Of Cluttering and Letting go.

Yay! I managed to declutter this much paper today!  This bunch of paper is finally, finally going to go out of my house! 

What?  You want to know why I am dancing for joy?  You think that this is not worth rejoicing over?

Ah, my friend,  it is obvious that you are not one of us: hoarders and clutterers. You have no idea how painful it is to take a decision on what to throw out of an already over crowded home.  You don’t have to cringe every time a friend calls and asks, “ So what are you doing?”

“ I’m cleaning my house,trying to declutter some stuff”, you say for the umpteenth time.

“Still! Didn’t you like start decluttering some decades ago?”

Now, there are  clutterers and clutterers. Some reigning high up on thrones of multiple categories and lowly ones who have just managed to be eligible because they can’t bear to get rid of a few shoe boxes of stuff.

The purebloods  are those that never get rid of anything but most of us fall somewhere in between. Someone may cling to all the shoes they’ve ever owned;  someone else to clothes. For me it is paper.

Books, notepads, bills, newspapers; all settle down comfortably at my place, knowing it could be their forever home.

And being a writer adds a million scraps to the paper population.  Scraps that contain seeds of stories and poems that refused to be written in a notebook.

What if I need it tomorrow ?

What if it is something important?

What if I finally find out what this cryptic line that I scribbled means?

It’s enough to drive me to ice Cream or beer I tell you!

And that is why I am dancing today ( and of course having more beer)  because I finally managed to push a pile of paper out of the door!

 

 

 

Little Things

Today I had an hour between my two sessions of Creative Writing at Just Books Library, at Siddhachal. It was not long enough to go home, but enough to have a quick lunch.

I decided to go to Little Bite, a restaurant in Amrapali Arcade, Vasant Vihar. It has been one of my favourite eating places for years. Their pav bhaji is really amazing and their filter coffee is pretty decent.  But that is not why I am writing this post.

tapan 23Today, I was the only person in the restaurant; the occupants of the other table having just left. The two cleaning boys were having a conversation.

“Did you clean the table that was just vacated?” asked one of them. (His name was Tapan, as I got to know later.)

“Yes”, came the surly answer.

Tapan went to make sure and found that it had not been cleaned properly.

“This is not clean”, he said. “Even the seat is dirty. There is food on the seat.”

“Then why don’t you clean it yourself?”

Without a word, Tapan took a cloth and proceeded to clean the table and seat thoroughly. Since the restaurant did a brisk home delivery business as well, the manager sat outside in the open part of the restaurant and we were in the dining area. The waiters too seemed to having a conversation with the manager, so there was not one in here besides the two boys and me.

There was no one to watch Tapan as he cleaned the place, but that didn’t stop him from doing a good job. This reminded me of a poem by Patience Strong, “The Salt of the Earth” which tells of people who just go ahead and do what has to be done, without expecting praise or reward. And it got me thinking.

We always praise people who do great things in life. People who show courage and dedication in tough situations like wars etc. But what about the normal everyday people who do the small things that make a difference?

Things that hold the fabric of life together; small things that often go unnoticed. What Tapan did may not have won a battle but it made sure that the mood of the next customer did not get spoiled because of a dirty seat. Otherwise who knows how far that bad mood would have travelled around, affecting other people’s lives as well.

Thank you Tapan, for doing your job well!

monday musings

This post is part of the Monday Musings hosted by Everyday Gyaan.

#WednesdayVerses : Words

Words

When I decided to publish my book of poems, “Who Shall I be today?” , I had a hard time trying to figure our the first poem. That is when I wrote this, because to me words are my life. Today being world Poetry day, it seemed apt to post this, specially when the theme matched that of  #WednesdayVerses

Words,
My life, my love,
My constant companion,
My comfort, my joy.

Words,
Adding magic to my world,
Breathing life into feelings,
Helping me fly.

Words,
Helping me discover
Hidden facets to myself,
Defining who I am.

Words,
Defining relationships,
Giving meaning to life,
Capturing precious moments.

Words,
In poems, in songs,
In status updates, advice given,
All around.

Words,
Hurting, wounding,
Never letting me forget,
Never letting go.

Words…………..

Talking to kids about patriotism.

 

She sat on the kitchen platform, legs dangling over the edge. I moved about putting dishes away and generally pottering around.

“Mamma,” she said suddenly, “Do you know what I want to become when I grow up?”

I looked at her serious seven year old face. I was as used to these sudden questions as I was used to her silences when she pondered and turned things over in her mind.

“What do you want to become?” I asked

“A patriot!” she announced gleefully!

“And what will you do when you become a patriot?” I smiled at her innocent enthusiasm.

“When there is a war, I will become a soldier and fight for my country. Then I will win medals and tell everyone that I am a patriot.”

“And what kind of wars are you going to fight?”

She looked at me in confusion, “What do you mean mamma?  I will go up in the aeroplane and throw bombs on our enemies.”

“And who are these enemies?” I prodded.

“All those people who want to take our country away from us. I will shoot them and I will kill them and then our country will be safe.”

“And where do these enemies live?” I was surprised at her thoughts because this was something we had never talked about before and I was sure neither had my husband.

“In foreign countries like Pakistan and China.”

“Sweetheart,” I said now, “do you know that there is also another way to be a patriot? And that a lot of our enemies live in India itself?”

Her eyes rounded with wonder as she thought about it. “Really?” she asked. “Who are the enemies who live in the country?”

“People who do not bother about keeping the country clean. People who hurt other people because they belong to another religion or caste. People who do not allow children to go to school. People who make fun of people just because they are different from us. People who are cruel to animals. People who destroy the environment by cutting trees and forests.”

“But how can I kill all of them?” she sounded really upset.

I hugged her. My poor innocent baby. “Darling, you don’t have to kill them. In fact I hope you never ever kill anyone!”

“Then how can I become a patriot?”

“You can become a patriot by loving your country. And by loving every single living thing in your country. Be kind to people, animals, plants, the earth. Don’t refuse to make friends with someone just because he or she is a Muslim, or Christian or Hindu or any other religion. Don’t make fun of those who are poor. Treat them with the same respect you would treat the Prime Minister because that is what democracy is all about, everyone being equal.”

She sat in deep thought for some time. Then she wriggled down from her perch and said, “Okay, I am going now.”

“Where are you off to?”

“I am going to become a patriot. I don’t have to wait till I am grown up to become one no?”

“No, you can start right now.”

“Okay. So I am going to start right now. I am going to clear up my room.”