I had first met Andaleeb Wajid at a workshop for writers at Urban Solace – Café for the Soul, a wonderful haunt I used to frequent in Bangalore way back in March 2014. The workshop was called Metamorphosis and it was an opportunity for aspiring writers, the many wannabes among us to showcase our writing skills to her and the panel of published writers with her.
I’d gone because I’d co-written three chapters of a chick litt novel with a friend. Although I’m supposed to be the writer here, my friend had done all the sassy, witty bits and I’d done the sappy, ‘straight-from-the-heart’ (read: boring) ones. Once I reached the venue, I noticed a motley crew among which a former colleague of mine from The World Bank, Chennai, who was a good writer; a young Turk who was right then with India Syndicate, a company I had worked with earlier; Christina Daniels, author, who was hosting most of these events at Urban Solace and who had let me know of it; and Perry Menzies, gracious host and owner of Urban Solace and many others.
Several of them read out their manuscripts and I decided right there and then that mine was too frivolous to be read. So I didn’t read it. I had had the first three chapters ready! So much for self-confidence.
Cut to March 2017.
I finally downloaded Andaleeb’s book, ‘Blinkers Off’ on Kindle Unlimited.
It was about a young girl Noor, who is intelligent and self-conscious about her weight, who is making a documentary film about weddings in her film class, and who has to deal with a snooty bitchy bimbette, in what seems to be a love triangle. It’s all very innocent love, though, and seen through the eyes of a conservative Muslim girl. I loved it. The author is so sure of who she is.
After reading this book, I was motivated to write in my diary and wrote 26 pages, which are not for public consumption, since they are painfully honest and it wouldn’t be wise to reveal such vulnerabilities to this evil world. But what I’m trying to say is that the book inspired me to write.
Insight : I think, as a writer, one needs to be sure of oneself and only then one will have a voice. That has been my problem. I’ve been rather mixed –up so my voice has not been steady.
I don’t know if that was one of the things you intended to convey through your book, but I got that out of ‘Blinkers Off.
Thanks, Andaleeb, for the inspiration!