GloPoWriMo 2022: 9/30

Weekends are apparently meant to be used for more writing, and NaPoWriMo is taking advantage of that to suggest some form-based prompts. Today’s is the nonet! A nonet has nine lines. The first line has nine syllables, the second has eight, and so on until you get to the last line, which has just one syllable.


From my bedroom window, a raven
sits steady on a spring-time tree,
his velvet tones romancing
a long distance lover.
This secret language
is desire,
is love,


GloPoWriMo 2022: 8/30

Today’s prompt comes to us from this list of “all-time favorite writing prompts.” It asks you to name your alter-ego, and then describe him/her in detail. Then write in your alter-ego’s voice. Maybe your alter-ego is a streetwise detective, or a superhero, or a very small goldfinch.

These are rough prompts. I’ve never been one for imagining myself as anything other than the human I am, so I’m struggling with this. Instead, therefore, I am writing a haiku. Although it’s spring, this one feels a lot like autumn.


birch tree stamps kindly
bleakly, fervently, acorn
quibbles, darkening

GloPoWriMo 2022: 7/30

 Today, the prompt asks me to write a poem that argues against, or somehow questions, a proverb or saying. They say that “all cats are black at midnight,” but really? Surely some of them remain striped. And maybe there is an ill wind that blows some good. Perhaps that wind just has some mild dyspepsia.

I struggled with this immensely and could only come up with the one stanza, that I am hopeful will lead to a more cohesive poem some time in the future.

Absence Makes The Heart Grow

Absence makes the heart grow flabbier,
Losing musculature, it fattens in its forgetting, 
Straining, feigning remembrance of
Blocked off, walled memories.

GloPoWriMo 2022: 6/30

Today’s prompt is a challenge to write a variation of an acrostic poem. But rather than spelling out a word with the first letters of each line, we are encouraged to write a poem that reproduces a phrase with the first words of each line. I knew GloPoWriMo had encouraged me to write an acrostic a few years ago, but really had to dig the archives for this one, from 2017, where I wrote one on Warfare.

Break a Leg

Before important events and milestones people
risk everything and move mountains for,
everyone feels trepidation, nausea,
and the unpleasantness that everything is going to go wrong; but you, you should
know that the Universe functions in the most miraculous ways,
and I believe in you, for
labour always translates, fortune always favours the brave. Have faith that
every little thing is going to be all right; you’re going to be amazing,
good luck!

GloPoWriMo 2022: 5/30

Today, the challenge is to write a poem about a mythical person or creature doing something unusual – or at least something that seems unusual in relation to that person/creature. For example, what does Hercules do when he loses a sock in the dryer? If a mermaid wants to pick up rock-climbing as a hobby, how does she do that? What happens when a mountain troll makes pancakes?

I am far and away the least fiction-wise creative person I know. I struggle with fictional thoughts and fabricating things from my imagination. Despite being a tactful liar, my creative energies are concentrated on the real world, so this is quite the ask. I’ve interpreted this loosely, where the mythical creature for me is someone who works without a break (and enjoys it) – and the surprising/unusual act is taking time off. The title sounds awfully close to a children’s essay or an Enid Blyton book, which contributes to the rhyme scheme and pattern I set myself on.

Sajet Sleeps

As the sun rose in his part of the world,
Sajet awoke to the sound an Outlook notification,
Deep into his comforter he curled,
Decided today would be a one-day vacation.

He slept all day, and slept all night,
Sajet gave his family and boss a good fright,
They kept calling but he snored and snored,
Sajet decided people made him bored.

The next morning, Sajet arose from his slumber,
Found fifteen missed calls on his cellphone number,
When he read his mails, he saw things were on track,
But replied to his parents that he was awake, online, and back.

Then he was notified they docked his pay,
Adding penalties for deliverables that he delayed,
The whole thing seemed like an elaborate insult,
Until he remembered he was an adult.

GloPoWriMo 2022: 4/30

Today, I am challenged to write a poem in the form of a poetry prompt. The poet Mathias Svalina has been writing surrealist prompt-poems for quite a while, posting them to Instagram. You can find examples here, and here, and here.

For my prompt-poem, I wrote a set that I would be keen to read, and what I usually start conversations with when I am texting people.


  1. Your fondest childhood possession,
  2. Your happiest childhood memory,
  3. The walk you took last week,
  4. The breakfast you ate this morning,
  5. That disturbed night of sleep,
  6. Your biggest fear,
  7. The smallest inconvenience,
  8. The shapes you see on ink-blots and in clouds,
  9. The adjectives you identify yourself in,
  10. You.

GloPoWriMo 2022: 3/30

This one is a bit complex . It’s a Spanish form called a “glosa” – literally a poem that glosses, or explains, or in some way responds to another poem. The idea is to take a quatrain from a poem that you like, and then write a four-stanza poem that explains or responds to each line of the quatrain, with each of the quatrain’s four lines in turn forming the last line of each stanza. Traditionally, each stanza has ten lines. Here’s a nice summary of the glosa form.

I tried.

[more thicker than forget]

love is more thicker than forget
more thinner than recall
more seldom than a wave is wet
more frequent than to fail

– [love is more thicker than forget], E.E. Cummings

when she arrives,
no space in my heart is left hollow,
every word, weighty, not shallow,
her time a gift,
her company my safety net,
love is more thicker than forget.

when she departs,
she carries our meeting,
time past feels fleeting,
my memory palace locked,
its drawbridge will not fall,
love is more thinner than recall.

when she re-emerges,
she is different,
this is no deterrent,
the evening passes,
we pretend it is the first time we have met,
love is more seldom than a wave is wet.

it is unfortunate then when she settles,
that my overthinking commences,
this calm storm, rocked by hail,
remains steady, unfazed,
love is more frequent than to fail.

GloPoWriMo 2022: 2/30

Today, I am challenged to write a poem based on a word featured in a tweet from Haggard Hawks, an account devoted to obscure and interesting English words. I picked this one.


Doomed from when I hit snooze,
My sleep consumes memories I could be making,
Moments I could be sharing, work I could be doing.
In that process,
Kafka-esque forces make me a chronophage,
I tell my parents I am a creature of habit, a night-owl,
Alas, the moon sees no transformation,
I remain human, not a werebeast, and as it were,
I have procrastinated everything,
For the monkey in my brain refuses to concentrate on the important things,
Choosing instead to eat time to fulfil its hunger.

GloPoWriMo 2022: 1/30

April 2021 passed me by in preparing for examinations and surviving the dissonance I faced between where I was living and what was happening back at home. Amma and I spoke about GloPoWriMo, but I could not be bothered to write at all. This year, I realised the month had begun only on April 2nd, and my cousin messaged me to ask whether we were writing this year. That little nudge was enough encouragement to start up. So here I sit, on April 5th, five poems in hand, posting them one-by-one. The rest of the month should see this play out with more consistency, ideally taking me back to the daily posting this blog offers the promise of.

The prompt today is based on Robert Hass’ remarkable prose poem, “A Story About the Body.” The idea is to write your own prose poem that, whatever title you choose to give it, is a story about the body. The poem should contain an encounter between two people, some spoken language, and at least one crisp visual image.


His childhood friends say it first, “Man, you look so good – you’ve lost weight, haven’t you?”. It’s the question that catches him off guard. Why do they ask when he feels like a dried raisin rather than a grape? Six months of portioning meals and no sugar, before the chorus of aunties and uncles offer their views. No pleasantries exchanged but an immediate recognition of shape, “Your cheeks are less round” and marks, “We can see your dimples”. Colours too, “Aww, he’s blushing”, as they turn to his mother and only half-jokingly mutter, “You should get him married when he’s like this”. For those minutes, he holds his tongue, thinking about the dimpled skin hiding stretch marks and how inner-shirts hide the inverted hourglass his body presents in the mirror. He has fasted for this, and so, eats orange gravy, naans, and gulab jamoons to his hearts’ content. All of this till he goes home, feels his fingers along his bulging belly and notices the jamoon he has become.

We’re Back

I’ve returned to Cambridge after two months away, which is the longest duration I’ve spent away from the city since I moved here about a year and a half ago. Previous best: two weeks, achieved in November 2021. That feels surreal, especially given that when I was in Gandhinagar, I’d routinely spend two months away for holidays between terms, and in Bengaluru, I’d spend four months away for term. Aside from work, it is the pandemic that has led to these circumstances, and it was only natural that I had several apprehensions about leaving. This town is tiny, and it is filled with quietude. Being at home, anywhere, is as far away from this as possible. There is always someone to meet, or something to do, and it was only on my last day in town that we sat as a family and did nothing. It was in the full knowledge that I was departing for foreign lands that my parents and I spent all day in each other’s vicinity, not doing anything meaningful or memorable. Except, every moment of that day, Saturday, felt filled with a gravitas beyond compare. Amid breaks from my laptop I caught my dad staring at me in wonderment, and I found myself reciprocating that gaze. In the silence that filled those moments, I sensed – and he confirmed this later that evening – he would miss me. I will miss them too.

I am filled with emotion being back. This is where I feel my life is, despite my non-attachment to places. This is where my friends are, several of whom have messaged, whom I’m waiting to meet. This is where all the knowledge I seek appears to sit, and the ease of finding any book I desire is not something I take for granted. Despite everything feeling familiar, it has been long enough away for me to step away and ask, is this how it’s always been?

That is something I feel thankful for. It feels like I have on a new pair of glasses (I literally do), and all I hope for over the next few months is that these lenses help me change the bits and pieces I didn’t quite enjoy in the last stint here. First step: piano. The rest will fall into place.

Working in the Quiet

I have spent the past two months at home visiting my parents. Having spent two years away, there was naturally a period of settling back into each other’s rhythms and learning about how we had changed and grown. The most obvious change perhaps was that I was working now. I had hard deadlines for things I was working on, even if they were personal pieces. I did not want this trip to interfere with the system of working I had set up for myself in the UK. Before my trip, I began preparing my parents for this shift. I told her she had to give me the space I needed to work on the daily. Sure, there would be quieter times, but I needed the time and space each day without the distraction. I threatened that I’d find a co-working space if the house got too loud. She did not take this particularly well – and naturally so. I mean, we were meeting each other after 24 months apart, and here I was, telling her I would leave home to step outside at the most minor inconvenience. This was just strategic though. I knew it would leave an imprint in her mind, and I was right. This entire period, if I’ve been working, if I told my parents I had something I needed to do for work urgently – they have been nothing but accommodative. Classes have happened, project vivas, marking, and a slew of commitments, especially in the past fortnight. They have understood, learned, and adapted. I am ever so grateful.

This is not to say that I’ve just been working. I should say, that one of the first things I did when I came here was figure out precisely when I was comfortable working. I did not like the idea of working when everyone at home was free – that was the time I would rather be with them than alone in the room on my laptop. So it was, then, that I found quieter hours – the late nights, and some (although my parents will dispute this), early mornings. A few hours in the afternoons where I knew both parents would have meetings, and some such. I learned their schedules and adapted as well, and for that, I am incredibly grateful.

Naturally, of course, this has led to some discoveries about my patterns of work. One in particular stands out, and is the subject of today’s meditation.

When I was at school, all my academic work was confined to my room, which was on the first floor of our house. My mother spent a majority of her time downstairs. Given this was the case, although I had an inkling that I enjoyed working with music in the background, and I had a certain preference for multitasking, wearing earphones was prohibited. At most, I knew I could get away with background music at a quiet-ish volume in my room. Loud enough for me to hear without my mother ever finding out. This was predominantly so I could hear anything she said if she called out to me, but it also served the very helpful purpose of knowing when she was coming up the stairs. That never really changed what I was doing, but I was prepared for the break in my work that came with her presence – the conversation and liveliness she brought into my otherwise silent space.

With this pattern of work being habit, and my impending move to a hostel, in my final year of high school, my mother took it upon herself to impart critical trainings in the art of focusing my mind to work irrespective of my surroundings. She was the most disruptive. I say this with a lot of love, because I came to appreciate that she would interrupt my studying with lovely snacks, good gossip and humour, and some of the memories I hold on to dearest, but man, sometimes I think back and wonder how I got anything done at all. She told me she was going to disturb me, and she disturbed me every single hour almost. The boys hostel did not stand a chance. I knew then, when she was talking to me in the middle of a practice paper or some such, that earphones would solve everything – but I kept that secret hidden away, employing it the second I got to University.

There, earphones were usually my go-to-DND signal. Within my room, I knew my roommate and I shared a love for our own space, and so wearing earphones meant that we were on full focus mode and in our own private bubbles for a little bit. My love for working with background chatter and sounds I wanted, discovering podcasts and the art of watching TV shows while working – these were learnings from five years of experimenting with things that played while I got on with life. I carried that with me to the UK too, especially since I live with a family – and earphones provide the cut-off from the outside world I sometimes need when I work, and the opportunity to listen to something I want to, instead of perhaps, the construction from a neighbour’s house.

I got used to working with sound of some kind. Even on days I didn’t have my earphones in there was the relentless chatter of the hostel, or the hushed whispers in the library. I lost the ability to work in the silences I was used to – that I grew up on. Till I got back home.

You see, rules don’t change just because I’ve grown. I came back knowing I would only wear earphones if I was in a meeting or watching a YouTube video or some such that would disturb everyone else at home if they heard it. Otherwise the audio from my laptop or phone was fair game. And so, I began to work in silence once more. Yes, my mother disturbed me on occasion, but for the most part, if I was working on something – she understood I was busy. Yet there was silence. No music in the background, no big monitor to multitask on.

Even at night, when my parents went to sleep, given the opportunity to play music and watch something in the background as I completed tasks before logging off for the night – I chose, for an entire month, to go back to working in silence. That has been a discovery and a half, because I thought working with sound had become so hard-wired into my system that I would be unable to concentrate in silence, especially with how much my mind wandered. That’s been useful. It is probably something I will carry with me, and I know has brought some confidence into my system because I no longer lean on the crutch of my earphones to help me focus. My brain doesn’t feel like it needs external stimuli to switch on that mode anymore – and being able to work in the quiet again, comfortably, is something I am thankful for.

And Amma’s conversation in the background too.

Why I Haven’t Written

If you are here expecting a post that outlines genuine concerns that explain why there is nothing new on this blog, you may skip to the end and come back tomorrow. Here is a concise summary to help you on your way: I have convinced myself of multiple reasons to procrastinate writing over the past days, weeks, months, years, and this post chronicles my brain’s observations/attempts to procrastinate once more. I have merely prevented myself from doing this by writing an entire post about the thoughts in my head in real-time as I actively combated the procrastination monkey.

As you are undoubtedly aware, I have not been able to write on this blog continuously or consistently for the past two years. As you are also probably aware, I have grown to accept this and come to terms with it. This has meant understanding that on some days there are no words to write, and no stories to tell, or nothing I wish to share publicly into the void. It has meant giving myself the flexibility of being comfortable with not writing, which is vastly different from the two-three years I spent pushing myself to write. On some days, I query whether I did the right thing in relentlessly pursuing a blogpost everyday, especially if it has robbed me of things to say to the void, or to people in real life. On most other days, I give myself a free pass. I tell myself that writing has become like second nature to me, that because of the two years I wrote, the words will forever flow from my brain. Except, on reflection tonight, I know that is not the case. Words have gotten stuck, and I have become an editor more than I have been writing. I have critiqued drafts and not posted them, going fundamentally against the rules I set out when I started this blog. There have been so many reasons I’ve given myself for a holiday. I’ve written so many posts exactly like this one: for recent examples, see here, here, here, and here. All of them have the same theme with such little pay-off. I explain what’s going on, how I struggle with writing, and make a public commitment to write. Invariably I console myself by saying that I’ve been writing in private. I then go back to my ways and this blog sees no activity for a number of days. Then I come back. This cycle repeats. No constructive writing is done, nor am I wiser for this experience.

Therefore, today, I’ve decided to do something different. I’ve decided not to make a public commitment, but a more private commitment to writing everyday again. You may wonder at this point: Tejas, you’re writing on the blog, surely this is another public commitment? That is absolutely fair. Except, my intentions with this post are not to some audience (that is completely a figment of my imagination, only two people actually read this blog, and I currently live with both of them). This post is intended solely for me. I want to use this space to list every excuse and thought process my brain turned to before churning out what you are reading. My purpose with this is simple. Hopefully, by showing myself what I have thought, future me will rationalise that these thoughts are not constructive for writing, and begin to dismiss them whenever they emerge. This will mean hitting the reset button on a lot of habits that have developed in the two years I have been inactive, but I am certain it can happen.

So let’s get into it. Here’s everything I thought while writing this:

  1. Titles Suck: I have used horrible titles in the past that make posts unsearchable. How am I supposed to know what I have written when I have used the Day #/Date as the title? What have I conveyed? What purpose am I writing for? What is the point of a title if it does not communicate any of this to the audience, or to me? How am I supposed to search my own posts? What should I title this post? Titles Suck.
  2. Writing is Hard: I have written such pointless pieces on this blog. They communicate nothing, nor do they serve any grandiose purpose, despite my lofty ambitions for this blog and from my writing. What should I write today? Do I have anything valuable to say? Do I need to write only if I have something valuable to say? Can this be a journal entry privately instead of a blogpost? Do I need to realign the way I think about writing? Am I just a content creator if I am not writing impact-pieces? Have I ever written for the joy of writing?
  3. Deleting is Easy: It is far too easy to delete something because it does not live up to my expectations. Two keys and it is gone forever. How is the shortcut to delete something so simple, when there is no shortcut to create a piece of work? Oh, but I cannot possibly delete this now, that is hypocritical. Maybe I can save this as a draft and never come back to it, that is definitely the easier option
  4. Where are the Reviews?: Why are you not writing reviews of things you see/read? John Green wrote an entire book called The Anthropocene Reviewed that had the simplest premise, and you could have done it too, on your own blog, just commenting on stuff you have seen/experienced/lived through. Except you didn’t, and he did, and it was the execution of a marvellously simple concept, well done, that made it enjoyable. Why aren’t you writing reviews? Why isn’t this a review post?

And then I started typing, and the words have come out, and for today, this is all I have been able to produce. I know that this is probably a very disorganised post, that makes very little chronological sense (or any sense, to be honest), but this is what my brain has been thinking as it has been typing the words you see. To simplify, I have not written simply for one of three reasons:

  1. I have convinced myself that there is nothing that I am happy to write;
  2. I have convinced myself that what I am writing is far worse than what I could be writing instead – and proceeded to read about what I would rather be writing, instead of writing it – and then never written it [my drafts contain ideas for 10 Longform Essays];
  3. I have convinced myself that I can write at will, and therefore there is no loss that is born out of not writing today because I can come back to it tomorrow – and then never come back tomorrow.

Today, as you can see above, it appears that the excuse I wanted to lean on was #2.

The problem with these, in turn, is plain to see:

  1. If I do not write, it is impossible to say whether or not I will be happy with what I produce – it is only in the act of creating, or creativity, that one can assign value to the process or output. If I decide that irrespective of what I write, it is the fact that I am writing that makes me happy, which is actually the case – and does not need much contemplation – surely, it is easy to be happy just because I am writing. This is tautological and can be expressed more eloquently, so here: Writing makes me happy. That is enough to be writing, rather than finding something I attach “happiness” to be writing about. Therefore, I should be writing.
  2. There is no way to know this unless I write and compare two pieces. I historically do not compare two pieces. Therefore, I should be writing.
  3. I cannot. I am not a natural-born talented writer. I struggled to write essays and had to work on composition prompts relentlessly to find a writing rhythm that I could carry with me into exams when I studied English. I need to exercise my writing muscles if I want to be writing with ease. I struggled with writing the last post and the post before that because I am not someone who can write at will unless I force myself to write so frequently that it becomes an unconscious stream of words pouring out into paper/this void that is the internet. Therefore, I should be writing.

So, it is, therefore, that I am writing this. There is now time blocked off in the calendar to be writing, and a reminder to read this before I do that writing. Tomorrow, I should be writing. Will I be writing? Yes.