I was born in Unwal, Gorakhpur, Uttar Pradesh. My grandfather was a farmer. We lived on crops we cultivated and sold them in the market to earn our living. The year I was born, my father was hired as a lecturer in the Gorakhpur University and our family got a financial stability. My father is a hardworking person and academically, no doubt, a genius. My mother is a homemaker. She herself couldn’t study much back then because that’s how our society was, but has always wanted the best for me.
When I was 4 years old, my mother decided to get me admitted in a reputed school. She wanted an English medium school with a healthy environment, so my family shifted to the city. The city was not so welcoming for me, as in the village we used to speak Bhojpuri, which is believed to be a language of the uncultured and illiterates. I could understand English but couldn’t speak it. Somehow my parents got me mug up the necessary things like the alphabet, five animals’ names, five fruits’ names, five vegetables and so on. I couldn’t understand a bit but somehow I managed to mug up all and got admitted in the St Joseph’s School, Civil lines. It was a convent school, with it’s root language as English and my parents felt proud and happy.
On the first day of school, as I entered the class, I realized that I was not like the other kids. There was a lot of difference. They used to talk in Hindi, and I used to respond only in Bhojpuri, which was an extremely funny thing for them. Some of them used to talk in English too, and not even a single word made sense to me. Hence I didn’t talk much, and isolated myself just to avoid conversations. After a week, my father was called by the class teacher and she told him something that became a driving force in my life. She told him that I don’t interact with anyone and that I was facing trouble connecting with the other students due to language barriers. She also said that language is the basic entity of connecting to people and we can only learn when we will connect. I knew I couldn’t speak even in Hindi. I thought it was stupid of me to expect myself talking in English.
My father told her that I’ll work hard and asked her to help me interact with people for the initial months. That one complaint was a game changer. I chose not to sit idle and start defeating my fears. Since then, English became a target for me and also my favorite subject. I did my best in it but was unable to build that confidence which others had. Time flew like this and I reached class 10th. I used to play Badminton at State and National level. I realized that I was missing my classes because of my practice and things weren’t going in a good way. So I decided to study at night. While reading at night, I realized that there was something strange about the night. It attracted me to go in its depth. I started reading poetry and was drawn towards the art and the nature. Soon after my Board Exams, I got a minor knee injury because of which I had to leave sports and I dived back into language and literature.
I remember there was a poem, ‘The Last Ride Together’ by Robert Browning, for which I wrote a poetic criticism, it was my first written piece of work . I had given it to my English teacher Miss Meera, to comment on it and let me know my shortcomings. She read the article and was mesmerized. She told me that I must never stop writing. She guided me for the next 2 years and I will always respect her and consider her as my greatest mentor.
After finishing my school, my inclination towards English language and literature increased and my fondness for art and nature, brought me to Graphic Era Hill University, Dehradun to pursue my graduation in BA English (hons.). It was like a new life for me, enrolling in a course of my choice, proving the prophecy of my kindergarten teacher wrong, and learning in the area of my utmost interest was the best feeling of joy and satisfaction. In the college, I met colleagues who shared similar affinity and respect for the language and art. I found myself belonging to that place. I was able to connect with people better now. It helped me push away my hesitation of speaking in front of others and gave me the confidence I needed. The confidence came from the appreciation of people, they started reading and listening to my work. I started performing several open mic sessions and kept writing constantly to keep reaching out to more people. I also started telling others to come out of their comfort zones. Present in front of people what they have and do what they like.
In my pursuit, I managed to impress a senior of mine with my writings.
He asked me to collab with him in publishing a book. It was no less than a milestone for me and I couldn’t let it go. So, we did it together putting in a lot of hard work. In no time the book was completed, edited and published. The book was named as ‘Unspoken- All about love’, with my name written on it at the Author’s place. It was my first book and a booster which gave me a direction to look ahead. Currently, I’m working on another book, and I don’t think I’ll ever stop writing. I thank my life at every moment because it has offered me so much and has never failed to suprise me.”
Instagram – @aryesh.m
*The views expressed in above article are of the writer and not the Winged Club.