Or had I stopped listening? Two months. New city. No writing!
It’s that stage in life, when you’re actually living a dream. You’ve got a job, you live by yourself, you’ve done up your home…
You’re also paying bills, cleaning up, cooking, running behind the handyman to stop the rain from flooding the house, learning, finally, that income is not elastic, hoping that it was…
It’s a super package. But you’re still blank. And any attempt that you make to write, is in this pathetic second person voice.
At first, I blamed the films and books that have rambled on and on about the feeling of being ‘new girl in the city’, about Mumbai being city of dreams, about how every day here is a struggle… They are all true. But when they have all been given so much expression, by so many people and mediums, there seems nothing left to think about.
It is convenient to fall into the cliché, and I told myself, yes, I feel the same way so I must be doing things right.
But this mind is not going to stay passive for long. Especially, when you’re pretty much your only company. It drives you crazy that you have no way to write it down… and you wonder… wasn’t writing something I just did? It comes naturally. It was taken for granted.
Who would think not being able to write would affect me so much? What was stopping me? After spending three days on the couch, staring out of the window at the pigeons that poop all over my balcony (that’s all they ever do, oh! The cleaning is a pain!), I realised how densensitised I had become.
All through media school, you are exposed to issues and problems. You begin to see how badly screwed up your country really is. You sift through the obvious and reach areas that are barely spoken about… And that makes you think. As horrible as it sounds, you are inspired by the deprivation. You want to do something about it. Research, write, shake up the roots… that keeps you going.
But, what happens when you start working and you actually have the opportunity to do it all? Why do you stop?
What happens is, these are all stories that land on your screen every day. They need to be edited, processed and published. That’s your job. So if I were to cringe every time someone went without food, when someone died, when someone’s home is taken away, what good can I be?
The easy thing to do then, is to ignore it. I just look at the grammar, the language, the punctuation, the style. And my job’s done. Bring on the next one.
That’s the easy thing to do. That’s not the right thing to do.
Worse still is doing all this, in this great city of struggles.
Every day, I see at least one person who not only makes me feel grateful for the life I lead, but also makes me feel ashamed.
The little girl selling accessories on the train.
The boys, not more than my brother’s age, with that distant look in their eyes, begging me to buy something from them.
The mother walking barefoot with her daughter in a crisp school uniform and polished shoes.
The mentally-ill woman who doesn’t bother to even clothe herself.
And me. In my pretty world. With my pretty problems like pigeon poop!
When I can’t face it, I just turn away and get off at the next station. It’s easy. It isn’t right.
But, something made me write today… although this post is full of voice changes and (…), and in most places, absolute discontinuity, it reminds me that, perhaps somewhere, I haven’t been fully densensitised.
That though my creativity is as good as dead at the moment, I will write again.
Not because the suffering of others inspires me. But because my own problems are too insignificant to come in the way of what I love doing the most – writing!