Born to be Wild? | Laxmi Hariharan
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Born to be Wild?

Left or right?

A fellow author once said, that most of her protagonists are young women in their late teens, for that is when we feel invincible enough to take chances with life. I disagree. For me turning a certain-unmentionable-to-the-outside-world age has resulted in an epiphany. I believe that I now have choices, which I never did at seventeen.
As a teenager growing up in a middle class, South-Indian household in Bombay, I often rebelled against the more conventional routes, opting finally for the road slightly less travelled. Nevertheless I conformed to society’s version of what a successful life should look like. Yet, as I grew older, I found that my internal happiness co-efficient was inversely proportional to the number of boxes I ticked off. Surely something was not quite right here? Things were not going according to plan.
Over the last eighteen months, (following a miscarriage, which resulted in a near death experience, which in turn made me realise, that the finger of God could point to me anytime) I embarked on the real thing—an adventure of my own. I consciously made the decision to follow what I really wanted to do and had known since I was five. I actually just gave myself over to the pleasure to writing. Not for the world, or for publishers or for agents, but writing the words as they poured out of me, simply for the pleasure of it, for the reason that I never felt more alive as when I was mining experiences and giving them shape in a voice that was uniquely mine.
This – my personal blog was the first to take off, followed by guest posts for other authors and then for the Huffington Post and The NRI. The launch of my first novel changed everything. Suddenly the world saw me as an author. I saw myself in my author avatar. I realized that my identity was something that only I owned, it was also something so distinctive that only I could carve it out for myself.  
Half way through writing the second novel, I hit a wall, without even my being aware of it. Then fate took the decision out of my hands, and I found myself without the proverbial day-job. For the first time in my adult life I paused. Trying to resist the impulse to jump back on the treadmill, I wondered, if I had the guts this time, to follow my craft?

On a galaxy far far away,  
I stand on the verge of a precipice, looking to the other side.
The river gushes below, frothing. 
Light reflecting of its churning water-drops blinds me momentarily.
Eyes narrowed, I focus on my own timeline. 
Then, excited, anticipation builds, fear curls intertwined
I step off the cliff–
Spread my wings and fly
In search of new lives and civilizations,
To try to boldly go where I have never been before.

It is perhaps, one of the few times in my life that I have known what I really wanted…But I haven’t found the courage to jump in a hundred percent… Not yet. I also will not mention anything of what has taken place to my parents on my annual trip to Bombay, next week. A part of me wars with having to hold backI am almost middle aged; surely they should understand what I am going through? But the child in me—the by parts, lost and angry five year old—who I shrink down to when I stand in front of them, knows I will not be able to coherently explain what I am trying to do here.

How can I tell them that I have a terror of dying before completing the stuff I really want to do? Or that I hope that I now have the means to arrange my life around my writing and not the other way around, that I hope to be able to still earn a living but in such a fashion that it frees me up to focus on the ‘stuff that actually means something even if only I can see it?’
So you see, the conditioning of my conservative, Indian, middle-class roots still stays with me. I am not letting go fully; just loosening my reins on the iron control that I normally try to have on my future so I can see which road it takes.

Unchained, I squirm, clasping/ unclasping my fingers, 
testing the sound of freedom on my tongue… Strange. 
Is this how it tastes?

Laxmi Hariharan is on her way to Bombay. Over the next month she’ll be sharing more of what happens when she meets her parents and how they react, if and when, she does tell them about the change she is making to her destiny.
PS. For a change of pace and some action & romance check this out The Rockstar – A Love Story


  1. I couldn't agree more,Laxmi. We are a rebellious lot, ready to take on the world, its dictates, but then are we really free to do so, There is something (a part of us only) that ties us down and warns to behave. And I loved these verses:

    "Unchained, I squirm, clasping/ unclasping my fingers,
    testing the sound of freedom on my tongue… Strange.
    Is this how it tastes?"

    very well thought and written!

  2. Jay Singh says:

    Hi Laxmi,

    It's nice to know that you have dedicated yourself to writing without worrying about publishers or the lot.
    Nice insight into your life. Keep going and keep posting 🙂



  3. CS Severe says:

    I totally understand about the difficulties in fully letting go of how you were raised and the mindset that parents have instilled from childhood. I come from a conservative Haitian background and my parents constantly stress the importance of pursuing a traditional path to success that has little to no room for my creative passions. However, I press on because my dreams and passions define me and my future. If I abandon them, I abandon myself. Thank you for sharing a piece of your life.