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FLAIR

roberthernandez    June 18, 2024    3 min read   

My addictions began when I learnt to read and write and gradually became a slave to reading and writing.

In those bygone days, there were no smartphones, computers or TV. Some neighbours had radios but we had a gramophone. We did not have an unlimited set of gramophone records, so we listened to the few we had until we knew their contents by heart. What we had a great deal of was time and books. Books were very cheap then and second hand books could be bought for a song. Time plus books made me a bookworm.

Photo by Dim Hou on Unsplash

When I went to school, I found that there was a thing called composition, also known as essay writing. I had years and years of that. The subject matter ranged from the simple to the complex and knotty as we climbed up the school ladder.

We started off by responding to the command, “Write five sentences about the coconut tree”. We then graduated to “My best friend,” “My favourite subject,” and “My last school vacation.” At last, after many essays such as “If I become a millionaire,” “The recent monsoon floods,” and “What I would like to be when I grow up,” we reached the top.

From time to time, the world is absorbed by some terrible problem that is spoken about and written about all the time, and then that problem disappears from people’s consciousness because another terrible problem has become more engrossing. These topics became the subject for our essay writing in the senior classes.

Once, long ago, “The population explosion” was the flavour of the month. So, of course, I wrote that, if we did not practice family planning, there would be only standing room on Earth and that people would be dropping dead, like ninepins because there would not be enough food for everyone.

Another front-runner was “Nuclear Holocaust”. I had a whale of a time expounding that the proliferation of nuclear weapons would result in the complete annihilation of the human race and the extinction of civilization as we know it. Fortunately, my predictions have not come true after the passage of some 70 years.

If I were back in school today, I would probably be writing about how plastic is choking the seas and how deforestation is making the Earth one continuous desert, and how chemicals are killing us.

Be that as it may, I got addicted to writing, actually addicted to dreaming of writing but not getting down to it. Somehow, I didn’t know how to get started. Then I joined FLAIR (Forest Lake And Inala (W)Riters). Here, you are kept on your toes because each member is expected to write something (such as a short story, poem, or a chapter of a novel) and present it at the meeting.

Other members function as amiable and helpful critics and generously praise, whenever praise is due, and point out errors and suggest improvements, when necessary. The latter is done gently and nobody steps on anybody’s toes.

We should celebrate the founding of FLAIR because I have lost count of the number of times we have met. It doesn’t matter whether I am a good writer or not. I have had fun writing, and reading what other members write. There is a free fix for my addictions.

Photo by Kenny Eliason, Unsplash

roberthernandez