Monday, 15 March 2010

making sense of oneself

i used to take a class - a writing class, just for fun, a long time ago in cambridge. if i tell you who taught the class, you would know why i had to take the class, despite the fact that i was doing research in chemical engineering and also trying to sit in a bunch of other classes for various reasons (such as good looking professors). Anita Desai! i could not resist it. i know lots of people are not that fond of her writing, but i like it. i like it a fair bit. some of it makes limited sense, i suppose because i don't have context, but she represents to me the old guard, alongside R.K.Narayan, and in fact, i like her more than i like RKN, more gentle, more deep, more feeling than him, in my opinion. i like her daughter as well. they are both..so..i don't know..unspoilt, somehow..

anyway, we used to get these writing assignments to do as part of the class. it was an interesting mix in the class. i used to write on the linux part of my computer, in text, and sometimes forget to take it to the windows part (i was using this windows simulator called vmware, my main achievement in that time frame was to set everything up so that vmware could run in linux. something awful to do with kernels and so on). so it would be all unformatted in running text. and as always my thoughts would run together and it would be chaos. the undergrads (mostly, pimply kids who i guess were forced to take the class as part of some credit something), would be totally funny and i would look forward to hearing them read their stuff out. Prof. Desai would sit, much like a quiet contemplative sparrow and listen with infinite patience, with not a twitch of muscle, not a movement of grey strand of hair.

why do you want to write, she asked me once. after i had explained about my various degrees and the upcoming job here in india (which i had by then, but had requested a six month extension on), none of which had anything to do with writing, per se.

don't write if you have nothing to say, dad had told me once, after i painfully extracted a poem from the depths of my..well.. ass? soul? whatever. i don't think dad realised how much his words would influence me. it was years before i put pen to paper again.

sometimes i want to shout to him - not in anger, but just by way of information, no dad, you were wrong. i should write if and when i feel like it. even if it sounds to you like i am saying nothing. it is something to me. just in case he is listening, and this time really wants to hear me, considering i am saying it in words and not the jumbled thoughts of a confused adolescent, i want to also add this, today, i have something to say, and it is this:

i am a memory collector. i zealously add to my collection everyday. some memories are happy, like the strawberry ice cream i used to eat at 'my flavourite parlour' at dasaprakash on occasion. some are smelly, like the stench in the back alley. some are sounds, like the anklets i used to hear whenever i went alone near the 'big drain' on fourth main road, which i was convinced was some ghost-like creature out to get me. some are pictures, like dad in his immaculate white outfit in the cane chair, his favourite in the world. or mum, in her spinach-green sari waving at me from the platform and bursting to tell me she had made okra for me. some are sad, very sad, like all the people that are gone, all the tears i have shed, all the time i have wasted, all the life i have not lived though it has passed me. but they are mine. i will jealously guard them. and at times, i will let others peek into them, have a look. and thats why i write...

7 comments:

Mamma mia! Me a mamma? said...

And that is why you should keep writing.

Don't stop.

Ever.

wordjunkie said...

Wow!

ChoxBox said...

your last lines gave me goosies.

write on my friend. you do a great job.

Bannu said...

Kenny, lovely post.

Pipa said...

:-). Yes that was a Mohini pisasu out to get you. There must be an accompanying smell of jasmine as well :-).

Sands said...

lovely post and keep writing :)

dipali said...

As long as we can keep peeking in!
Keep writing, Kenny. You are addictive.