Here’s to Writing 101

w101

Writing 101 was a breeze.

It was a kickstart to mine and a lot others’ blogging journey. The prompts pushed us to our limits and more. I strived to do better and better each day throughout the 20 day walk only because of the encouragement that springed like flowers along the path. Sure, it was full of pitstops, potholes, dead ends, and speed bumps. But even if you were stuck in quicksand, your fellow bloggers would be right there to pick you back up.

Sincerely, to call them fellow blogers would be an understatement. People from different walks of life have become as close as friends, giving each other advice, sharing their take on the topic at hand, and their amusing stories and experiences. This part of the program was like a bonus gift, for I didn’t have the slightest clue that I would meet so many great people along the way to writing better!

Here’s to Writing 101.

Here’s to an endeavour like no other.

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My Prized Possession(s)

Writing 101- The Things We Treasure

Okay, I’m going to be real with you on this. Thinking really hard about what you could write about, usually drains you out of ideas. That’s because you start thinking that they’re even more worthless than the previous idea you had. Then, there are the times when you know what you want to write about, but can’t do it because you put off doing it way too many times in your head. Legit reasons, or highly superficial, procrastinating ones- both burn your thinking cap and produce pretty much the same effect.

This is an attempt at finally doing that, because extending a deadline means officially granted permission to procrastinate. Here’s my final post for Writing 101, trying to strive for anti brevity, finally!

Years ago, when slam books were the biggest fad, my friends and I would go crazy passing around each one of our little personal ones that we owned with so much pride. We wanted to know all that there was about each other; mostly the stuff that mattered most to us at that time, like what we wanted to be when we grow up, what’s our pet peeve, who’s our secret crush etcetera, etcetera. One blank that I usually didn’t fill was the one where it asked what your most prized possession was.

To think about it, I left it blank for two probable reasons. One, that I need to write something really cool because a lot of people are going to read this. A good rep mattered quite a lot then. Second, was that ‘Woah, I have no idea! I’m going to come back to this later.’ I realised why a little time later, that little blank was way too small for my answer!

Let me give you a walk-through to understand things better.

When I was 4, I absolutely loved one of my dolls. Yes, it was the every girl’s clichéd doll phase. It didn’t last long, but it was pretty strong while it lasted. It was a cute little doll of a baby, bald-headed, forever-smiling. I would carry it in my bad wherever I went. To the market, to the park, to an office party with my dad- it would go wherever I did. (A little Mary had a little lamb-ish, isn’t it?)

Till date, I manage to carry anything that even has the slightest significance to a good time or memory from whenever or wherever. If not in my bag, it will definitely be somewhere in the boxes and boxes of my things which I refuse to get rid of every spring/summer, procrastinated clean-up.

The little torn page from a book that my friend and I found in a school that we’d visited, in the name of vandalism- I still have in my wallet.

A portrait of my family that I made using my below-amateur drawing skills in 2011, I still have, preserved in a notebook full of similar memory-awakening-things.

The top bunk of my study table, still remains filled with my favourite stuffed toys from back then, because you’re really never to old for soft toys!

The endless buckets of nostalgic markers and crayons still sit in their place for the rare outbursts of the artist in me.

Children’s books and pre teen books hold a special place in my heart and I will never give them away for I need them so that my grandchildren’s grandchildren also can read the amazing stories that I’ve read.

Key chains are part of a bag’s charm. One with my name written on it, the one with my favourite character’s little model, the one with a picture worth remembering encased in it- I’m fond of them all.

By now, I’m guessing you have a picture in your head of what I’m going on about. Well, hey let’s add more colour to the picture, shall we?

I carry a box of mint at all times. It comes with the capability of giving you instant fresh breath, and a sense of the sound of having a box full of them when you shake it up a bit. People coming to know that you have it might come off as a negative, because then it’s all gone within seconds, but I’m more of a ‘ the glass is half full’ person.

Magazines never grow old, and are never thrown away when I’m in charge. The stories, poems, artefacts of the times and the pictures are worth preserving forever. The pictures especially appeal to me so much that I can’t help but cut them out to make collages, even if they’re pointless. The thick glossy pages and great cuttable content- why would someone ever not hold on to them?

A notebook and pencil is a must for me- at home, or while travelling. Who knows when you might have to jot down a few things from something you know you won’t remember later on? Who knows which great personality you might stumble upon, and desperately want an autograph? Who knows what boring lecture might be inflicted upon you which would call for mindless doodling?prized

Well, for the sake of naming the one thing that I call to be my prized possession, I would say it’s my backpack. It’s something I take with me everywhere. Big or small, handy or lofty, heavy or feather light, a bag to me is a sense of knowing that what I need is probably in the thingamajig hanging on my shoulders. More importantly, all the things that I think are important to me would fit right in!

Writing 101, Day 20 (The Finale)

Read My Mind Soar- Also, this is for You.

Writing 101- Don’t Stop the Rockin’

So, 19 days down and 1 to go, we come right back to free writing. Quite frankly I don’t do a lot of writing pieces where I let my mind soar and write whatever comes to me. I usually give it a thought, frame in my head how I’d like to see it appear on paper, and then give it a go. But let’s be real here, what I imagine in my head and what I see written in my squiggly, rushed imperfect handwriting don’t really match and the latter doesn’t usually come that up to the mark. Yet, here I am going for it. For sure this time. I am not thinking about where or to what point I’m heading, yet my fingers are moving in a randomised series of movements trying to make sense, and for sure making countless typos along the way which I’ll have to sit, backspace and type out again for you to comprehend. Ah, coming to you. If you can’t see me right now, oh wait of course you can’t see me because you’re probably 2 continents and 3 oceans away.. but coming back to what I was saying, I’d like you to imagine a person’s emotions and facial expression of that when he/she (i’m all for feminism, don’t want to mess with something that controversial) is handed an ice cream. The ice cream comes with every last one his/her favourite toppings, syrups, fruits- you name it. After finishing slurping down on the last bits of the creamy, milky filled goodness, he/she’s told that that treat has been declared to be free of cost. The amount of contentment after having a stomach full of yummy goodness, being instantly doubled after having being told that it costed zero money out of his/her pocket in this corporate plauged world, is exactly the amount of satisfaction and happiness that I get when I blog. Quite similar to splashing paint on to a wall, I splatter all my heart and crazy mindless thoughts on to the screen, which becomes my ice cream treat. Having it published on to my very own page and for so many amazing people like you to read it and appreciate whatever I’ve poured out of my head is astonishing. Just like being handed an ice cream cone, free of cost. By now, you probably also know that my brain has tendencies to reach the extremities of metaphorical comparisons. And yet, you’re still here. So, for that I’d like to thank you. You’re awesome. Alright? Almost nothing compares or beats being awesome in this world. That’s what I think. Well, that’s how I think it should work! This motto comes from my optimistic, cheerful, exuberant mind, as well as from the words of my favourite, Barney Stinson, the NPH. tumblr_l2mr4wv0Xf1qzg6mgo1_500 So, I think that’s it for now. I guess this must have been around 400 words by the estimation made by my slightly mathematically dysfunctional brain which at times forget what 7 times 6 are. Ohh and don’t forget, you’re awesome.

Writing 101, Day 19

Help Mrs. Pauley Asap

Writing 101- Hone a Point of View

“That’s one less trouble, mister! Let’s see that list now, shall we? 

“I never thought these troubles could be tackled and striked out so easily, Mrs. Pauley. Thanks for helping me!”
“Tackled indeed, Jimmmy. But do remember that these are just the baby steps that you are capable of taking right now. The big picture needs even more support. Keep working towards completely doing away with all of ’em as you become a smart grown up man, will ya?”
“I sure will.”

I remember the grin on my face that I’d had every time Mrs. Pauley would be so supportive of the things I told her about. My mind recollected those times spent with her as I sat across the street facing her humongous house with the quaint, slopey roof. Apparently, she is being evicted from the house she’s been living in since forever. I asked mom about what could sweet Mrs. Pauley possibly have done, that there were cops at her place evicting her?! Evicting. Even the sound of it seems like an incredibly evil thing.

Imagining her gone is very saddening to me. So what if she couldn’t pay some bills on time? Well actually, money isn’t always your bestfriend. That was one among the hundreds of wise things Mrs. Pauley had told me over the years. When I was 6, I used to think that she was born this way. Old, wise, with a giving heart. It took me time to believe it then, but now I know, that she was just like me someday. To having grown up to become as smart as her, she doesn’t deserve to be deprived of her house at all!

I long being able to do something for her, owing to the numerous things she’s helped me with.

Help homeless man
Save the strawberry bush from dying
Fix global warming

I found the list from two years ago when I was over at her place fixing the problems I had thought were in dire need of being solved. Her youngest son had been in town who worked for Greenpeace. He told me about all that he did in his job to save the earth. That was when I striked out the last trouble off the list.

The cops seem to be coming out now. They’re leaving! This looks like everything went well. So, I rose up and headed towards Mrs. Pauley.

“Mrs. Pauley! They left! Isn’t that amazing?”

She didn’t say anything, but gave a weak smile.

“Why are you so glum?”

“They’ve given me a week’s notice. That means 7 days until I can digest the fact that I’m being kicked out of my house, Jim. We’re going to make the best out of these 7 days, a’right?”

“We sure are.”

Saying that, I left for home. I didn’t protest, whine or question about anything that was happening. For all I know, Mrs. Pauley was putting up a fight. With all the odds set against her, life hadn’t being the nicest to her lately. All her sons had settled abroad, leaving her with what mom calls ‘Empty Nest Syndrome’. I realised it’s just a fancy name for missing your sons to death. So there was that, Mr. Pauley’s gravely unfortunate death just months ago, and now the eviction? It had clearly been too long since she’d said her famous words, “That’s one less trouble.” I thought it best for me to not bring all those evils into the clear for now.

I got home and I turned over the list of troubles to make another one. It had indeed been quite a time since I was concerned about the better of the world, and now was definitely a good time. I wrote, ‘Help Mrs. Pauley asap’.

My vision strayed and I noticed something below on the paper. It was Mrs. Pauley’s sons number which he’d given to me so that I could call him if I wanted to know how ‘fixing global warming’ was going.

Mrs. Pauley had been so down that she thought herself to be of too less importance for her to call her sons who were busy in far away lands living their own lives.
That’s when I knew exactly what to do.

Soon enough, the plan worked and a parcel came to Mrs. Pauley’s doorstep. I went over quickly enough and stuck a note on the rent money that I’d asked her son to send in. I grinned satisfactorily at what the note said. That’s one less trouble, Mrs. Pauley!

Writing 101, Day 18

Rising Above

Writing 101- Your Personality on the Page

Waiting in anticipation, with a meagre amount of patience and quite evidently teeming; is the audience. The spectators, just as much human as I, sit facing me. To this day I haven’t been able to figure out if it’s the elevated platform that I’m placed on, contrary to the audience sitting and watching me from down below, or if the masses watching me themselves ignite this anxiety within.

Stage fright is a word, two words to be accurate, that I’m very familiar with. How we came to be acquaintances? I quite frankly don’t know. How it refuses to go away for good? I’m still wondering.

There’s no part in me that wants to be scared of speaking in front of a hundred, or even a thousand people. Yet somehow, even after training my mind to climb a zone wherein I’m not afraid at all to face a crowd, my hands holding the mike fail to cooperate. They shudder, reminding me of the anxiety and my worst fears of messing up or not performing up to the mark.

Admittedly, it took time, but I realised if there was anyone that was making a bid deal out of my insecurities, it was myself. Even the littlest parts of me that wandered to think that I wasn’t good enough or that I would make a horrible mistake was coming from myself.

I had to put up a fight to rise above to the stage, and more importantly to rise above the fear that the stage held personally for me.

I never pass on a chance to speak. I fumble, stutter, but get past it to eventually, elegantly (not always, but I try!) express what I want to.

My heart beats fast before I climb up there, but not fast enough to engulf me in nervousness and muteness. Not any more.

I keep at it.

I learnt from experience that there’s nothing I would gain by turning down even the slightest opportunity to go on stage, more aptly put, to face my fear. I also know for the best that I’ve got nothing to lose to keep doing so.

Enough with the cowering down, because you know what? I can almost see myself having a ‘come at me, bro’ attitude towards this fear that resides in me. And I can see it leaving forever, very soon!

Lost & Found

Writing 101- Third Time’s the Charm

When you’re in a look,
For nothing in particular,
You see a lot.

You find more,
Than you ever did,
Or you possibly ever will.

Finding your book,
In the mess your room is,
Only to realise,
It was on your bookshelf,
Holds a parallel to losing,
Yourself amidst confusion,
Chaos and a crippling cry.

All you need is the time,
To realise that you never lost,
Yourself or your will power.

Just listen to your voice,
Your heart beat.

To find your way back,
To yourself, to home,
It takes a sane mind,
And quite a little time.

I learnt in time,
That you find what you need,
And also what you might not,
But you have the ability,
To lose what pulls you down,
Make it gone with time;
You’ll find a new outlook,
On losing things.

Let it go.
You might find,
Something fine or so.

How I learnt this,
You ask?
It’s was a peculiar,
Yet a great finding,
That I did on my job,
Of cleaning the flow,
The rushing, blue river.

A quarter, a glass jar,
And some wrappers,
Did I find,
All washed out,
Save for the jar-
Empty and astray.

Free and hollow it was,
With nothing contained within.

What’s great about it,
You ask?
The jar was labelled in red,
With a marker,
‘My Troubles’, it read.

Empty it was,
And definitely lost,
The man was free,
Of his last trouble.

He’d lost them since a long time,
& found infinite contentment in the air,
The minute that jar went empty,
Happiness was his to spare.

Writing 101, Day 16

Memories You Can Reflect Upon

Writing 101- Serially Found

The glossy sheet of paper that stared back at me said a lot of things at once. It screamed out that the Taj Mahal is an extremely crowded place at any given time or day. It shone through without a doubt that the sun was scorching hot. It also came with a little bubble of thought that amidst a busy day in front of Shah Jahan’s token of love for his wife, if you’re in your mother’s arms, along with your little family & having a good time, any picture that’s taken becomes picture-postcard-perfect.

Another one was a reminder of a rather not-so-joyous day. The occasion was a festive one, with a fancy dress competition ready to start. Enter, I. Draped in a silky white gown with a star wand held in my hand, 4 years old, crying my eyes out. The picture said nothing about the amount of enthusiasm and rehearsal I’d put behind my appearance on stage and instead showed the terror on the fairy’s face upon facing the exorbitant number of people looking at her. Either way, it became a thing to look at, to relish, and to laugh away.

Set in a dimly lit restaurant, at the table we’d dined was another one. It didn’t speak a lot, but what it did, it did pretty boldly. We were in Andaman, having our last meal on its fresh coastal ground before our flight back home the next day. A quick phone enquiry came with the news that the plane is overbooked for the entire week and there’s no other feasible means of transport from an island floating on water. Everyone’s face is grim with worry if we would somehow get the last few tickets, while someone in the scene is carefree, going in for another bite from the tasty plate of food in front of her.

Then there was one with a lot of familiar faces. All together, smiling and rejoicing being together. The friendship and frivolity that had closely knit this group of friends blared through evidently. There was also a great, happy, reminiscing smile seen off the reflection on the sheet of the glistening paper.

Stack-of-photos

Finding photos that I thought I’d lost forever is quite amazing. The joy that comes to me thinking ‘Oh remember this day when we thought we were the happiest we could ever be?’, somehow seems overwhelming owing to the happiness greater than anything else when I gaze at the sheets of photographic memory which has found its way back to me.

Photographs are indeed time capsules. They are embodiments of the times that you’ll always long to revisit; that you sit idle and run wild through the roaring flood of memories in your head. Trying to hold on to every last one of them through the years rushing by!

‘Photo’ Credits: montrealserai.com

Writing 101, Day 13