Ananya Chandra

Bear Witness

In Uncategorized on November 28, 2010 at 5:05 pm


A pen.

A piece of blank paper.

Weigh these words separately and each carries a weight that is almost meaningless. However, you string them together, and they have the power to outlive an eternity.

I remember I started out as a young little girl, who didn’t want to learn how to read. Till Kindergarten I couldn’t write my own name – a feat that had been mastered by all those tiny Wordsworths in the making. But then suddenly over the next two years, I was exposed to the widest and most enthralling variety of books that a seven year old could ever have dreamt of. Something clicked inside of me, as instantaneously as a camera clicks a photograph. With Secret Seven I wanted my own shed in the garden, obviously to put my sharp [juvenile] mind to work – who stole that piece of bread from the kitchen [sadly, in retrospect it was probably just my dog]? With Saint Clares I knew that boarding school – in the prefect, quaint English countryside – was my calling. The arguments that I had with my parents were insane. A seven year old girl – who was obsessed with everything that didn’t quite exist – wanted to experience ALL she read. I probably drove my parents up the wall.

That, is the power I’m talking about. Obviously not the power to drive your parents crazy; but the power that is able to move you to feel something. Some people say that paintings and photographs have a power that can capture and enamour you completely; a power greater than that of words. At the opinionated age of seventeen, I beg to differ. Words are so strong that they can move masses of people together – an entire crowd is so moved by the compelling words of Wish You Were Here at a Pink Floyd concert that it sings along. Words have the strength to move you to tears – I wonder how many people in the world, cried at the very same moment when they realised that Fred Weasely was no more. Words are dynamic. They’re constantly swimming off the freshly printed [or yellowing and fragile] pages of a book, transporting you to places that you didn’t even know could exist. That, in my opinion, is the power of words.

Now, the more and more I think about it, the more I realise that this is what I want to do –  I want to write; not write just a blog that has no readers, but write so that my writing can help make a change, even if it changes just one person. Recently, I read this book called The Writing on My Forehead, by an Ind0-Pak author, Nafisa Haji. One thing that struck me about it, was this phrase she used so often – bear witness. It made me think that that’s what I want to do – bear witness to the things I see, and then write those things down. Maybe my words will be powerful enough to share with the world, the things that I’ve been a witness to. Don’t get me wrong, I haven’t been witness to very many interesting or life changing incidents. But then again, all the small things in life do matter. So maybe this is where this little blog of mine is going – hopefully it’s no longer going to be a journal of my boring life. It’s going to be more than that. I’m going to bear witness to things, and then share that with you, you sitting in some other dark corner of the world. And hopefully (as clichéd as this may sound), my words will bring light to your darkness. They’ll have the power.


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