Among the many attributes that nature and the goddess Saraswati endowed me with, writing is a significant part of my arsenal. I started writing early and wrote convincingly even from an early age. Over the years my writing underwent a whole lot of change, transforming from the more outward oriented to becoming more and more inner directed, more expressive and less to impress others.
But let me admit at the outset, that however my writing be, I find it exceedingly difficult to write because my own benchmarks are so high that they mostly seem unattainable. I read quite widely and that enriches me so much that I keep competing with the best people in every field (!!!) mind you, to attain that clarity, honesty and straightforwardness. But perhaps what I see as my best quality is that I write simple, for I do not wish to confuse anyone and in fact one of the mantras of my life is –simplify.
I even want to simplify research for the man on the street, if I may. Naturally enough being a musician I want people to be not intimidated by complex musical ideas, and I want people and music to come together as much as possible, because I love both so much. So I try doing whatever two penny bit I can, in that direction (all via research as yet!)
A jolt into an experience of a sudden expansion in consciousness, in which my world completely transformed in one flash, made me go outward on the one hand and deeper within, on the other. The poet was born at that time (1992), though chronologically I had taken birth a good two decades before that. I do not share my poetry much because there is so much of it that unless I can put it together in a collection, publishing a few poems at a time does not appeal to me. Here is a sample, and another. There are many more I share publicly, but I do not want to go overboard here.
Due to long ‘illnesses’ and the labeling that happened as a result of that ‘expansion’ , and the journey to the underworld I made, apart from poetry, the other thing I started was blogging- not really to share anything with anyone or to connect, but only to vent myself out and honestly to kill time. Here are some samples- my kabir blog, a blog about gardening, my then home in the north of India. There are many more…but the purpose is to just share a sample and not really show-off, which in any case was never the thing for me to do.
Somewhere poetry was accessible, non threatening, and could be completed in a short span whereas any other writing more was difficult and required a commitment to writing itself. With a spirit so wounded and dissipated it was just not possible. But I did, at that point, start looking for illness narratives of artists and musicians, particularly the latter. Limited resources, both personally and culturally (where do we have public libraries in India where anyone can go and read anything, or access stuff on the internet?) made me make a nosedive accidentally into reading about Kumar Gandharva or maybe it was the other way round. I wrote a well researched magazine article, that I have no other copy of except for a hard copy and I ought to have scanned it in all these years, but have not till date, about him. I was very enamoured by his singing of a certain kind and that had been the charm to follow it further.
In researching for that magazine article I became very fascinated with the man and his ideas- to the extent that the first research article Music and the Muse, happened- my first in a peer-reviewed journal, edited by Girishwar Misra, who became a sort of a mentor for me from then onward. Upon reading/publishing that article he told me that I ought to be contributing to the journal at least on a biannual basis! Alas I could not do that. That journal is called Psychological Studies, and along the way its publication was taken over by Springer. Anyhow, that was the start.
Starting from music as identity, I moved into music in its therapeutic possibilities because that was my own inner necessity and a significant part of my unfolding. The long and short of it is that the article about Kumar Gandharva marked my entry into the world of research, without having the academic
and university credentials to do it! That was 2005. Now, in the span of all these years, naturally enough my work has diversified into many directions, and I share some downloadable work of my research here. Whatever is in the pipeline, in its various stages- whether conceptually, being done, or pending review, can naturally enough, not show here.
I did enter into the path of qualitative research- imagine me saying that! I am nothing but a poor musician, who never went to university after age 20- talking of research as if I know what it is! However, whatever the label be, I work in autoethnography a great deal, though now I think I am almost at the fag end of it and likely to do more of work in applied musicology.
But that is not the end of the writing bit. So lately I have begun to write, in the light of many philosophical queries and issues that I wish to address a blog. I did not want to share with the world this writing, but somehow from somewhere, some people started following me on parts that make me whole. I still keep this a bit silent and do not publicly share it, though what I do share is this blog that is distilling my ideas about peace. So this is my world of writing as of now- poetry, research (since I started this in the pre-internet days), blogs and hopefully someday stories.
I am not sharing in this post about my music because that is another dimension of my life and equally variegated. For that perhaps one would have to look up the blogs I have shared or the writing, or even the youtube links that are shared somewhere or the other. I ought not blow my own trumpet more than this :P, forgive me.
But excuse me, do you think I am blowing my own trumpet in any way? I am just telling the honest truth- with no offence meant to you in case you’ve read it. (You also know how densely this link is camouflaged and it is not easy to come to this corner of my world to share what all parts of my writing I share). I am shy and self-effacing person, even though I have used the word ‘I’ an infinite number of times in this little write-up! I cannot forever keep hiding parts of me and sharing other sides of me, uncertain about how people perceive me, the way I have done all my life- cutting myself to suit other’s perceptions. So this is me.
My mind is constantly enriched by the world and everything I interact with, I do with a sense of wonderment and appreciation, not a bad thing for a researcher one could think, unless one approaches research itself with a smugness and certainty. I suppose I am a researcher by destiny, not by design, not by planning either. The sort who had research thrust upon her! (and not the funds to do it!!!)