Do you remember the first time you realized that you wanted to be a writer? That, perhaps you were a writer? Do you remember the first actual piece you wrote? I do.
I was seven and in second grade and we were supposed to write our first essay. Such a grown-up assignment. We were supposed to write about a ten paisa coin. That was my favorite coin. Light in the hand, its edges wavy, there was something almost flower-like about it. It's sad that most young Indian kids have probably never seen that old ten paisa coin, what with the one, five, and ten, even the twenty-five coins pretty much out of circulation.
While most other kids described what the coin looked like and what they could buy with it (a virultently red popsicle that stained your mouth, tongue, and lips vampire-red) I wrote about being a ten paisa coin. I started out new, bright and shiny and was given to a little girl who took it to the circus. But the coin fell out from a hole in her pocket and went for an adventure around the country with the circus. Eventually somehow, the little girl--now a teenager-- got it back as change when she bought something.
For some reason while rummaging through some Swiss francs to pay for parking I remembered my little essay as I rubbed my thumb against the edge of a coin. The intervening years fell away into nothingness. And just for a moment I was seven again, discovering the joy of creating my own worlds and realities.