The Writing Table

She got her first writing table when she was 11. The fact that it was her own, made much of a difference. It was her first first-hand possession. Before this, she had the cycle but of course, it was her cousin Didi’s (sister’s), something that she did not have much problem with, as she loved Didi a lot. And this was also different from her beloved turned monstrous bed-table, which wasn’t able to match the size of her growing body. It was becoming difficult to fit into that bed-table. Just the other day, it had eaten her frock. This writing table was special. It smelled like it was brand-new, which made her so overwhelmed that she decided to finish her homework early that day.

 

Unlike Nirali (her classmate at school), perhaps writing was not in her blood. Her parents were not writers- dad was a businessman and Mom was a housewife. She couldn’t write those little rhyming poems, nor she could read as fluent as Nirali. All she knew that she loved spending that half hour of her day writing in her diary. Finishing her homework, she sat on the revolving chair and opened the diary. Trying to adjust the chair, she realised that as the revolving chair was old, its wheels had a lot of dust, it had troubles moving properly. She took it forward, then backwards, then forward. Then tried to take it off her mind. She wrote a sentence and then the thought came to her mind again. Unable to cope with the thought, she decided to clean the wheels. Finding a spare tumbler in the bathroom, Ananya filled a little water within and carried a piece of cloth with her. She turned the chair upside down and began the task of cleaning, one wheel at a time.

 

“God knows, what these wheels have gone through. Such ugly and smelly stuff.” she thought to herself. Once she got done, she sat on the chair and checked. “Perfect!” she thought. And finally opened her book.

 

“Ananya!” Mom called out from the kitchen.
 “What is it, Mom?!” Ananya asked being a little irritable for being interrupted.
“Will you get me some curry leaves from Rekha aunty’s house downstairs?”
“No!!!”
“What did you say?”
“Yes. Going in a minute.”

 

Even though Rekha Aunty had long ago authorised this act of picking curry leaves from her backyard, Ananya would always tip-toe like a thief. She’d climb on the wall, pick a few leaves and then quietly move back. But whenever she’d turn back, find Rekha Aunty right behind her, scaring her to the core yet with a smiling face.

 

“Plucked all that you needed?”
“Yes, aunty.”
“What is Mom making today?”
“O that I did not ask. I guess some chutney.”
“Very well”

 

She started towards her stairs. Two stairs at a time, whenever she was very excited. She was finally going to get back to her diary! She opens the door and rushes to her room, to realise that Mom had disturbed her newly acquired possession.

 

“Mom! What are you doing on my writing table!”
“Can’t you see? I am ironing clothes.”
“But Mom, this is my writing table and you just…”
“This is also for the purpose of iron clothes.”
“What? Says who! Papa got this so that I can write in here!! And anyway, I was writing over there. How could you just move everything off!”
“Not like you were doing anything useful. I see you have already finished your homework. In that case, you should begin preparing for the semester exams coming next week. Take up your book, sit and recite on the bed.”

 

There it was! Her plan of writing in her diary shattered, right on the first day. And 25 years later, when she’d publish her first book after facing 4 years of rejection, from uncountable publishers, she would sit to write this story. The bittersweet story of her first writing table.

 


I’m beginning baby steps towards fiction. Do you like this short story? Let me know.

Memoir: My Love Story with English Language

You know how I actually came to learn English? I studied in a school where speaking in English was compulsory and if you didn’t, you could be punished or fined. But within our groups, speaking in English was a taboo. None of us was too confident, hence it was awkward to start with. Whoever spoke a little more English than others, was sure to be made fun of.
“Achha.. Bohot Angrezi aa gai hai?” (Have you learnt to speak English now?)
English was the only paper which I looked forward to preparing and appearing. I did not like the casual attitude that people had for the subject; making it appear like it was easy and it didn’t matter. For me, it was a different science to work on English. I’ve had similar (but a little lesser) affection for other languages too. Although I always scored the highest in English, speaking in the language was a different ballgame. Most grammar teachers were very strict and child-beaters for some reason. So there was nothing to learn over there.

 

I used to write diaries since 4th grade. In my absolutely rubbish English (which I didn’t care for) mixed with Hindi words, writing the diary was the best utilisation of an hour in the day. Also, I had forbidden everyone from reading my diary, and it worked because I didn’t have any siblings. So this was like a royal secret. Today, these are highly embarrassing pieces of my heritage that I have to protect to death.

Continue reading “Memoir: My Love Story with English Language”

Why Does a Girl Keep Talking to a Guy After Rejecting Him?

Quite frankly. She’s silly. No, she really is. 

She expects him to keep that feeling aside and focus on the beautiful friendship they share. She should stop talking to him as soon as possible because she should know that once she ‘rejects a guy’ she is breaking his heart and/or ego and hence she should not expect friendship or decency from the guy anymore. By doing this, she is giving him wrong hints, confusing him and worse- ruining his life.  Continue reading “Why Does a Girl Keep Talking to a Guy After Rejecting Him?”

How to Write in Chaos

How to Write in Chaos
I’ve been a serial stalker of good places to write. Over the years, I’ve been obsessed so much about these literary camps and writer’s retreat that I know when are these camps happening and where. And I could really compile a list of those, but some other time. I found these camps terribly over-priced for the profession that they are catering too. Rs. 18000 for 3 days, Rs. 54000 for a week, so and so. These are there in the best of the locations in the country, they provide with some guides/mentors and fellow writers too. But perhaps you could do for cheaper, on your own, if travel and writing were your purposes.
I understand the feeling of wanting to run away. Apart from the fact that it sounds fancy, we haven’t otherwise been taught how to deal with chaos. Nor have we been taught to deal with solitude. That’s why we think that running away might help us write or do things we truly want to do. It might truly be the case. But you need to see how much bandwidth and energy you have to keep running.

But My Main Point is: Why Run Away?

If you have a terribly tormenting family (physical and mental violence), have no friend’s place where you can hangout, no public places or cafe; and absolutely miserable situations- you can run away. But otherwise (which is the case with most of us) you don’t need to run away.
Saadat Hassan Manto, one of the greatest short story writer of the century, used to write in the chaos of a Bombay chali (slum house).
From the Play, “Manto Se Miliye”
A film about him is being made currently with Nawazuddin Siddiqui playing the lead and directed by Nandita Das. There would be kids roaming around, his wife calling out, and all sorts of chaos possible. At times, he would get worked up but most of the times, he was in love with this chaos. It actually helped him write better.
I’m lucky to have a senior Gujarati journalist as a friend and it’s absolutely inspiring how he works. He travels from Mahemdavad to Ahmedabad (2 hours in train round trip) and he spends that time in writing. The chatter of the neighbours, the infinite distractions around and the deafening sound of the train- nothing interferes with him. In a strange way, it somehow stimulates him to write. He has been a journalist for 21 years, a writer of 4 books and has a publishing house too.
The very idea is thrilling. If you look at the history, the greatest of the writers have transformed their individual misery or the circumstances they were in, to be a boon for their writing. Writers have written during-after-about Wars, Genocides, Rapes, Poverty, Emergency, Dying, Diseases, and what not!
Imagine, if chaos could not distract you, wouldn’t you be unstoppable? Plus there’s so much your writing can derive from the crowd, people, and observations.

List of Places That Could Work Out

  • Corner in the House
  • Terrace
  • Public Transport
  • Gardens
  • Cafes, Restaurants, Clubs
  • Friend’s Abode
  • Libraries/Reading Rooms
  • Beaches, Hill-top, Mountains, River Bank, Pool Side
  • Choose Your Most Productive Time
Some people say, “I am a Morning Person” and other say, “I’m a Night Owl”. Whatever works best for you, should be the designated time for your writing. Squeeze a space, make a habit and keep going on. Turn the WiFi off (if your writing doesn’t need it) and see the magic. I’m writing one blog a day since Mar 1, 2017. For a person who couldn’t even write one post a month, this was pretty much overwhelming, to begin with. But it worked.
For a Fact: Amitabh Bachchan wrote his first blog on 17th Apr 2008 and has written one blog each day for 9 years! Basically, if you can make it a habit, nothing like it.
However, it is difficult to do this on Day 1. You may have to talk to your loved ones and teach them how to respect your writing. You may have to turn your notifications off and focus on just that. It happens slowly and gradually. But it begins with accepting the chaos, and not getting irritated with it. Initially, it could seem to be as difficult as letting a fly sit on your face and doing nothing about it. With time, it may get easier.

Happy Writing. Let me know if this helped or didn’t. I’m also in the same pursuit. 

It’s Okay

It’s Okay
It takes ages to accept that… It’s Okay.
Guilty pleasures are okay. Pleasures without guilt too.
Remembering is okay. Forgetting too.
Hating is okay. Forgiving too.
Words are okay. Silence too.
Socialising is okay. Solitude too.
Writing is okay. Not being able to write too.
Seeking is okay. Finding too.
Tweeting is okay. Not tweeting too.
Loving is okay. Loveless too.
Letting go is okay. Clinging on too.
TV is okay. Book too.
What’s this race that you are trying to run in?
Walking is okay. Sleeping too.
Living is okay. Existing too.
Keep Breathing.

City Bhaskar Originals: Save The Boy Child/ Beta Bachao

City Bhaskar Originals: Save The Boy Child/ Beta Bachao

An advertising company in Delhi came out with a beautiful video recently. It is called ‘Save the Boy Child’. We have seen for years how ‘Save the Girl Child’ campaign has worked. Don’t you think we need more? ‘Save the Boy Child’ campaign focuses on nurturing the Boys to be respectful to women, not think of them as their property. It starts from home: How the father treats the mother, how the parents treat the siblings- brother and sister, and how the boys. Boys need to respect their mothers for being homemakers or working women.

‘Save the Boy Child’ from becoming rapists and assaulters. It is up to the parents to teach the boys not to rape or be violent. If they see the father hitting the mother, it has a strong impact. The point is to love them and explain to them how to respect someone’s love and lack of love. Children learn from what you do, more than what you say. Children pick up influences of the gender dynamics at their own home and apply them to their relationships and society. It’s a fact that’Save the Girl Child’ campaign is important because women can address their problems better, anyway. But sometimes, we need to flip the bottle saying that it’s not the women’s problem to fix: it’s men who need to change their behaviours and actions, not women. And it is too late to wait until a boy becomes a man.
City Bhaskar Aarti Nair

Continue reading “City Bhaskar Originals: Save The Boy Child/ Beta Bachao”

When Hypocrisy Isn’t as Bad

India is a land of breaking news. And now it’s not just news channels. Thanks to twitter, we don’t even need news channels anymore. We make news out of who tweeted what. By ‘we’, I mean the non-troll and non-lechers community, whether right or left leaning but people who have opinions, get outraged for the wrong being said and sharing it out there. In the last two days, there were two-three such things. One of them being:

Narendra Modi said, “Our Muslim sisters should get justice too (on triple talaq)”

People said, Narendra Modi talking about Muslim sisters is so ironical. He abandoned his wife.

Snapchat CEO allegedly said that “Snapchat is not looking to expand in India because India is a poor country and the app is for rich people.”

There was such a huge outrage that Indians began uninstalling Snapchat and downrating it. Some idiots also confused it with Snapdeal and uninstalled the app. “How dare he call us poor?”

Yesterday, I began reading Givler Ray’s book, “Don’t Get Fooled!” The book is about Cognitive Biases and Fallacies (now don’t get scared and run away, I’ll explain what it is). A Fallacy is a mistaken belief, generally based on an unsound argument. Argumentation doesn’t mean to argue but it means to have sound reasoning behind what you say and believe. We tend to make fallacies based on our biases about things. Our arguments, negotiations and relationships can be more swift and peaceful if we keep our biases and fallacies. The first step to being a rational person is to learn to keep our biases aside.

Continue reading “When Hypocrisy Isn’t as Bad”