By S Maxwell Lyngdoh
“If you feel like there’s something out there that you’re supposed to be doing if you have a passion for it, then stop wishing and just do it” – Wanda Skyes
Shillong, May 23: Social media as a topic has been spoken and written about endlessly. While most of such topics are on their negative impacts and addiction, some use this particular medium to connect with like-minded individuals through their literary art pieces to tickle the thoughts. One person has been able to capture many hearts through her bold, impactful, yet humorous and at most times philosophical touch to anything and everything that we encounter in our normal lives which lightens the hearts of the readers with a smile or a burst of laughter.
Mebanda Iaka Blah, who flagged her page ‘MBD’ on Facebook and Instagram a few months ago, is passionate about social media and uses this medium to the best of her advantage. She exhibits her writings daily, which enthral her followers as they await what this beautiful soul has to share next. Her pieces of amazing art keep pouring throughout the day and much to everyone’s amusement; it reflects utmost perfection of well-articulated thoughts, wittiness, and unique style of presentation. The passion they say ‘is the energy that keeps us going, that keeps us filled with meaning, happiness, excitement, and anticipation’. This is exactly what MBD is all about.
Mebanda Iaka which means ‘Thou shall protect her’ has always loved the fact that even as a child, every storm that came her way, was always one that she faced with a lot of positivity since she knew she had Divine protection. As she grew older and the storms grew in magnitude and intensity, the Christian in her realized God was always near and His answer to her prayers was already in her name. “He is my fortress, but that doesn’t mean the arrows won’t come flying my way but even when they do, no weapon formed against me has ever prospered,” she says.
Her first attempt at writing was when her father asked her to draft one line for her Leave of Absence in the school diary. It forced her to get the words right. ‘Pa’ as she lovingly addresses her father ‘gave the first dairy to me, to journal my thoughts’. She was perhaps in Class III then. She then went on to say ‘My first book was probably written when I tried to copy (horribly at that) a Noddy book, it had doodles too… Then by high school, I began writing Mills and Boons style romantic novels which were secretly passed to friends – she laughs out loud…
Like all other artists and writers, MBD mentions ‘I have always loved writing, but for the longest time I was always worried about showing anyone my writing as I was once told by some teacher that my style was ‘a little too flowery’. Writing has always been there in her – something that she loves and adores – ‘just as some people love to bake or play the piano…it soothes me’. M. B. D are the initials of her long name and since she coincidently shares the same initials with her son, using MBD is a ‘warm fuzzy feeling’ for Mebanda, ‘she smiles…’ In pursuit of doing what she enjoys best, MBD does not keep track of followers because that has never been a reason why she writes. She states “I am grateful to those who like what I write about but I also understand how what I write may not always resonate with everyone”.
While negativity is easily available in plenty, MBD gives ‘two hoots’ about what people think of her writings as she stands firm on being an ‘optimist’. “My plate is full so I don’t go looking around for negativity”. MBD’s biggest challenge in continuing her writings is the fact that she is not tech-savvy. It takes her forever to learn how to use new apps and most times, she has to annoy friends and family to help her out. Another challenge for MBD is finding time to balance between taking care of and spending quality with her son and writing. Although, doing household chores consumes the maximum of her time, yet she utilizes that time to contemplate ideas on what she will be writing next. She goes on to say with a smile – “Every woman is a multi-tasker and I am definitely one”.
MBD gets her ‘me time’ when her son is either watching television, playing outside, or busy with his drawings. “I am also an insomniac so I cherish this time when after a long day I finally get to write or else read in peace when everyone else is fast asleep” she added. On being asked about her flair for writing, MBD has this to say “I have always been a square peg in a round hole; I have never quite fit in. In writing too, I can’t be straight-jacketed into writing only one genrè. Ideas come to me and sometimes its poetry, at other times it is a funny story…and other times a quote. So I just write what I feel. I love to read, but I am a picky reader… anyways sometimes midway through reading, I get an idea so I stop reading and start writing. In that way, Google Keep is a blessing. I usually just jot down a thought that sometimes takes weeks or months for me to write about”.
MBD’s topics are usually humorous. “Humour has always saved me. It is my survival instinct”. When dark storms come her way, she mediates in prayers and forces herself to look at the funnier side of life. MBD believes that if one is able to do this often enough, one becomes a magnet for the funnies. “Funny things keep happening around me, inspiring me to write because I’m always keen on seeing the lighter side of life. This is not to say that my life is a bed of roses. I do have problems, I have eaten darkness at a time my heart craved for light… but I am one of those people who refuse to get sucked into a gloom and doom situation” she added.
MBD writes to help people laugh, or else see the beauty of things around them. Even at her darkest moments, she believes that if she is able to write something that would make people laugh, it would make her happy. In the end, being able to put a smile on someone’s face even at a time when she loses the ability to smile would make her day. And while she uses her own experiences, she also realizes these are some things that everyone else also experiences and hence resonates with the reader.
With regard to her future plans, MBD intends to publish a book, though as for now she already has three unpublished collections on different genres. MBD wishes to acknowledge her father who has always inspired her to write from a young age. In particular, her friends Priyam, Carol, Ann, Pia, Evan Kharsyntiew – her tech guru, Audrey, and her sister-in-law, Wansa, who inspired and kept pushing her to go public with her writings. MBD went on to say “Reminiscences of Shillong (Facebook) was the platform that helped me. All the comments in that group really encouraged me to slowly be at ease with allowing my write-ups to be public. Next, Shillong FTW, the meme page through its frequent features of my write-ups on their highly popular Instagram page, fetched more followers. Their sister page, The Abode of Shillong Poems again helped me in being more confident as a poet; it was highly supportive of my initial weak attempts at poetry. Having never ever written poetry in my life, it felt strange yet fulfilling to have a vent for emotions that had more depth than words I could describe them. Just for Memes, another meme page has also been really supportive of my writings. So while FB is mostly centered around people of my generation and older, Instagram has opened my eyes to a younger generation and in doing so it has taught me how to tweak my writing to cater to that crowd as well”.
For budding writers and bloggers, MBD’s message is “to make use of social media platforms. Since most of these would mostly have friends and family in them as members, you would get the right kind of support and encouragement any writer needs. You can take off from there once you are more confident as a writer. However, it is crucial for any wanna-be writer to develop a reading habit. You need to know and study different styles and techniques and the best way to do this is by broadening your library. Write whatever makes you happy”.
(The writer can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org)
By S Maxwell Lyngdoh