I still remember my first byline. Fresh out of the first year of my mass media course, I eagerly sought an internship at the Bombay Times – a newspaper supplement I diligently read every morning for stories about my city, my favourite stars and more. To my surprise, I was granted the internship and on my first day at work itself I was assigned a story. The following week, I saw it. On page 4, a story about students seeking work during their vacations with my name printed right below it.
That’s the sad part about firsts. When they happen, you are excited and elated, but then the thrill easily goes away. Sure, its nice to see your name in the paper every now and then (I wasn’t writing as much as editing during my stint with CampusJunkie and yes, I lived a full two years without a byline) but then I was yearning to see my name in a whole different place – on the cover of a novel… Yes, after writing a novel (or a novella since it is 8000 words short of the standard length) all I could yearn for was a big, pretty cover with my name on it. But to get recognized as a fiction writer, I wanted my short stories to appear in magazines. But since I needed to practice and get better I started a blog of short stories and hoped the feedback would make me a better writer.
But when I saw an enquiry on twitter from Vrushali for really short stories, I promptly shared my stuff, hoping it’d be good enough for Femina. And it was! The short short story has been published in Femina’s September 7, 2011 issue. It is my first published fictional work. And I feel happy. Because as a writer, I forever seek validation for each written word because I as a writer my insecurity about my art is what keeps me going, keeps me honing my skills to get better. And validation in any form is important too, to make the struggle worth it (and I do have a long way to go). For now, thank you Femina.
BTW, please to see me story on Page 195!