Over the Block

One day, I woke up, got ready for work, walked all the way, and switched on my computer to realise I couldn’t write a word.

the office

And that depressed me more than anything else.

Because I was stuck. It wasn’t a new feeling, of course. But when you’re getting paid to write, you can’t complain of bad days. I couldn’t bear the creeping guilt that gripped my throat forcing me to stare at the page that refused to fill up by itself.

Every new mail was torture. Every new chat message, every request added to the burden. I hated myself for being at work and not working. For not being able to work.

Some people played carrom in a corner. Their “boss” had taken the day off, so they had a field day too. They triggered my already-short temper; they laughed in high spirits while I tapped away on my Mac trying to make something sensible.

Yet some others packed their stuff, calling it a day. They had worked for eight hours straight scrutinising their code, evaluating, and reviewing their program. And here I sat too guilty to even open Buzzfeed.

Then there were the others who always had too much to do than they could ever manage. They had their eyes glued to their screens, shoulders hunched towards the black (square) hole that seems to vacuum them into its depths.

And here I was, wondering if I should add an extra tablespoon of peanut butter in my toast every morning. Even after four cups of coffee, my page was still blank. One of my friends understood. Or at least thought he did.

“Shit happens, dude.” he said, ruffling my hair and winking at me as if that should reassure me. That never reassures me. Not being able to do the only thing (I pride) I can do is not a case of shit happening. It’s more like the case of my entire life becoming a pile of shit.

Still, nothing. I looked through the window. We were high up on the twelfth floor, and the minuscule world below me seemed immaterial. Hundreds of vehicles, carrying thousands of people, trudged their way through jammed streets. Each honking as if the world blow up unless they had their way. But I slumped like a blob of pudding without the inspiration to write even a rhyming couplet.

I turned to the heavens for a hint. For a flash of enlightenment, something to help me unstuck myself, and restart my work. I saw what I see everyday: The sun giving away all her glory to anyone who cared to appreciate. It was cloudy like any other day. Yet the sun shone through all that clouded her vision.

And I wondered: Why couldn’t I write a piece that would shine through the same cloud that protects it?

I wondered. Still, nothing more than this.


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