I have had a rather emotional attachment with Himal Southasian magazine.
I used to write poetry and essays even during the school years but my dream of being published somewhere remained unfulfilled for many years after I left school. In 2008, my brother was already internet savvy and had discovered the virtue of blogging. He then advised me to do the same. He opened my gmail account, created a blogger blog and mailed me the email id and password. Bang! suddenly I was not only a writer but editor and publisher too. This enthusiasm didn't last for long because soon it turned into something of an online archive where I would keep piling the material but no one would come from outside my circle and read my works.
Suddenly able to read Indian magazines like Frontline and Outlook, a new horizon had opened for me after I joined a medical school near the Indian border in Bhairahawa. Those were my real formative years when I grabbed anything other than textbooks and sat to read for hours at end on days other than pre-examination and examination time.
Himal Southasian was one among the magazines subscribed by the college. One day, I was so riveted by a story that I wrote a brief response and mailed it to the editors. On a subsequent issue, it was published and my joy was boundless. For a person with the blog readership of less than half a dozen, the name being PRINTED and circulated all over South Asia and even outside, it was a moment of euphoria. Reading again and again the slightly edited version of my response, I came to a discovery: my writings, even though brief, made sense to others. That discovery stretched to something more: I can write workable English, and when I imagined myself as a writer, I was not deluding myself completely.
That was followed by two or three similar letters to editor and the thrill of seeing my name in an accomplished paper never came down. Three of those letters can be read here.
So Himal Southasian was the first ever work of print to have faith on my writing. With that confidence at hand, I started writing and sending to other online and print magazines and newspapers. The second to have faith in me was Asia Times Online (AToL) which unbelievably published my combo review of Avatar and Three Idiots, my first ever full-length article to be published anywhere. Sadly, I could not retrieve that piece later because AToL has long suspended its subscribed version (atimes.net) which had a section called 'Speaking Freely' that entertained guest authors.