Monday, March 21, 2011

On Heat, Kids and Writing

Mumbai’s heat is getting to me. This year, instead of the climate slowly changing from not-so-hot to somewhat-hot to kinda-hot to really-hot, nature decided to scream ‘SURPRISE PEOPLE’ and overnight (literally) the weather changed from not-so-hot to really-truly-hot. And I can’t handle it! Living in Bangalore for over four years spoilt me and I forgot there were places on earth where heat ruled like a fire-fisted dictator. This heat is making me wish I were an ice-cube sitting squarely in the ice tray of my freezer. It is making me crave flimsy malmal clothing that will lovingly let the air in and stop this meltdown. I want to sit all day long in a bubbly bathtub with the fresh clean smell of lemon and mint around me. Sigh. As much as I love you, oh dear city, I cannot for the life of me figure out how to deal with your blazing, overwhelming, bheja-frying heat and the sticky-itchy-sweaty feeling you give me whenever I find myself in a non-air-conditioned environment . What to do?

Apart from the heat, something else is driving me up the wall the past couple of days. No time to write. Even when there is time, there is no concentration. Too many distractions. Mostly in the form of one toddler and one infant. Even when they are asleep I have no peace. Why is she so restless? Why doesn’t his cold go away already? Why has she lost her appetite? What should I pack in her lunch box tomorrow? Should I start him on Cerelac next month or some homemade concoction? I really need to buy them some new clothes. She needs a white T-shirt to go with those shorts. Things like these are on my mind all the time and it’s not helping that my kids have been unwell for quite some time now. I’ve been taking them to the paediatrician so often now that I’ve become the main contributor to the doctor’s income.

But writing is what I need to do to stay sane. Especially since I have this story for a novel bouncing around in my head. Not just bouncing, it actually feels like its throwing itself onto the inner walls of my mind and making a huge ruckus. Like a claustrophobic lunatic trying to find his way out of a small windowless room. I better let him out before he does some serious damage to himself.

This claustrophobic lunatic is, in reality, my muse. He’s a bit like me. As in, I’m claustrophobic and I’m a self-proclaimed lunatic. Occasionally, at least. But otherwise he is very different from who I am. When he gets his genius ideas, he can’t sit still. He will hop and jump and whoop loudly and sometimes shout eureka. I have to quieten him down when he gets this way. He can be very pushy. He usually wins arguments about the writing so I have learnt to just shut up when he’s dictating. But on some days he turns into another person altogether. He gets fat and lazy and absolutely refuses to get any work done. I have to beg and plead, and then when I’ve lost my patience I threaten him. It doesn’t always work. I call those the ‘dry days’, when I haven’t written anything at all. But on our good days, when the ink from are pens are flowing forth, we are able to work amicably and churn out something decent.

Writers really are a crazy bunch of people. There is a lot of interesting stuff going on inside our heads, so we decide to live in our own self-created parallel universes instead of living in the real world. This piece supports my theory. I wish I could explain to people how important it is to give me a little time to myself so I can write. But with one hand balancing the baby on my hip and the other holding onto the toddler’s chubby little hand, I hardly think my request will be taken seriously. Even my muse finds it amusing. Best Blogger Tips

Blogger Tips - Get This Gadget


  1. Totally get you Sumira! Being taken serious as a writer, esp for people like you and me is like climbing a mountain on skates. But hang in there buddy. It will happen. I'm sure.

  2. *climbing a mountain on skates* So true! Your go-getter spirit is contagious, Andy. Thank you so much for the encouragement. :)

  3. Time will change soon. Don't loose hope.

  4. My Muse visits me mostly on those days when I have a pile of work that requires my attention, and then proceeds to sit on my shoulder and pester me till I've given HER (Yes, my Muse is a girl. How else can I explain the bratty behaviour?) the required attention. Sigh...As a result, I will end up staying an extra hour in office to finish up the work.
    But, the problem with her is (this is where her girly characteristic comes out exceptionally), she doesn't visit very often. And so when she does, I don't send her away. What if she doesn't return? I invite her in, patronize her, satisfy her, and as a result, she's visiting me quite frequently these days. Me happy, my Muse happy. :)
    So don't worry if you don't see your muse for a while. He must be on vacation, taking a little break, to come back refreshed and filled with more ideas that you can put into words.
    A big fan, by the way. :)

  5. @Anon: I'm wondering if you're the same anonymous who commented on my earlier post. It would be nice if you could comment with your name or any other recognisable identity. Nevertheless, thanks a ton for your comment. :)

    @Divya: Welcome! Thank you for introducing me to your girly muse. :) Quite typical these darn muses are, eh? They need to be treated well and amused on their rare visits. oooooooo you're a fan?!! That just made my day! I promise to treat my dear fans well and amuse them on... err... their rare visits here. :)

  6. Hey Sumira - first of all, my sympathies. I know what you're going through - i"m a writer and i have three children!!! They're grown up now, and Im still alive and writing.
    I personally always groan when my muse visits me, because then nothing can stop me from putting pen to paper or finger to keyboard. And a usually mild mannered, agreeable, kind of a person turns into a werewolf if expected to do anything other than get that story out.

  7. Writing keeps me sane... or at least from going insane. It is important to have my writing time and get a few moments of peace where even a few words can be written down! I love the feeling of getting those words on paper, especially after having NO FREE TIME!

    I'm here to welcome you to the A to Z blogging challenge! I'm one of the co-hosts, should you need anything don't hesitate to ask!!! Feel free to stop by my neck of the woods and say hello! We'll also be having fun on twitter (I'm @jenunedited)! See you in April!

  8. I actually started carrying around a little notebook with me everywhere so when my muse came thundering down I could immediately start jotting notes, at the very least. It helped a ton! (I'm a mom of two littles, also). I hope you can find a way to unleash the muse. And good luck with the A to Z Challenge!

  9. @Kalpana: Pleeeeease explain the display picture. I'm so intrigued.

    @Jen: Thank you for welcoming me to the challenge but a personal problem kept me away from the blog yesterday so couldn't write that first A post. Still wondering if I should write.

    @Shannon: That is very helpful. I think I should start carrying a little notebook and a pen around my neck. Good luck with the challenge!