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!