I don’t know if I was born as a writer or not, but yes one day I discovered that I could be one. It took me ages to find my self as a writer, though. Well it doesn’t mean I haven’t been writing at all through that time!
When I was a child I used to get some pocket money from my parents, literarily 50 paisas. One day I happened to find a hawker selling used issue of “Buchon Ki Duniya” magazines. Hmmm..bucchon ki duniya means ..The Children’s World..I went to buy some candies, but my steps got frozen at the moving stall of that Children’s World. I actually got lost in the maze of story books and happened to find myself had bought two issues for 50 Paisas. That was the best shopping I had ever had at that age..11, 12.years nearly…
You might think that I would have become completely lost in the kids’s world and would have collected a pile of used magazines in my little shelf which looked like a little stage of fairy land characters acting and living all over the place…Nun Nun No..Not at all..I read a few magazines and came to conclude that almost all fairy tales are alike with some alterations in characters , places and of-course happenings. So I immediately decided to write my story of a ‘regular’ Prince, Princess and a Jinnie.I named after my Uncle :) who’s character I could never understand. He himself was partly a well-bred, well-dressed, well-educated human being , yet partly a hairy and scary Jinnie to me who used to talk in somewhat feminine way. His personality was full of mystery and fun. He seemed like a Jack of all trades to me , yet absolutely mastered none of them…
So I not only wrote the story , but printed and haha published it..in a form of a small book-let with relevant pictures drawn by my hands! I showed that to my Uncle who read it , encouraged it yet didn’t say a word about his name in the story..thankfully!
It would certainly be inevitable to know that ,that was probably my first and the last story book ever got created. The later hand books were the picture books with ballerinas dancing in them.lol ( I always pretended to be one, too!)
And please don’t think I never had had new books in my life, again. One of my great buys were a book of “Des Des ki Kahaanian” ( Stories from around the world) which got stolen immediately after I bought it from my school’s book fair, then was recovered. “Roosi Lok Kahaniaan” (Russian Folklores), which I bought from another bookfair and later another Uncle grabbed it for his kids and “Thumblina” A hard covered, hard-paged fairy tale, I bought as a present for me for standing first in school,in board examinations in grade eight. “I still HAVE that book with me”!
So after that I never tried to get published again lol!
Being a science student, I never found a formal opportunity to read English or Urdu literature, as you might had been thinking of. It was an experience of only kind of a bird-eye view to me. My first few reads were the parables of the Bible (I brought them from my convent school), Parables of Sheikh Saadi and Urdu ki aakhri kitaab lol by Ibne Insha, brought by my father. At that time I used to think about Islamic picture books narrating simple messages from Ahadees, which was forbidden thought at that time, and also some related programs at PTV...well! ( My father told me how movie "the Message " and "Ten Commandments" remained banned in Pakistan...Time has changed and "The Message" has become a "Message" for our modern youth and the Western World)
I also continued expressing my self in Urdu and English poems at the same time in my youth. I still have a few remnants with me.My creativity started earning good marks in Urdu and English in school and college. At University I was the sole main writer and director for some entertaining skits and plays, in which performed as well!
In University some of my very knowledgeable friends introduced me to the world of Literature. It was just a pity that I found the experience undigestable for me.I kind of ran away from complicated formats of the world of story telling. I confined my self to simple occasional reading and simple story-telling to my kids after my marriage.I read some poetry too ..my favourit Faiz Ahmad Faiz , Amjad Islam Amjad and Gulzar (esp. Michaelangelo and dus paisay). In prose..I like Mumtaz Mufti..especially his “Samay ka Bandhan”! ...and ...ooOpS...how could I forget some random stuff from 'Hemaaktain" by Shafiq ur Rahman.....I read years ago......never!!
When I came to Canada, the very busy life schedule dragged me far away from the world of fantasy. Though the very first and the foremost thing I loved about Canada was the 'Library', I couldn't avail it the way I could have, due to never-ending responsibilities. I couldn't read much, and the only thing I used to write was the ’letters’ to my mother and the only pleasure to read was her letters for me. I used to tell her sometimes that I wanted to write, but I could n’t.
Meanwhile I took an Art program for two years. My favorite part was 'designing' which in my opinion, taught me about all the necessary skills which later helped me craft the stories, as well! :), precisely...its 'making' ...'composition', 'emphasis', 'contrast', 'directing' etc...that gives it 'originality'...even through 'Realism'...or 'Impressionism"....or just by "Abstraction"...(some people , even artists, have their own specific understanding about the latter) ....and even "Cartooning" principles applies for adding a touch of 'humour' in the story!
After her demise in 2006 , when I came back to Canada, one day I felt like writing and I wrote my first short story ‘Mitti’’ (Earth) in Urdu ,in a go. It made me feel as if I was suddenly tuned to express myself ..so I wrote a second story “ Baatain” “Conversations” ..I wept and wept..after writing the story .I felt as If I had been talking to my Mother, once again! (Those stories got published later in an online magazine by the publisher who liked them for their originality. It was the origin of Ana -My pen-name!)
Then a year later , an acquaintance referred me to the poetry of Khalil Gibran again.It was just a timeless experience for me. I read it with my eyes full of tears and it reached my soul. I felt as if I was not reading the book , but the book was reading me.It spoke to me about some secrets of life which I enclosed in my heart.It also gave me the composure to expose them. :)
So the incident gave birth to my English stories and the poems and Saaya! It took me no time to change from" A flower girl of old town" to " A madman of a new town".. lol!
I remained sick and depressed due to health issues for a long time and had to discontinue. Now I have just been compiling my work on the blog spot. It’s almost done..!(Unfortunately I've lost some of my work due to a mishap!). Later,I got diverted to produce some visual artwork, incidentally, for quite sometime.
.Okay it wasn’t an attempt to drag you in my world of stories, but to make me able to see my work through your eyes :) As you might be able to infer, that I still live in my own world of simplicity in my imaginations and can’t write about the complexity of the issue. Still I hope you will be able to enjoy my work...
I humbly and heartedly thank my admirers and well-wishers…keep writing and keep reading…it's a beautiful way to discover and recover!!!!!