"Tere khushboo mein base khat main jalaatha kaise, Pyaar mein doobe hue khath main jalaatha kaise, Tere haathon se likhe khath main jalaatha kaise,
Tere khath aaj main Ganga mein bahaa aayaa hoon, Aag behte hue paani mein jalaa aaya hoon."

Such a romantic song, one that has echoed in my mind and heart through the years. It takes me back in time to a young Lakshmi, dreamy and idealistic, in love with love and coffee and books, in love with the idea of romance, in love with a guy who she wrote letters to, in love with the idea of a romantic life. Emotional, impulsive, afraid, terribly naive and hopelessly hopeful.

So much has changed. Not emotional but emotion-rich, not impulsive but spontaneous, not afraid but courageous, not naive but innocent, not hopeful but full of faith. It has been a lovely transition even if I say so.

A few years back, a song like 'Tere Khat' would have undoubtedly made me emotional. It would have made me go into a rumination of sorts. Dead relationships, painful regrets, moments of intense physical chemistry, sparks flying, unrequited love and deep longing. I would have been off the song in an instant and gone into a saga in my head. Making up sad stories, imagining what-if situations and consequences, feeling the dull ache in my heart.

Today, I have a different response to the song. Emotions arise (doesn't art always do that?), stir up the imagination, tears flow. I enjoy the pain entirely but I don't get into 'story' mode or ponder over what I have gained or lost or wonder about old relationships.

Emotions are vital to an artist. They are the very life blood of a creative person. Today I am a good writer (and not shy to say that either) because I am able to express my emotions without becoming emotional. It is a vital difference and one that cannot be emphasized enough. An emotional person experiences an emotion and takes off on its wings. Pretty soon, you have lost sight of the emotion and become fixated with its object. Stories are concocted, a flurry of other emotions are generated, and all beauty is lost.

This song triggered a post four years ago. It is a lovely bit of writing, really. Want to read something from the 'older' me? Here you go – Letters from an Earlier Time.