Tag Archives: writing

The Nest

There’s a pigeon in my kitchen. She’s a lovely grey, if there’s even such a thing as lovely grey. It’s not silver, it’s just a clean warm earthy grey, accented by highlights and shadows from the sun catching her feathers. She frequents my kitchen window, and there’s a twelve-twigged hint of an upcoming nest on the parapet outside. I presume they have something to do with each other.

But today, for the first time, I find her inside my kitchen. She’s crossed the windowpane, a feat no other bird of this bashful species (or any species for that matter) has dared to attempt before. Somehow the birds always know to stay out of houses, even when windows and doors are left ajar. I imagine the thought of the imminent confinement scares them away.

And yet, and yet, Pidge the pigeon (I have decided to name her) is in my kitchen, stomping on the cold black granite with her orange claws, pacing up and down the kitchen counter in a hurry, like she has important business to attend to on the top of the fridge, but this can hardly wait for the important business that needs attention on the opposite end by the sink.

She stops for a breath every now and then, her neck’s purple green plumage vibrant in the sunlight, and cocks her head up to look at me. I must seem quite unthreatening to her, for she gets back to her many businesses immediately, marching across my kitchen counter, no time to waste.

***

I’m back in the kitchen. There’s the human standing at the doorway and looking at me. She lets out a low gasp at first, but I look at her and calm her down. She switches on the fan, and continues standing at the doorway and staring at me. I can tell she’s scared, but also curious. We’ve seen each other before, but always across the windowpane. This is the first time we are on the same side.

She smiles at me, and I can’t bear it. I think she’s named me in her head. The other birds warned me this often happens when a bird crosses the windowpane in the presence of a human. This, or death. I’m glad it’s the former.

My heart beats faster in my chest, and I don’t know what to do. I’m walking from one end to another frantically, trying to get my thoughts in order. I look at her, time and again. She seems calm now, her beautiful brown skin smooth as the insides of a worm on a warm summer afternoon, her black eyes darting across the room at things she’s worried I will kick over as I scurry around, trying my best to buy time.

She leaves momentarily, and I make the most of it. I rush to the clothes stand, and peck the fragrant pink towel as it dries, picking up each strand of her delicious black hair from it. There’s thirty six in all, and I carry them lovingly back to my developing nest, ready to spend the day weaving them in. They are weaker and finer than twigs, but smell like mogra some days and rose on others.

One day, when it’s done, I’ll invite her in.

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4 o’clock on a Sunday

My pot of ink fills the brink,
as I continue to walk and think,
around shiny stationery I have purchased,
from the money that I had saved,

to make an atmosphere such and such,
that one wouldn’t have to think too much,
before the next blockbuster rhyme,
would magically occupy the ruled line,

and so tragically would it twirl and unfold,
to warrant sympathy and then some gold,
but NOT A WORD has come to pass,
that would put me even near that elite class,

the writers, the poets, the beautiful people,
I yearn to learn at their steeple,
I wonder what stationery they have purchased,
and how much money they had saved,

to make an atmosphere such and such,
that one wouldn’t have to think too much

 

This post was originally written by Aman Gupta.
All rights remain with the author.

Why I Write What I Write

I still vaguely remember the first love letter I wrote. I was a few days short of twelve. The letter smelled of strawberry and Chanel No. 5, because I couldn’t decide whether I should use my own perfume or my grandmother’s, so I used both. My hand-writing was punctuated with curly ends and heart-topped ‘i’s, the kind of precision only seventh-grade girls in love had patience for. Hidden behind the words were indents and scratches, ghosts of words that weren’t quite right, rewrites on top of rewrites.

I don’t think I ever gave it to the intended. I just wrote the letter to feel it. It’s been ten years and it’s still the same reason I write things.
I write things to really feel them.

I’ve met and befriended an immodest number of people in life, and I’ve realised that even though people are different, they’re all enigmatic. They all have a secret world inside of themselves. Each and every person, no matter how dull or boring on the outside, has a world inside that’s wonderful, crazy, wild and awe-inspiring. And if you give them a chance, they’ll show it to you. Not just one world, hundreds, sometimes thousands. And the quietest ones, the over thinkers, are more afraid of being understood than being misunderstood. That’s why I write.
I write to really understand people.

Sometimes we love and sometimes we hate and there’s so much that goes on in our minds as we eat, work, play and sleep and think we’re living life. But life is what happens in the interstices, like when we manage to smile through our tears at a darling child or when we drift away into a daydream or when our memory asks us about someone we once loved. There are days that question and days that answer.
I write to relive the interstices.

Feelings are visitors, they come and go. So are people. And although people of the past should be forgotten, I don’t thing feelings should. Every thing I ever let go of has claw marks on it; held back in the hope of not making it stay but extracting all feeling I could from it. I want to allow beauty to shatter me regularly; I want to feel life while I’m in it. Sometimes I write down things people say, because they resonate with me so much. Maybe our favorite quotations say more about us than about the people and stories we quote.
I write what should not be forgotten.

Our thoughts tend to sound better in songs we didn’t sing and books we didn’t write, and when I leave people speechless, or welled-up, or disturbed or a little dreamier, I feel like a part of their story. I feel closer to them and that’s why I share everything I feel.
I write so one day I won’t have to introduce myself.

Above everything else, it’s about leaving a mark that I existed. I was here. I was happy. I was sad. I was in love. I was afraid. I was hopeful. I had an idea and I had a purpose. That’s why I made works of art. – Felix Gonzalez-Torres

I want to fill my life with experiences, not things.
And in the end, I want to have stories to tell, not stuff to show.

 

Who you are.

The man at the far end of the room sniffed the beer like a discerning wine lover and said knowingly “Made this morning, Zirakpur barley, plastic tap barrel, came by the Mohali flyover, AC failed on the way.”
Then he sipped into it, looked up at all of us with his white-froth moustache and exclaimed,“Aaaaaaaaaah!”

That was my first interaction with a senior at ISB Mohali, where I recently spent a weekend; where inspiration came at moments I was least expecting it, from sources I was least expecting it.

White Moustache set down his glass of beer and walked up to me. He was barely my height; I could see the top of his head all balding and shiny. He introduced himself. Told me his name, where he’d worked and for how long, and where he was originally from. I don’t remember the details, because I met too many people that weekend.  I just remember him telling me he was a violinist. Then he asked me a question.

“Who are you?”

“I’m Ayeesha. I just got here from…”

“No. I mean, who are you?”

I figured he was a little tipsy from the drinking. I gave him my name again.

“Alright, Ayeesha. What is it that you do?”

“I’m an aspiring writer.”

He let out a huge sigh and sat himself down on the arm of the sofa in front of me.

“Here are the two states in which you may exist,” he said, holding up two fingers, “person who writes, or person who does not. If you write: you are a writer. If you do not write: you are not. Aspiring Writer is a meaningless null state that romanticizes Not Writing. It’s as ridiculous as saying, “I aspire to pick up that piece of paper that fell on the floor.”

Then he picked up some paper from the floor and held it up to me.

“Let’s try again. Who are you, Ayeesha?”

“I’m a writer.”