Engineering Myself

Akshay Gajria
Published in
16 min readFeb 27, 2024

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An individual is a process: complex, tightly integrated.

— Carlo Rovelli¹

(Content Warning: Self-Harm)

1.

Time finds a way of making its presence felt. I’ll advice against having an old clock with gears in your writing space. It ticks and tocks loud enough — especially loud in the silence of the page — marking each second that swings by, dancing alongside the cursor that mocks, a continuous reminder of the time shrinking between the now and your three-hour-away deadline.

My task wasn’t a long one either. Just three sentences. A short story I’d won a prize for was being published and it needed an author bio. I hate writing these; it raises the uncomfortable question of who I am? How do I to capture myself — the whole fog of me, the fragments of my body, mind and soul, each warring for a place to be known, read, seen — in three or four lines? It’s like cupping water from a cloud.

My writing mentor advised me to always keep a bio boring. Simple facts, mundane details only; it’s not a space for creativity. I stick to that advice, thinking if years later I read it, at least I won’t cringe like I do when I read my older drafts. Over time, I’ve built a standard format. It usually begins with the line:

Akshay Gajria is a Mumbai-based storyteller, writer, writing coach, and an engineer.

While looking at examples of author bios online, I found a blog by T R Robinson where she says ‘a bio is one of several available opportunities through which an author may establish a connection with their readers.’² My readers? This would be the first time someone beyond my sphere of influence will be reading my work. Who will they be? And did it matter? The stories I wrote were for my entertainment first. That’s how I read stories as a child, more interested in the characters and the worlds and the way they lived. I imagined their authors to be these musty old people in libraries, smoking long pipes and writing on paper older than them.

When I was 10, I came across Christopher Paolini. He had written Eragon when he was 17 and published it at 21. So young! If he could do it at that age, maybe I could too?

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