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My Experience As An Anonymous Writer

Discussion in 'Snippets of Life (Non-Fiction)' started by Agatha83, Apr 16, 2018.

  1. Agatha83

    Agatha83 Finest Post Winner

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    Decade back, a leading newspaper welcomed their women readers to submit essays as part of an anonymous column that described their everyday life. For every essay that was published, the women would be given Rs.700 for their efforts. For the first time in my life at the ripe age of 60, the seed of adopting writing as a hobby was planted in my mind.

    I knew what I wanted to write about because for five years I had been struggling hopelessly between doctors and hospitals for treating my mother’s spinal chord problem. Their utter callousness towards my 80-year-old mother, had made me want to shout out loud to the world about how unethical the doctors could be. I wanted to reflect the ugly truth behind those pristine white coats donned by the doctors even in some of the best hospitals.

    I poured my heart and soul into writing about the happenings in the hospital, the casual attitude of the doctors, the indifference showed by the nurses and attenders, the vicious cycle of money — the list was endless, but I wrote with an unusual vengeance and trauma. Many times it left me emotionally drained, drowning me in an overwhelming sadness about my impotent anger.

    When I asked my daughter to edit my writing, one look at it and she first asked about me having ever read newspapers. While I passionately nodded my head in affirmation, she asked me how was it that my writing didn’t have any structure, introduction, paragraphs, punctuation marks — in short from start to end it was an emotional garbage.

    She also pointed out how I went overboard with my emotions in my narration, another negative point in my writing. Thus taking these points into consideration, I made a fresh copy of the whole write up which was approved by my daughter to be sent to the newspaper finally.

    Since I was relatively new to a desktop computer, it took almost a week to complete the write up and check thoroughly for any spelling mistakes, syntax errors and silly grammar mistakes resulting in a decent write up finally.

    Though it was an anonymous column, I had to give my house address, phone number as contact details. But that the newspaper never revealed the name or email id of those writers whose articles were published in the previous issues. — all made me feel very safe and secure.

    Few months passed, by which I had completely forgotten about the article I wrote. But suddenly one day, there was an email smiling at me, with a happy news that my article was to be published the next week.

    I could not sleep the entire week, because the article contained many sensitive issues, which even the medical council would have refused to discuss. The D-Day arrived and I was nervously waiting for the arrival of the newspaper.

    When the paper landed with a thud, my heart skipped a beat. With trembling hands I took up the newspaper and started reading my published article. Hey! My first write up published and I was also getting a cheque for Rs.700. I was shouting out loud in excitement and started having dreams about getting a top slot in the Booker’s prize list in future!

    But wait, my sweet reverie was broken with a loud ringing bell — both from the phone and the door bell. When I opened the door, a complete stranger was standing. But the non-stop ringing of the telephone stopped me in furthering my conversation with him and ran to pick up the phone. At the other end when I lifted the phone with a pounding heart in anticipation of congratulatory messages from the newspaper itself, I was taken back by surprise when a complete stranger asked me to reveal the identity of both the doctor and hospital which treated my mother in a threatening voice!

    I was dumbstruck when the query was raised and asked the fellow how he got my phone number. He chuckled and asked me to have another look at the newspaper article. I cut off the call and hurriedly looked out at my article. Below it in bold letters was my name, address and phone number! What happened the entire day was a nightmare with recurring calls from complete strangers! So much for being an anonymous writer, what with the harsh welcome I got, when I stepped in to the world of writers!

    It was a bitter lesson I learnt in my life - never to take your anonymity for granted!
     
    Last edited: Apr 16, 2018
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  2. satchitananda

    satchitananda Moderator Staff Member IL Hall of Fame

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    LOL Agatha. First of all, it is really hard to imagine you writing a text without structure! To really let you know what such texts are, I need to show you the stuff that lands on my head week after week for correction. As a student (yes, I occupy both sides of the table. :partyhat:), you need to listen to my presentations when I am asked to talk about a topic. I very industriously jot down the points and when it comes to actually presenting it orally, I lose my nerve and forget half the points and the teacher would be hard pressed to point out the beginning and the end of my text. Sigh!

    Anwyay, coming back to the point, much as I tell the BH that allopaths and doctors in general are a fraud unleashed on the unsuspecting public by medical institutions (BHs, especially those who are docs need to be kept grounded), I still believe there are many good docs left in this world. Even if my already damaged spine was further damaged and even though I have to live with the consequences for the rest of my life, I don't blame the doctors. They did everything they could. I was just an unfortunate statistic. I blame Murphy, not the docs, for that. Of course, I don't for a moment deny that like any other profession, the medical profession too has its black sheep. Sad that a handful of rotten apples spoil the reputation of the entire profession.

    As for anonymity, what does that mean? Do we really need to worry about our anonymity anymore? The govt has ensured that they have sold all of us and our identities in the market under the guise of national security. So we need to thank them for that now. They have ensured that we are in the happy position where we have nothing more to lose!
     
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  3. GeetaKashyap

    GeetaKashyap Finest Post Winner

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    What a horrible experience and the news papers, I am told, do such goof ups time and again. I could feel my tight neck muscles when you mentioned the phone call! I too had many terrible as well as good experiences with the medical fraternity. I could understand your emotions. Very good write-up, @Agatha83.:thumbup:
     
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  4. Sunburst

    Sunburst Finest Post Winner

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    For someone who started writing at the age of 60, you truly are an inspiration to many . With the NSA and Facebook fiasco , I now believe that anonymity and privacy was never there . Everything is out there whether or not you signed up for it !
     
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  5. nandinimithun

    nandinimithun Finest Post Winner

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    Dear agatha,
    That was a wonderful write up.... like its told everything has its own pros and cons....
    You are an inspiration to many here in Indusladies..... writing at the ripe age with a simple yet beautiful content, kudos and a big hug to you.
     
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  6. Srama

    Srama IL Hall of Fame

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    Dear Agatha!

    Phew! I can only imagine - writing when feelings were so intense must have touched a chord with many and then your address and phone number getting printed! I can only imagine what you must have gone through then.

    Thanks to that article back then, writing bug has stayed with you and we here reap the benefits of your lovely writing.
     
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  7. jayasala42

    jayasala42 IL Hall of Fame

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    Lovely writing! Every one has crossed 'the first time' in life.The first memory always lingers long, whether it was a desirable one or irksome.The good ones are sometimes followed by the undesirable results and vice versa.
    Reg anonymity, I have read many poems written by authors( anonymous) and they have excelled even Tennyson, wordsworth and even Shakespeare.Some come to lime light and some remain a lamp inside a pot( kudaththil milirum vilakku)
    When I wrote my first article to Open Page, the Hindu, someone from the Hindu office telephoned to me that the article was pragmatic to the core depicting middle class woes.When I saw my writing in print at the age of 68, what a feeling!Afterwards many articles were published, many were edited and many were rejected,all part of the game.The first one remains green for ever.

    jayasala42
     
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  8. joylokhi

    joylokhi Platinum IL'ite

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    Can imagine the shock you received after your supposedly anonymous write up came up to haunt you through phone calls! The Newspaper is clearly at fault for giving false information as to its anonymity. Either way, Im sure the write up would have had its effect at least on the few it was meant for! We at IL surely enjoy your writings with all the wisdom and experience behind it.
     
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  9. Agatha83

    Agatha83 Finest Post Winner

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    Dear satchi,

    Since it was my first piece of writing, I had just poured out every single emotion that hit me at the time of writing. From top to bottom it was an emotional outpouring, more than a factual statement. It was only when someone pointed out to me, I realised the grave mistake of going overboard with my emotions. My DD always says, .” write something funny, not sob stories!”
    The worst experience I ever encountered in my life, is a hospital refusing to admit a sick patient and offer her some relief. So there started my string of problems, with me fighting with the top level administrators at how unethical their behavior was.
    Later I found out that between the doctors themselves there was difference of opinion, when it came to the line of treatment to be offered. Thus I was at crossfire from all sides.
    Never did I want to reveal the names of the hospital or the doctor, since it would affect my mom’s future treatment, thus had a tough time with all those strangers who landed up at my place to know more about the doctor and hospital!

    Agatha83
     
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  10. Agatha83

    Agatha83 Finest Post Winner

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    Dear GK,

    Yes, it was a terrible experience which I least expected! When I called the newspaper, the CC person refused to answer my queries and was least apologetic!Thanks for your kind words of appreciation.

    Agatha83
     

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