When words desert you…life gives you a story to write about…
I was given a laptop over the weekend by my better half. Using the desktop had meant I couldn’t prop myself on the bed and type away as and when I pleased; now that I was a writer (bloggers are also writers of some sort you know).
The message over the laptop said “Happy Blogging”. Now that his job required him to be away from home most of the time, once the children had gone to bed and I had the night to myself, I excitedly picked up my new possession… to do what I was meant to. Heading into my site, my fingers over the keyboard, I mused, “What was I going to write about?”. All that excitement and I felt my spirits fall. I had no idea, nothing that was bursting forth to be shared with the world. There are times when words spill out faster than I can type. Times when I find it hard to keep pace. But here I was, in the dead of night, with this tool in my hand waiting to be used and my mind was blank and so was my heart. Words had deserted me.
My heart and mind were empty. I just wasn’t feeling anything or thinking of anything that I could actually write about. Being stuck at home and not being able to venture out for motivation wasn’t helping either; the weather being still uncomfortably warm. There I was, staring at the blank screen in front of me with the internal self-created pressure to write , to reduce the guilt of having invested in a new lap-top and the deep need to prove to myself that it was the pain of sitting at the desktop that I had evaded which had kept me from writing as much as I really could. When I had stared for a few more endless moments, I decided to read instead, cozy on my bed, a soft quilt to keep me warm, 2 pillows for support behind me.
I read of the dried leaves of autumn, of buds and blooms, of goats and barns, of vegetable gardens and cocoons, of seas and fishermen, of changing seasons, things that we in the city only get to watch in movies, read of and then dream about. To some this was as real as our city roads, the wall of apartment blocks, the buzzing traffic and it was all just a blog away. I prayed for the ability to write and retired for the night dreaming of distant seas, yellow leaves and “fall” as the West sees it.
I drove to the office the next day, with a heavy heart. I had not written a word since a week.
I looked out of the window and saw more sand and desert grass. I had written everything that I possibly could. I had squeezed every ounce of creativity from these sands and now they had nothing more for me. As the car stopped at the traffic light, I looked outside the window and there was a sense of Deja-vu. It was the very same feeling I had had 10 years’ ago! 2007– That was the year we packed our bags and moved back to India, to the lap of nature. I had been so certain of the move. Getting out of the airport, I had been certain I wanted nothing more. I was finally home- the crowded streets where every inch had a story, the cows sitting on the center of the road forming a natural roundabout, the sun setting behind the thick cover of trees, the road-side hawkers, the crowds, every face like mine.
For unknown reasons or for reasons more than one, the country had not been able to hold me back then. Now ten years later, I still do not know the reason I left. It was probably that every face I saw was like mine and yet I was a stranger, where street dogs roamed the streets as freely as man, making it difficult to take a walk, where family that I thought would come to see me as soon as I had returned, had got accustomed to living without me and where friendly neighbors believed invitations were totally uncalled for; challenging for foreigners who were used to living in fortresses whose doors opened with much planning and thought.
I left India and returned to this land 5 months later. At the job interview, when I was asked why I had wanted to come back, I had said with absolutely zero hesitation, ” I miss the sand and the sun. I don’t think I belonged to the green“. I had convinced them because I was convinced. I knew why I was back and I was here to stay. They loved the confidence, my lack of uncertainty. How could I be doubtful? This was where I belonged, where I had been raised, where I had had my best memories, where every street was one where I had walked with my mother until she passed away in 2006. People here knew ” ME”. I wasn’t just one of the many people who had lost a parent. I wasn’t just one of the millions. I had an identity here.
I bagged the job with a hike in pay much higher than when I left, 5 months earlier. There was no reason to regret. The move had been a break and it did me good.
The taxi came to a halt and so did my thoughts. I got out of the cab, crossed over the little grass patch to my office, a brown building in the middle of the desert, thankful for another chance to come back, to start all over again and make a life in a country where you never become a citizen, no matter how long you live or how much you love the country. I hadn’t for a moment regretted my decision to return. I was glad we had followed our heart.
Now, it was time to follow the heart again. The heart had gotten habituated to this place and needed to get away to revive itself. Ten years had passed since our return and it felt like it was time to move away; so that I could return again. You can never really go away from where you belong with the idea of not returning.
Have you ever just followed your heart and taken a decision? Have you ever reversed a decision when you felt it wasn’t feeling right or have you not changed your decision because you worried about what others would say? Have you had writers’ block? What do you do when you can’t write? Share your thoughts in the comments section. Would love to hear from you’ll.
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