Wednesday, 18 November 2015

What does one write about, this morning?



The auspicious Chhath sun has just risen. It’s sneaking into my drawing room, making itself comfortable on the sofa, touching the console’s marble and tapping its fingertips on the dried flower arrangement sitting in the corner. The birds have woken up too, to the sound of firecrackers going off in a nearby park, where a make-shift pool has been built for the blessed dip. Through the light mist that is typical of early winters in Delhi, I can hear chirpy school children crossing my window to go from the Press Colony to the main road bus stand; kicking pebbles, playing spit, pulling out leaves or swinging their oiled plaits. Some, of course, are dragging their feet and lagging behind. Sleep-lagged, perhaps, or with nothing new to look forward to in the day except for broken desks, torn books, dirty dark blue uniforms and truant teachers. They don’t even want to take their hands out of the pockets to wipe their noses … 

Another celebratory firecracker goes off in a distance, making the thin layer of holiday dust at Buddha's feet quiver with ecstasy. The Sun is being blessed with our prayers today. Or is it the other way around? It does seem a different shade of orange but that could be my imagination!

I have folded my legs on to the dining chair, tucking in the toes which are the first to feel the nip, and am looking around at a very still house. It seems to be resting, taking a breather and breathing in leftover lingering fragrances of cologne and baby talc, Bournvita and toasted bread, and half a tin of Cherry Blossom on each Bata shoe. Breathing in like me. The two hours of madness that every working morning means have melted into a quiet which usually spreads gracefully into every known and unknown corner of my house. And mind. Usually. 

Except, the bachelor neighbor is cooking his lunch and hitting the steel ladle on the thick kadhai with gusto. I’ve heard he’s taken to cycling early mornings. Separated by two backyards, can’t really sniff to tell what’s cooking out there. An infant is incessantly crying in the flat above his. This curly-haired boy has a very nasal daadi and I will hear her voice any second now, asking him Chhonu, kya hua, Chhonu? His parents must have left for work by now. But her house is not empty. 

My mind is empty but for one nagging wife - What does one write about, when there is nothing to write about?

I should probably finish the last two slices of apple on the black-and-white Melamine plate before me. That might help as I wait for answers. Or something, anything. They get brown with time, those slices, thanks to the iron. I will eat them soon, after forking the triangular banana corners which he’s lovingly left for me and certainly before the box of Khasta Rewri trying to seduce me with its gur glamour right next to the healthy plate. My uncle said they are from the best shop in Doon. One bite and I knew he wasn’t lying. I am so sure my dining chair can feel the weighty difference post Diwali. My belt most definitely can. Is it making a creaking, stretching, leathery sound? One can’t tell when the silence within the home is so loud. 

The firecrackers have stopped, though, and the birds are finally singing louder.  The fridge is going drrrrr-grrrr. The keyboard click-click. The brooming bhaiya is at it in the back lane, making piles of leaves where he should be, ideally, picking them. They still use wheelbarrows which must be extinct in many countries! Suddenly one day smoke will drift into my kitchen window. Yes, that’s when I know he has stealthily set fire to the small piles. I’ll have to switch on the noisy exhaust fan then. Oh, you missed hearing the doorbell ring when the newspaper guy came to collect his 250 a moment ago. Or the conversation which was all about safeguarding our respective ten-ners. It remains the same, you know, month after month, and I am not the one who gives in, mostly. I like change in my wallet. It’s good, nay great, for times when you are short of time…  

It’s funny to feel so free that you can hear the clock tick, when there is much work waiting to be done. Is this a kind of freedom? To just remain in one place, gently erasing from the mind’s eye all deadlines marked in red? Must be plain laziness, really, or shirking of duties, or mithai-induced lethargy. Blame it on the sugar, though I shrug to say I don’t know. One knows so little, sometimes.

What does one write about, when there is nothing to write about? Hm. I guess one just writes, you know, no matter how pointless the piece. 

Consciously Created Pointlessness... is quite freeing. I’ll have a khasta rewri now. And probably put my feet back on the ground, to get up and get set and get going. 

Probably.




43 comments:

  1. There is no doubt that you write well but this piece is just like someone narrating my morning scene today :) Enjoy your khasta rewri as this article is just Khasta too :) & as am writing this comment birds have started chirping too :)

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    1. Ah, is it now? What a lovely coincidence! :)
      Thanks for reading.

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    2. Yep :) Isiliye I wrote you have written the same what was happening here :) Amit

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  2. Basically, you are saying that you don't do laundry on Wednesdays, right? :)
    This was a lovely post.

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    1. Basically that. Yes. :D
      Thanks a lot, Rickie. Glad you liked it.

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  3. I was there with you this morning with the fridge going drrr grrr. Amazing how you make the mundane so vivid.

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    1. Good to know you were with me when you were reading this. I had nothing but the scene around me to talk about. Many thanks, Alka.

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  4. You have earned your khasta rewris! Such a lovely word picture. I can almost feel the breeze through the curtains, i can almost see a steaming mug of chai that you are reaching for, with your toes tucked under you. And I really want to know what the bachelor neighbour was cooking! Plus, this is really a tutorial on "What to write when there is nothing to write about"!

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    1. I have an RWA GBM to attend soon. For you, Lakshmi, I will ask what was cooking.
      So happy that you could visualize what I described. It is like having you over, but not quite. :)
      I enjoyed writing and sharing this. It freed me of the burden of 'Edit before you share.'
      I just shared!

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  5. "To just remain in one place, gently erasing from the mind’s eye all deadlines marked in red?"
    You drew me right into that drawing room. I can sniff the smoke from the leaves. They burn them not-so-stealthily here. You have brought these little things to life so evocatively. And may I share the rewris with you? No weight watching here ;)

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    1. Good to have you over, one way or the other. :) I hope I can have you here in person too someday, Chakra. I will share rewris, and more, whenever that happens.
      Thank you for reading, friend.

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  6. What a lovely piece....so vivid and alive!

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    1. Thank you, dear Kajal. Fantastic to see you here!

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  7. Good one, Sakshi. There is definitely a point in such pointlessness. Like the infinite that is part of the nothingness. Or the other way round.

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    1. There you give me more food for thought.
      Thanks, Beloo.

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  8. Such a sublime read, I savored each sentence as the words drew the pictures for me. Very expressive and real. Miss these things in the flats occasionally. Felt as if I was reading as you narrated it, sitting in the chair next to yours but I can't tuck in my feet, definitely not on a dining chair ;)

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    1. Can see you liked reading this, Inderpreet. Many thanks!
      Come over. Let us actually sit together and talk and read and write ... and tuck our toes in. :)
      Good you stopped by!

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  10. Beautiful narration, Sakshi. It created an image in my mind. This is how I pictured it - an opening scene of a movie or an episode where this protagonist is narrating her routine while being in the routine (scene). Everything else is either in slow motion or paused and only this character is in motion, pointing to every act described in the first para. Add some haze to the general setting. Have some instrumental music in the background, probably violin, and you have a very intriguing beginning!
    Such is the power of narration. Your narration :)

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    1. I read your comment three times and each time I got happy. :) This one's to remember!
      Thank you so very much, Prateek.

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  11. Wonderful read, Sakshi! See, this beautiful piece comes alive when a writer (thinks) has nothing to write. Loved the imagery you have created.

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    1. That thinking was worth it, I guess. I enjoyed the process of writing this, and now I'm enjoying the reactions. Thanks for dropping in, Tarang, and for liking this piece.

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  12. First time here and loved reading how you write!

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    1. Hi. Thank you, HW!
      I hope to see you here more often.

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  13. I just loved loved loved this piece, at it's candid best. And reading through, I couldn't brush one thing off my mind, so I am just gonna ask - Please write a book someday :)

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    1. Oh my lovely, someday most definitely!
      Thank you so much for reading, Akanksha.

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  14. This happens in my life often. It has been happening oftener than ever. Not related to writing. But about spending time. I suppose, taking a break at times, to surrender to the helplessness is good, for it sets your mind working- thinking for something productive to while way time. And probabilities are more that one ends up with a fitting solution, perhaps even something that might change the course of one's life.
    I loved this piece. Very subtle, yet so sublime.

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    1. You've put the sentiment very beautifully too, Maliny. The 'perhaps even something that might change the course of one's life' is so loaded with possibilities it excites even by the slightest mention of it.
      Wonderful that you read me. Many thanks.

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  15. Now this I like. Very much! I'd kind of stopped reading your blog because of the plethora or book reviews.... I'm not only modest, but also endearingly honest! :)

    Why is the bachelor neighbour at home? And half a tin of Cherry Blossom on each shoe? Wow - that;s some hefty consumption for Reckitts... ( my old clients ). Did I tell you about my attempt to modernize the Cherry Blossom filling machine? No? Well, I'll have to write that up one day.

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    1. You don't have to read 'em book reviews if you don't wanna read 'em book reviews, Slo bro!
      I want to know about your Cherry Blossom lab invention. How cheaply you sell your wares in another's shop. Every single time. Noticed? (PS - I am not only honest, but very honest.)
      Thanks for liking this!

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  16. This creating pointless post is so soothing to the mind and gives a sense of peace. Love your lyrical description of the morning raga in Delhi and could well be the starting-fabulous-for a novel. I just got sunk in this post. Mesmerizing.

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    1. Morning raga in Delhi. :) Lovely!
      Thanks, Vishal.

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  17. Liked this Sakshi. It's kind of slow and meandering just like the sunlight lazily coming in through the window.

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    1. Just like that, yes.
      Thanks for reading. :)

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  18. Wonderful narration, Sakshi. You have the knack of making your readers glued to your writings. Loved it. :)

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    1. Oh gosh! That was so good to hear. Thank you. :)

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  19. You write so well. I have read of lot of blog posts on your site since yesterday and I felt every word of your posts is so captivating. I couldn't even blink my eyes for a second! Feeling inspired :)

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    1. Wow! Thanks, Mansi.
      Hope you haven't had enough of me already, over two days. Keep coming back, will you? :D

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  20. Even a mundane post sounds so serene. Beautifully written.

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