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  • Writer's pictureKaren Divya Shekar

The Turning Point

It came when I was eight years old and changed my whole life.

I was in class 3A, worried and stressed, with a permanently pained expression that my mother called my “constipated” look on my face. The only thing I cared about was my grades at school. My whole life, being, and self-worth revolved around trying to come first in class.

It all changed when our family took a trip to my father’s hometown, Dindigul.

I was determined to enjoy the journey as I was of a mature age where I didn’t fear bridges across the Mahanadi, Kaveri or Godavari. I prayed that the train wouldn’t fall into the river, as I had seen so many times in the news before. Train derailments were a constant threat back then.

I was happy, excited, and looking forward to spending my holidays in my native place. Moreover, I was excited to meet my aunts, who were still unmarried and spoiled my sister and me silly with treats.

It was going to be an exciting time. The journey was fine and lovely. My sister and I took turns at the window seat. We played. We fought. We ate our meals out of the little packets of banana leaf that my mother packed for us. Then we slept with gleeful abandon as the train rocked us goodnight. It takes approx. 3 days to reach Dindigul from Kolkata.

Everything was gung-ho. Until we came to the Kaveri.

That’s when everything changed. Then, it felt like time slowed down.

I watched the beautiful river, mesmerized.

She was in full flood, flowing lustily beneath the bridge. A cool breeze blew across even on that sweltering day. Little waves lapped, birthed and died minute by minute. The train rattled. I was enchanted. Then it started to rain, and the raindrops hit my face. As a mad lover of Nature, this was more than I could bear. I was in raptures at the sight and the feelings it evoked were akin to bliss.

That’s all I can remember.

After that, life went on. We had a gala time at my grandparents’ place. We returned home.

And the next term, in the English paper, there were 2 essay topics.

One was on “Your Ambition”, and the other was to describe a recent train journey you took.

You can guess which one I chose.

I was only eight, but I passionately described what I felt and how I enjoyed the train journey to the littlest detail. Then, not expecting anything to come out of it, I turned it in and went my way.

When the results were declared, my teacher had something strange to say. Apparently, my essay had scored the highest in class! Not only that, no one in the whole room of 50 something children had chosen that topic, except me.

It was the first time in my life that I felt like I had found treasure within me. Finally, finally, I had found something of worth within me, something that shone out at the right time, and for which, today, I’m very grateful.

From then, on I began to write in earnest. I filled up diary after diary. I practised hard. I hated for anyone else to come first in English. I worked hard. I had a talent. I must use it. I drove myself like the little steam engine that had to get the circus to town.

Besides being called out in class for my essay, this incident had a lifelong positive impact.

I wonder if that isn’t true of all of us. What’s that Eureka or “Aha” moment like? At that moment, we know, JUST know! This moment will change the course of my destiny.

After that, I went on to win prizes in storytelling, writing. Finally, being good at something gave me the confidence I never had. It made me feel important, valuable, worth someone’s time. The gross underconfidence I grew up with vanished. I had found a crutch. I had found a second voice.

Whenever I am faced with knocks, I don’t think back to this time when the whole journey of writing started.

I seldom do.

Sorry for the unsentimental twist. But today I decided I need this memory. I’ve got to cherish the sparkle in it.

Over time, you’ll forget why you started out in the first place. That’s when you need to get back to the turning point and remember. If it was precious to you then, that’s all that matters, keep following it now.

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Sep 12, 2021

It's wonderful when that 'Aha' moment strikes early. For me it came in high school when the love of Geography got me gripped. Write, then not just to express yourself but also to inspire, enlighten and entertain.


Sep 11, 2021

It's Beautiful yobs 😍😍

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