Try to recall the last day of your 10th standard ?
It would be something like this – rushing to your best friends, with the slam book in your hands.. asking them to fill it up with the memories you made so far, covering the class captains, the cool hunk (who happened to be everyone’s crush) and most importantly your secret crush!
In this whole scenario, you might have overlooked few candidates in the very same class who often withdraw from people and places from time to time, and prefer to distant themselves from the world that is filled with millions of mouths. Even though they are willing to share their version of the story, they refuse to make eye contact while doing it!
In this milieu of socializing, dominated both numerically and culturally by a class of entities known as “extroverts”, these people happen to occupy the last seat of our brains. May be because we hardly agnize them or may be because they are too fluent in silence. They may seem to us like they are not doing anything, but actually they are quite busy thinking about how to initiate a conversation in their heads with about 30 tabs open!
Rabia Kapoor, who also considers herself to be one among them, stood up for them, enunciated her thoughts about how they actually feel, in her poem – “The introvert banter “
This poem addresses every introvert alive, who relishes the exquisite pleasure of stepping from the clamor party into bathroom and closing the door. She strongly believes that there is something in us as storytellers and as listeners to stories. And this belief of hers propelled her to write poems. As a result of which, she achieved eminence in “kommune”, and also in “ted talks”.
She impels each of us to tell our stories, the stories that have been growing in our hearts, the characters that we can’t keep out of our heads, the story of the tale that speaks to us, that pops into our heads during our daily commute, that wakes us up in the morning.
It is because your story isn’t calm. The road might have been chaotic at times, filled with detours, rains and sudden losses. Sometimes the bliss might have elevated your heart, that you could hardly hold it! Sometimes maddening to have and then to lose. Yet, you learn soon enough that it hardly ever goes as planned, gentle, easy and smooth. And this is what makes you fascinating, you have something to tell, something you have walked through, something wild, something courageous, something true.. Ultimately, you are made up of these stories within more stories, i.e. those quiet depths of you!
In conversation with Rabia Kapoor –
1) You started writing blogs at the age of 13. Furthermore, you have specified that there were very few readers of your blog.. Did that thing never succumb you into despair??
Ans) No, because I didn’t write for anyone. I wrote because I wanted to. My blog was never a platform that I needed readers for. There was no ambition or want of success on that front.
2) You consider yourself as one among the introverted persons. I guess, writing is your will to be split open about what disturbs you, what you fear and most importantly what you have been not able to speak about! Do you find pinning down your feelings much more easier than verbalising them?
Ans) Definitely! Although, over this past year, it has become a lot easier to voice my thoughts and not just write them out. I always prefer writing it out passive aggressively rather than full frontal aggressive.
3) Any inspiring lines or quotes you confronted with, which revamped your style of writing?
Ans) Charlie Chaplin’s final speech from The Great Dictator, I don’t know why but yes, that’s my inspiration.
4) Half of me is filled with bursting words, another half is painfully hushed. I crave solitude yet I also crave people. But when I’m around them, I falter! I end up bundling my thoughts in a package, and stamp it by saying “better luck next time”, sending it down to my heart to rip apart. Have you ever been in such situation?
Ans) Well yeah! I have been. Puberty and the majority of my teenage years were that way. But this past year, I’ve really come out of my shell. It still takes a lot of courage to make conversation but people don’t see it. There have actually been a few instances recently where I’ve started conversations and it’s been crazy! But I have something I really need to say, I usually find a way to get it across.
5) In this 21st century, where we are labelled by number of our Insta followers, for recurrently updating our whatsapp DP’s. People dont know how to accept the one who does not follow this trend. And if you dont fit among them, they’ll make you feel weird or damaged, instead of bolstering your uniqueness. What’s your opinion on this?
Ans) I don’t think that’s true at all. I feel like the masses that use social media have been wrongly stereotyped. Yes, it holds a lot of importance for a lot of people, but I genuinely don’t think that those who choose to not follow these trends are labeled as outcasts or something to that effect. I think one of the beautiful things about social media is that it encourages you to be different and outspoken. But then again, the choice is essentially just up to you.
6) How did you feel when your poem about introverts beguiled a mutlitude of hearts? Infact, many of them have thanked you even. Moreover, you were also approached by Tedtalks. Can you describe your journey so far.
Ans) It’s been crazy, although I am slowly coming to terms with it and I feel like that chapter of my life is coming to an end. I was very touched by the response that the piece on introverts received, but more than that I was extremely shocked and overwhelmed because what I wrote was something extremely personal- experience-wise. I was not expecting it to resonate with so many people. Then, the last piece of mine that was published on youtube recently was about my younger brother and extremely personal, even difficult for me to write. Yet, it got another overwhelming response and I saw hundreds of people tagging their siblings, apologising, rekindling some lost relationships. It was really beautiful. I’m constantly shocked and inexplicably heartened by the reassurance that I do have a voice and there are people listening, and it’s making a difference to their lives.
7) “I dont really have anything to say, that hasnt been said before.. I dont have any claims to make that havent been claimed before!” the lines which came right from your heart and now, you are renowned for those lines! When did you actually embarked on writing? What’s the best compliment you have ever received for your stories ?
Ans) I’ve been writing since I was ten years old. Bad stuff, but constantly. The best writing I think was when someone (who’s very dear to me now) told me that my writing was the reason they decided not to commit suicide.. That my stories do matter.
8) “We are, as species addicted to stories.. Even when the body goes to sleep, the mind stays up all night telling itself stories. In the end, we all become stories!” I truly believe that you agree with the above statement. How do you relate yourself with your stories?
Ans) I’m an amateur writer. I don’t possess half the skills I need to have to be considered a writer. My stories comprise only of what I know. My attempts at fiction are two dimensional and weak at best. The ones that are up on the internet, on youtube etc are true stories, because I am the only three dimensional character I can write about without something ringing false. So I relate to myself to my stories in terms of the fact that they are mine, they are me.
9) “I’m on the hunt for who I’ve yet to become!” and your poem – “A lot like me” defines that shade of their personality, which they yearn to be. Don’t you think so?
Ans) Yes, definitely. But also, it’s about who I already am but refuse to see. I have a tendency to focus on my flaws and beat myself up about it. Someone told me recently that my work has a recurring theme of self-pity, which is harsh but I think it’s at least partly true. I think “A Lot Like Me” is more about the fact that we are everything we aspire to be already, we just refuse to see it.
10) Who is your inspiration? Can you mention some of your favourite books, poets and writers?
Ans) The Catcher in the Rye by J.D Salinger, Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez, A Streetcar Named Desire by Tennessee Williams, I love E.E Cummings, Carol Ann Duffy and John Donne as far as poets go (I don’t read much poetry although I’ve tried), writers— Adichie is my favourite, as is Salinger.
11) What suggestion you would like to give for a budding writer or a poet?
Ans) Just keep writing. There’s no shortcut, trick or technique to it. Just read lots and write lots. Don’t think too much, just start writing one word after the other, and the next one will follow. It’s okay if it’s bad. It’s important that it’s bad so you know when it’s good!
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