MY BOOKS – A Confession and a Submission
I start this with a disclaimer – my intention is not to use this post as a marketing gimmick. I have learned a few lessons during my writing life. For me writing is not a profession, it is a passion. I have understood it more and more as I wrote my books.
Recently a friend of mine from the old book club days at Gandhinagar, Gujarat, Ms. Elizabeth Koshy came out with her book ‘A Palimpsest’. Ms. Koshy a prolific writer and contributor to various newspaper and journals, the book is a collection of her writings over four decades. She is also the founder of the Chaitanya School at Gandhinagar. While talking to me she said that the proceeds from the sale of her books will go towards charity. That I thought was a very noble thing to do and it set me thinking.
For people like us who have been endowed with decent means to sustain ourselves and need not look towards making gains from the sale of our books this perhaps is one of the ways to give back something to those who have for no fault of theirs are leading a life devoid even of the necessities of life materially and on an emotional plane. During my writing life, I have had the opportunity to observe life more than I would have done earlier; perhaps I have had more time on my hand especially after retirement or maybe it is due to the awakening to the realities of existence. It has not been possible for me to indulge in activities that require physical exertion. It is the truth that I have not been able to contribute meaningfully to such causes because I did not know how. But now I know that I can make a difference through what I think I do best – writing. It is not that I write blockbusters and earn a lot of money – I even have trouble making my friends buy my books.
I have asked myself the question ‘Why I write?’ many times and have not been able to truthfully answer it. Is it because I want to get across to others so that I am understood as to what I am or because I am trying to understand more about the world around me? Or is it because I am seeking recognition and adulation or want to be a commercial success? It could have been a combination of all these. But I know one thing, I write because I like it. I also like it when someone says that they like what I write.
My travel through my books have brought me closer to understanding myself, empathizing with the lives I am surrounded by and I feel I have become a better man. The latest book ‘Autumn Leaves – Seasons of life’ takes me further in accepting the reality of aging parents and the loneliness that overtakes them. I have looked at physically challenged persons and the irrelevance of old practices which weighed heavily against women, in ‘Light in the Darkness’ and ‘A Tale of Two Widows’ respectively in my earlier book ‘Darkness and Beyond’. In ‘I am just an Ordinary Man’ I have asked myself questions and tried to shed myself of the hypocrisy I had surrounded myself with. My writing is therefore centered around emotions and how hope plays a large part in making our lives more meaningful.
I have not felt this more than what I went through while writing ‘Autumn Leaves’. The intensity reached its peak while I was writing the last story ‘An Enigma’. It was time that I also make a small contribution to such causes that can in someway alleviate the sufferings and enhance the quality of such underprivileged – orphans and destitute.
Taking a cue from my friend Ms. Koshy I have also decided that the proceeds received from the sale of all my books will go to such causes. I know a lot of my friends are also involved actively in philanthropic work and would welcome their suggestions in this matter. I know my limitations as a retired pensioner, but still, I would like to make a difference. I have decided to start with a small contribution (initially not connected in any way with the sale proceeds of my books) towards one such cause, maybe a drop in the ocean, but I am sure that it will give me the satisfaction that I can make a difference through my writing.
A small gesture is all that is needed. Let us in our own ways make a difference.
Thank you for hearing me out.