As I was in a perpetual state of biting my nails in anticipation due tomy 10th grade results, there was a bigger fear lurking in a corner of my mind. What stream would I choose? Deep down, I knew that Science and Commerce would be the noble streams that I would be compelled to pursue. After all, I had grownup with friends with whom I shared similar goals, we all harboured goals of getting good grades which would help us get into good colleges. A couple of years down the line, we’d all be settled with six figure salaries in our pockets. However, we never talked about the methods by which we would get there.
I am constantly refreshing the results page on the CBSE website, I didn’t have any sermons to chant under the clout of fear that surrounded me. I had never been a person of religion or faith. In the midst of all these thoughts, my results finally appeared on screen. They were eye pleasing to see the least for this was the last year for the famed CCE pattern of examinations. Two numbers divided by a decimal and all the tension had transpired into bliss. A 9.6 CGPA, I quickly calculated the percentage, it went to come off as an even 92%. I was over the moon and yet in constant perplexity on actually choosing a stream. I had been a student of History and Languages all my life and that’s what I wanted to do. So I chose Humanities much to the protest of my teachers and peers but not my parents. They were supportive of the ideals and ideas that I believed in.
A year down the line, I was in state of balance. I was enjoying studying the nuances of History and the practicalities of psychology. However, above all that, I loved writing. I had started writing after having read “Oliver Twist” as a child. Something surged in me to further pursue that passion. However, I was not even a novice in the field of publishing and writing. I used to spend hours on the internet trying to learn the trades of this field,in between all that I wrote. Fiction, poetry marred in passion. Big name publishers wouldn’t take my manuscripts for as I was all but a 16 year old enthusiast. Literary agencies wouldn’t pay a lot of attention for I didn’t have the contacts to match my merit. My father being an ardent reader myself vouched for me to try harder.
Then, I came across the concept of independent publishing, where you write, format, edit and publish your own work, with no costs attached thanks to Amazon Kindle’s program. Struck by destiny, there was a Kindle “Write to Lead” competition as well, in which a select few writers would get their manuscripts published professionally. Mustering all the courage that I had in me, I submitted all of three manuscripts that I had compiled over the years, one paranormal thriller and two collections of poetry that I had composed. Months went by and as the anxiety within me grew, I kept questioning myself whether “I wasn’t cut out for writing?”
Exactly 4 months later, the results came. I was shocked and enthralled at the same time. For, my name figured in the top 25 writers who had landed publishing deals with Kindle. The books did reasonably well for a new writer and exceptionally well for someone who had started doubting himself. Six months after that venture, I was approached by Blue Rose publishers of Delhi to publish my fourth book (technically my third book of poetry). I was quite excited, for I was involved in every process right from the cover design till the final draft. I titled it ‘Covetous’ which ironically means the urge of achieving, which I wanted to my whole life. Wiser now, I dedicated months to marketing the sales of ‘Covetous’ and after excruciating efforts, Amazon gave my book the “Bestseller” tag for poetry.
Cut to present day, I have a traditional publishing deal with Bombaykala Books that has signed prominent authors such as Kiran Manral who has had her books previously published by Penguin. My book “Covetous” recently won the “Literary Titan Book Award for 2017.”
Therefore, in the end; passion prevails over partiality and if you have a passion, never stop believing in it and most importantly yourself.
Written by: Sreemay Rath