The Aladdin's Cave

Hi, thanks for stopping by! The dictionary defines the idiom “The Aladdin’s Cave” as “a collection of interesting and beautiful objects”. Likewise, my website is a potpourri where you can browse and read from a variegated collection of articles on sundry subjects. Be prepared to stumble upon pieces ranging from noodles to analytics and from novels to friendships. Like what you read? Thanks a ton for being such a sweetheart. Don’t find it up to the mark? Well, blame it on back-breaking expectations ;) Jolly Reading!

Tag: Posts

I try.

Recently having renewed my annual subscription to host this website, I was determined to post something this month. Still am, I guess – hence, this post. But I had a very different idea for what this post could be. It could have gone in many different directions, but I can tell you that this rant wasn’t originally in the cards. Anyway,  dear reader, just know that I try.

The work week having come to a satisfactory end, I was taking stock of all my writing stuff on this happy Friday evening. The usual paraphernalia, you know:

  • See what drafts I have in progress 
  • Check if I scribbled something remotely inspiring on a virtual or physical sticky note
  • Rummage through my handbag in case there’s anything intelligible / legible on a tissue paper tucked away in a little pocket (okay, I admit I am a little desperate)
  • Go through all list apps and writing apps and messaging apps on my phone (I have sent some okay-ish texts to myself in the past, and I firmly believe that there’s absolutely nothing that lists cannot help us with)
  • …………..

Scavenging for writing prompts, I was in my happy place. (It might interest you to know that the mood of this place is quite whimsical. Sometimes, this very place is the sole cause of my despondency. But today, things seemed to be looking up).

So I come across a notepad in my writing folder on my laptop. Last modified on May 23 of this year. At 9:29 pm. I start to feel a little excitement building inside of me. My heart brimmed with gratefulness to my past self (precisely, to the Meenakshi of May 23, 2018) for being of such a huge help). For having jotted down some beautiful musings that had been patiently waiting for me to rediscover them. (You see, I am usually quite happy with my memory but writing is one area where it seems to have deserted me. I constantly stumble across leads of all sorts that I barely remember jotting down).

Oh, almost forgot to tell you the name of this file – it’s important, folks. It says “Let’s See”.

Wow, what an interesting name. C’mon, it’s not because I am biased toward my file or my past self (who, for all we know, could have been a literary genius that particular day). Wouldn’t you think that it has so much to offer – the possibilities? Must have been thinking some pretty deep thoughts on that summery night of May 23. I am reasonable. I knew it couldn’t be Marcus Aurelius’s “Meditations” level thoughts but still – it had to be something. After all, I titled it “Let’s See”!

So I open it. And? Well, zilch. Not even a single sentence. Forget sentence. Not even a single word or a letter. I mean, what is there to see here? I wasn’t expecting too much. Would have been delighted with a couple of cringeworthy rhyming lines or just potential character names or a half-baked book review that nobody even cares about. No judgement whatsoever. But a misleadingly titled file with absolutely nothing to offer? Not done. 

See What, Exactly?

I don’t get it. I really don’t get my past self’s or current self’s writing game. Gotta do better.

But I tell you, I try.

(Note to future self: Consider file size before you get too excited. 0 KB files won’t take you very far).

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Writing With Pencils

It’s still the first half of the first month, which means it isn’t too late to wish all my readers a very happy new year! I wish you all loads of joy and peace and happiness, and sincerely hope that you will stick to your new resolutions for a little while longer. I also hope the same for myself, though it is becoming increasingly difficult not to find excuses to dismiss each and every old and new resolution. Nevertheless, one of my many 2016 vows is to write more frequently, and I invite you all to be the judge for this one 🙂

Now let me get back to writing something that justifies the title of this post. Gunjan has a growing concern with me using pencils for the draft posts that I write – he worries that when I author a book of my own, I will have to do a hell lot of typing to digitize all the words that would have got transferred from my heart (or muddled brain?) to paper. Notice that he says “when I author a book” instead of saying “if I EVER author a book”. But let us forgive him for this astoundingly ambitious belief. Both his confidence and concern stem from a very strong and genuine affection, and we can’t charge a fellow for a crime of the heart, can we? 😉

But even though I find his concern extremely endearing, I know for a fact that this Herculean digitization task is not gonna bother me in the near future or in the distant one for that matter. How I wish it would – but where are the words and the plot and the characters? Oh, just where? 🙁 Anyway, grieving and ranting about my cluelessness is for another post. This one is for discussing a few of the many merits of using a pencil for putting one’s thoughts on paper.

  • Reminiscent of Childhood – Even though this is not a prioritized list, I will go ahead and admit that for me, just this one certainly trumps them all. It’s one of the things that will always keep you connected to the most carefree time of your life. Plus, there is also the added hope of being able to write freely, just like a child, without  worrying too much about the vocabulary and the grammar and the world – not while drafting, at the very least. You can go nuts and scrawl all that comes to your mind, and save the sophisticated filters for later use.
  • Very forgiving – Ah, a pencil is one of the most non-punitive devices when used in conjunction with the classic ‘undo’ button – the trusted eraser. Right? Unless and until you’ve managed to tear away the paper with some fierce erasing, you can always give it another try. After all, not all of us can get it right the first time.
  • Takes you off the grid – We live in an age where people first spend a hefty sum to buy all the latest and greatest gadgets and then spend some more to attend digital detoxification sessions that aid them in disconnecting with the electronics they bought earlier. In this crazy world of incessant clicking/flicking/gaming/chatting/emailing/reading/watching etcetera, sitting down with a piece of paper and a writing instrument (that doesn’t have any kind of internet connection) is like attending a free digital cleansing session. With no blinking distractions and stubborn notifications vying for your attention, you will be able to focus on your thoughts  and get something worthwhile on that paper.
  • Private notes – It is the perfect gear for penning down awful drafts that only you can decrypt – just write very lightly and nobody will be able to decipher what those curls and swirls mean. For example, if you would have looked at the paper draft for this post, it might have seemed to you that I had indulged in some heavy-duty doodling over a few pages. Yes, it is almost like your chicken scratch is naturally encrypted, and your familiarity with your own scribble is the key to decrypt this code. What a relief it is to know that nobody can judge you for composing scummy drafts!

Even though I just love the wooden pencils jauntily sporting their cute little eraser hats, I try to minimize their use and instead employ the plastic ones for writing. I suppose that sticking to a couple of plastic ones will do the environment less damage than callously sharpening away a forest, one tree at a time.

Hey, I was going to wrap up this post now but reading through the above bullet points again, I feel like taking a philosophical detour for a bit, and see if I can pull it off. So here are a few rhetorical questions for all of us. Is there some merit in taking a leaf out of our trusted pencil’s book? Would it be a happier world if we could be a little less judgmental/punitive with those around us? Is it possible for us to be a tad more rewarding to bring out the best in other people, just like our humble pencil? Well, let’s employ some of these practices in our lives and find out for ourselves!

Happy Scribbling, Friends! 🙂

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