can Google it” – I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve heard that, at home and at school. One thing that I have tried and it seems to be working (knock on wood) is that I encourage kids to watch movie versions of books. A Time to Kill, The Client, The Pelican Brief, The Hunger Games, Pride and Prejudice to name a few and then ask them to compare the movies to the books and then give me their opinion. That way they learn to read. Hopefully this will take them to the Classics eventually. Right now, I’m working on The Scarlet Pimpernel.

  4. Anu di! I have always pestered you to write.. and here you have written such an excellent masterpiece and I have remained in the dark all this time. I don’t know whom to blame.. You or me own self? An affair to remember… the title lures to at least scroll down and my eyes did scan the words Chennai, Shakespeare, library and lastly English and Words! The last two words were enough to make me stay. You had me at these two.

    You know Di, I keep telling my friends I want to go to that era where I could write letter… long letters…have a pen pal.. This instant world has made us forget the beauty of waiting. I am however happy that my childhood escaped the interference of smartphones and laptops. Books and libraries remained my passion…

    This was such a nice write-up that gave me, the children of 1990’s an insight into your world.. our previous generation! I am enthralled by your writing and it has left me wanting for more! I just hope you write more and I get to read them…for once I will thank the technology for making me connect with you!

    • Haha! Sadh……so lovely to hear, girl! That was just an introductory piece I scribbled off to get this blog going. Seemed kind of empty….this one mostly follows all things ArShi. But I have my other one which is also more or less defunct, on musings from here and there. I am not really advertising this at all…so it is just for friends like you to read and appreciate! Thank you girl for all the good thoughts and kind words! Nice to hear from you. And will certainly keep writing here, there and everywhere…haha! That is the love of my life, so cannot stop myself!

      Hugs,

      Anu di

      • Hahaha!!! Other one? Hmm? Care to let me know if you have something else written under it? Now that you have kickstarted it, can we just start off with more? Pretty Please? And why ain’t not having the option to “like” your comment? 😦 and no love? Haaaw! Bachchi is sad 😦

        Love and Hugs!!

  5. Damn it Anu your title….. and I was excited that for once i have a chance to read your affair; your story; your work.

    Alas…..(Sigh)

    I am so glad that I came to know you through this unbelievable platform. The platform which never existed when we grew. The platform that makes life so easy for kids these days. At times its difficult to make this generation understand that there was a life without the cell phone and internet. That going to library to borrow books was actually a task; that life was not just a click away. Look at me going away from the soul of the story.

    I am really happy to know that you my dear are enjoying your profession and are in the profession that you love and breathe. Despite the challenges of real world you are in to something that was your dream. Not many have the privilege to do so due to many factors; be it peer pressure, be it helicopter parenting or just sheer luck.

    I never dreamt about the profession i am in. I wanted to be a doctor but here i am still happy being what i am. I am loving it to the core so we are two extremes on the same platform.

    Love always
    Ami
    (Just for you)

    • Ami,

      Thank you girl for the lovely words. As heartfelt and sincere as you are, my friend, for that, thank you! Yes, it is true. Writer, musicians, artists, dancers, sports people and perhaps teachers are in the lucky minority that love and obsess about their work…they are so passionate about it that it ceases to be work for them after all and becomes a way of life…a calling. Having said that, as you rightly point out there are those who do not start off having thought they would end up in a particular profession, but fall into it per chance…and then love it passionately enough. The thing is I suppose to love it to the extent possible. Because only then, do you end up doing a great job, or achieving an exemplary credibility at it.

      And yes, convincing this generation to read is nothing short of a Herculean task…..one can spend years doing so with little impact. Still here’s hoping having all that knowledge at their finger tips will actually help them mine that knowledge and use it for some good…some day! Thanks again, for your thoughts!

      Hugs,

      Anu

  6. Is this only a one post thing..or do you have anymore up your sleeve!???would love to explore more…love violetgirl…I always come across you liking my posts…so I am following yours…hope that is cool…πŸ€—πŸ˜¬

    • Hello violetgirl, are you from Chennai too? So nice! Well, this is my only entry yet on this blog….I have another one thewritelineblogger@blogspot.com (the address ought to be on the profile page of this WP site). Writing has always been a passion and is also my profession, so yes, I am blessed. Thank you for following this blog. Will try and post something here more regularly. At the moment it is just to follow all our fabulous writers of Arnav and Khushi fanfics!

      Best,

      Anu

  7. Love from chennai too..!wonderful to stumble across …nice to know you enjoy your work so much…I am blessed to be following my passion too..though I am still studying…!!!πŸ€—πŸ€—βœ¨βœ¨

    • Thank you so much, girl for your words. Sadly real life leaves one with little time to actively pursue blogging. Though yeah,it is such therapy for the soul. I live away from Chennai too. But it will always be home to me!

  8. A very happy birthday Anu di…may all your wishes come true …have a great year ahead…wishing for some more stories from you this year…βœ¨βœ¨βœ¨βœ¨βœ¨πŸŽˆπŸŽ‰πŸ°πŸ’πŸ€—πŸ€—πŸ€—

    • Thank you, girl. Sorry, have not put up anything else on this blog, which started out as a hub for all Arnav-Khushi stories that I was following. You will find a link to my other blog on the dashboard though. Hope you enjoy it. πŸ€—

      Anupama

  9. I enjoyed reading your musings – and its absolutely correct that an obsession for literature and
    Writing be it drabbles or full works starts early –
    one never fails to feel a sense of gratitude to the person who introduced you to the world of Noddy , phantom & Archie comics ,Enid blytons , chalet series ,MBs , Ayn Rand , Leon Uris ,Shakespeare , shaw , Hemingway , Tennessee Williamson , Henry James ,Amitav ghosh , Arshi Ff, & so many more ,our world would be so grey & empty without these

    • In all the authors books u hv mentioned I have not read even a single one. Arshi fics read as many as I could not count.

      It’s easy to read on a lcd screen than book.

      So much gadgets helps. I watched Lord of rings then read the books. Harry potter too the same way.

      All shows I’m lazy. Very true …

  10. Hi Anupama, I followed you when I saw your ‘like’ my comment in Jig’s Listed. Does it make any sense? Sometimes I think I write rubbish. I loved your journey.I always wanted to fly and my parents let me. My father fed my hunger for reading by buying books in Gujarati(My Mother tongue), Hindi and English. I loved going to the Library and I was the only girl reading newspapers amongst men in the local library. I do not write but my constant companion used to be Roget’s Thesaurus and Oxford pocket dictionary. (Recommended by our English teacher who was a Gujrati.).
    I read a lot but these days my reading is mostly limited to Arshi stories.
    Have written more?
    Hansa (ilfordian) from London UK

    • Hi Hansa, a full year too late in replying to your comment. Thank you for sharing your journey! I sadly don’t have much time to continue blogging, but am resolved to picking it up some day again! Yes, still in Dubai, how are you fading in London post the pandemic? Stay safe and happy reading!

      • Thank you, Anupama. We are coping in the UK. The pandemic changed the dynamics of everyday life but now are trying to get back to the routine while keeping safe.

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