It’s been a while

Over the past few months, I haven’t been writing the way I want to. All I’ve been writing are research papers, exam papers, and articles here and there. I think I wrote a couple of short stories and a poem or something.

What I can remember are the moments I took to update my WhatsApp status. They aren’t particularly eloquent, but they capture the moments I typed them out in. They feel like writing. Not the painstaking writing that captivates readers. Only a brief hint of a life. They reveal a little something about me. That is why I am using them to craft a story. Mostly my story, but I think it’ll mirror what some people feel in the last few months of school, college, and other things we feel we need to get away from.

_____________________________________

nerd smiling emoticon

She smiled as she wrote. The words appeared on the screen nearly as quickly as she thought of them. The feeling she got after the last word was typed was one of accomplishment. She had finished. She had made it through her final research paper after three years of typing and retyping and editing and proof-reading. It was one of the last things to do on her way to freedom.

A lot of lasts

She knew it was true. Others seemed to be getting more nostalgic by the minute. She couldn’t wait to be done with it all. She was quite literally counting down the days. But there were moments when she thought, “I’m going to miss this.” or, “I wonder when I’ll see them again.”

Back to the same old

As excited as she was for the end, there were a few more hurdles to clear before she could go on to the next stage of her life. And it was the same old thing, another set of tests to measure something undefinable. She was back to waiting, waiting for it to be over.

Done

The classes were over. Just weeks remained of what had begun to feel more and more like a life sentence. Every other minute, she was tumbling from joyous heights to depressed awareness of what remained to be overcome.

The frequency with which she felt compelled to share her state grew.

Just a few hours more.

2 weeks and a bunch of hours

                                                 angry face

Words seemed to be failing her at times. The exams had never felt so awful. She knew it barely mattered. But she felt awful on the days when she had to drag herself to that place. Sometimes she felt unable to deal with it on top of the other worries weighing on her.

flat mouth face

It felt like the days she hated lasted too long. She stared at nothing and everything. She sent messages to her friends. She was able to relax when she focused on something totally unrelated. Those moments were precious.

Counting down the hours

She could see the end of a three year journey which had been interesting. She was more than ready to leave interesting behind.

Vacation!!!!!!!!!!

She was there. Where she wanted to be. Needed to be. The other worries had more room to float about her head. She was looking toward the future. And that was partially dependent on the exams. The results took their own sweet time.

Finally!!!!!!!!

 

 

 

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It’s all Chintu’s fault

The short girl just stood there with her hair falling over her eyes. She shifted from foot to foot, and squirmed endlessly as her teacher unloosed shaft after shaft from memory and accumulated grievance. Her classmates stood around, their lunchtime football match featuring a bedraggled butta quite forgotten. One boy picked up the butta and chucked it at her in an experimental sort of way. It bounced off her head, and then hit the teacher in the nose. Miss Ramamani stopped in mid-flow, her mouth now opening and closing wordlessly, and goggled at her and at her by-now shamefaced parents, as if this were all their fault…..

Nina wished that Jiddu hadn’t thrown it, now Miss Ramamani was really mad. The butta hadn’t hurt when it hit her head, but she just knew that everyone was staring.

Nina looked at the cracked tile floor, she was used to this view and hated it all the more for that reason. Her teacher was always unhappy with her, but it was wrong of Miss Ramamani to blame her parents when it was all Chintu’s fault. Miss Ramamani hated her, and she took every chance she could to humiliate Nina. Nina didn’t really mind, Chintu was funny enough to help her get over all the veiled and outright insults.

She didn’t think Chintu could take her mind off this misadventure with a little comic act. She was quite upset with Chintu. This time, like most times she got into trouble, it was all because of Chintu. Chintu just wouldn’t stop pestering her during classes. Of course Miss Ramamani only noticed Nina when she was distracted by Chintu, so her teacher thought she was always misbehaving.

Nina started her 126th apology of the month, “Miss Ramamani-” which her teacher abruptly cut off with “What have I told you about talking without being addressed?”

Nina knew she was in for it if she didn’t act quickly. Her arm shot up in the air at the exact angle Miss Ramamani had drilled the class on. By some small mercy, the teacher heeded this action and seemed pleased that at least some of her training had stuck. She said,“Yes, Nina?”

“Miss Ramamani, I am so sorry for the mess on your table, the ink spill was a huge accident,” Nina had to pause to come up with a believable explanation, “My science project is on the footprints of different mammals, and when I saw the ink, I thought I could…um…”

‘Oh no!’ It was the worst thing she could have said. The instant the words were out of her mouth, she knew that Miss Ramamani would have a fit. Miss Ramamani burst out, “You thought you could what? Play a trick on me? Do graffiti? Huh? Huh?” One corner of Nina’s mind wandered to that lapse in her teacher’s diction, the grunting noises were pretty funny, but they also really scared her. Miss Ramamani in this mood was someone every student of the 8th grade knew to run from.

Nina could feel everyone’s eyes on her—her parents looking more ashamed every second, the boys in her class happy for the show, while the girls were avoiding eye contact with her, but sneaking peeks at her with a mixture of curiosity, enjoyment and sympathy. Many had been on the receiving end of Miss Ramamani’s terrifying verbal attacks, but they really didn’t understand why Nina couldn’t try to follow the rules the way they grudgingly did.

Nina knew they didn’t understand her, but she didn’t know what to do. Maybe she should tell them about Chintu’s role. She hesitated, ‘What if Chintu is begin temperamental again and hiding, she really isn’t the most reliable creature.’ Sometimes Nina wondered how good a friend Chintu was, always getting her in trouble and then disappearing to some corner. It took Nina hours to get through all the proceedings that usually followed her escapades, and by then Chintu was happily at home–eating, exercising or sleeping. Chintu never did any work. Sometimes Nina envied Chintu, why couldn’t her life also be so simple?

Miss Ramamani was clearly very angry, Nina had to pay close attention to what was being said. She would talk to Chintu later. Miss Ramamani was asking her parents about the fictional science project. They were valiantly trying to save face. Nina watched hopefully as Mama said, “Yes, yes, Ninu beti is always doing her work, in school, at home, everywhere.” Miss Ramamani’s face became more forbidding—she was gathering force and was definitely going to frighten Nina’s parents, let alone Nina. Nina felt like she was at her dentist’s office, undergoing the painful process of decay being scraped out of one of her molars (the one she always thought looked like a mountain), but without the promise of yummy, fluffy and cold ice-cream to soothe her pain afterward.

Miss Ramamani breathed loudly with barely suppressed rage, “You have no control over your daughter. She has done more damage this year than any student I have ever known in my one year of teaching!” Nina felt her teacher’s lack of strong language here was more because of her desire to avoid drawing the attention of the peaceful principal her office down the hall, than an attempt to be civil, a complete violation of the teacher’s “Etiquette lessons”.

Nina’s father tried to calm down Miss Ramamani, but apparently the trail of small footprints across her table and its contents was the last straw for her. “I am not going to have Nina in my class, your family is totally childish,” Miss Ramamani exclaimed. With a petulant ‘Harrumph” and a slam of the door, she was gone.

When Nina got home, she would have to seriously talk to Chintu about not following her about at school and changing her other risky habits. It was great that Nina had been shifted to another class, but she was going to have to do lots of extra work, and the principal had whispered a warning “Be more careful about the company you keep.” Nina didn’t know how the principal knew about Chintu, when even her parents didn’t.

She was sure she would find Chintu in her abode, calmly consuming a meal. Chintu was always munching on something, or looking at Nina with pleading eyes, hoping for food. The squirming was the most annoying thing; it always distracted Nina in class. Chintu was forever squirming around. Oh, and the constant complaining—the squeaks of ‘This class is so boring, can we go to the park, why won’t you play with me’, on and on.

Silly hamster, that Chintu.

Something to do with writing

Writing has always been something that came naturally to me. While others groaned and moaned when perfunctorily told to  write 200 words on an obscure topic, I was happy to set out. Sometimes it seems like I have too much to write and not enough time to do it. How do you pick one thing to write about, when you have 10 ideas floating around your head, each muttering in a voice strangely like your own “Pick me, pick me”?

I never quite got the hang of brainstorming, that magnificent thing everybody swears by, I prefer a more go-with-the-flow style that led to a lot of scratches and striking out before my main method of putting thoughts into words became typing. Typing has made it so much easier for me to articulate all that I earlier couldn’t. Now I can have 20 documents with various topics, and I can get back to them whenever I feel like I need to get more out about whatever I am thinking. But, I wonder, does the fact that I can get back to it make me lazy to write or does it remove the pressure of finishing something even when my mind turns to mush?

The laptop allows for easy cataloguing of my work, but sometimes I think I would have been more motivated to write if it wasn’t so easy to open a file, find my place and return to the topic. I guess you have to see which outweighs the other, and use whatever seems best, just like when you choose one way of saying something over another.

The clatter of keyboards makes me happy

I have found that the sound of people around me typing gives me a new sense of happiness in my own work that I don’t usually have, when mine are the only fingers flying across a key-board in an empty room. I don’t know why I find the sound so inspiring, but when I hear the clack of innumerable keys, I feel like I should be typing faster and faster, as the words pour from my mind. For once, I don’t labour over every word and keep hitting the faded button to the upper right corner of my keyboard.

I am one of those neurotic people who is constantly aware of all the noises around me. Finding sounds around me motivating and inspiring rather than driving me out of my mind creates a very pleasant change.

The peculiar sound of typing on a laptop or desk-top key-board makes something in my mind click, and I feel the thoughts come to me in nicely arranged phrases. Instead of the solitary tapping of the keys, I hear a bunch of hands, creating music to my ears. I just keep on typing, until I have nothing more to write.