200429 New York
A woman walking her dog stops to look at the sunset over the Statue of Liberty amid the pandemic Image Credit: AFP

The journey begins with the discovery of a tiny seed. It is so minuscule that I am not sure it will absorb the warmth and moisture to sprout leaves, grow branches and boughs and blossom to finally yield fruits.

Yet, I keep it cocooned in the recesses of my mind. I caress it with love and nourish it with attention. I guard it with all my heart like a tiny flame in the vicious wind.

Many a time it almost wilts and is given up for dead but it miraculously comes alive and with steady nurture it slowly begins to take root and grow. It gets a tiny new leaf, grows in stature and just as I start rejoicing, it starts dying again. Try as I might, I am not able to revive it. I start neglecting that tiny life and it almost reaches its end.

I cry silent tears of remorse and then decide to try once again. I guiltily pick up where I left off, it now needs double the effort and I want to give up, but the spirit is unwilling.

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I work hard and lavish it with time and oodles of care and sure enough more leaves sprout and I can almost see a woody stem. I pluck off leaves that do not look good and give it my blood and toil to keep it alive.

I keep working on it to make it more beautiful and appealing to all. I trim it and prune it, all the while watching it grow with both happiness and a tinge of sorrow.

Did it blossom as I had hoped it would, as I had envisioned with my soul? Are the roots strong enough to sustain the onslaughts? Will it withstand the scrutiny of many an alert mind?

Will it tower high enough to spread its shade for all the people who might come to partake of it? Will it disseminate love, happiness, humour, good tidings or will it be just another humdrum addition?

I am plagued with doubts but I love it nevertheless and continue doing all I can for it.

My most prized possession 

One fine day, I take the difficult decision of seeking approval, first from my close circle of friends. With a quivering heart, like parting with the most prized possession I have, I gingerly pass it onto them, for them to behold, to regard and opine.

I wait with bated breath and time passes by agonisingly slow. I am convinced it is beautiful and serves a purpose but may be I could have done a lot better ... one minute I am the epitome of confidence and the next I am a bundle of nerves!

The opinions start trickling in ...’Oh! My friend, this is a beautiful slice of life and I am so moved!’

I blink back my tears of pride and joy, I could do it! I could make an impact at least on one person! I have it in me and I rejoice.

‘Well, to be honest it’s quite placid, nothing exciting’ opines another. I am devastated. I don’t have it in me, after all.

‘It’s wonderful’ chimes in family. I am not sure whether the words are true or simply said to lift up my sagging spirits.

I get many tips on how it can be made more alluring from novices and experts alike. I try to make sense of it all and I go over it again.

‘You must reach out to more people’ a sincere friend advises and insists to place it before prominent people in the field. ’You have to face the acid test one day so why not now?’ she reasons.

I am unsure but I do it anyway. I never know its destination, whether it will end up in an editor’s trash bin or appear in black and white, the rainbow colours of the written word.

Whatever be the end, the journey has been beautiful though embedded with moments of despair and pure joy. The pendulum-like rocking between hope and anguish, flows and blocks, laze and adrenalin drive, élan and self-doubts … … are all worth it!

It’s the journey that’s more meaningful than the destination. The limelight may never shine on me but I glow with an inner light that comes from doing what I love, what gives me happiness and what I am passionate about.

I don’t know where or how I will find the next seed …. may be in an uttered word, in what I see around, in what just strikes out of the blue … in something that pains the soul or makes me soar….

I don’t have a clue but I am all set to enjoy this roller-coaster journey over and over again, all for the love of the written word!

The pains and joys of this journey are all too familiar to the many wannabes out there: the actor trying to get a good break, the singer who wants to be heard, the sportsman who wants to represent his state or country, the dancer waiting in the wings to awe the world….

Hang in there, promising morrows await you, meanwhile have a great ride!

Annie Mathew is the educator and writer based in Dubai