The other day, my husband asked me why I had stopped penning my thoughts. He has been asking this question on and off for the past couple of years or so. But this time he meant business. “Why have you stopped writing ? You were a much happier person when you wrote regularly. “ I know this is true – I actually WAS much happier when I wrote ( or rather vented ) regularly. I still can’t bring myself to say “writer” . Isn’t the whole world and it’s cousin, a “writer” nowadays?
So, let me a bit methodical and do a meticulous dissection of this beast in front of me. What are the reasons? Several come up, one by one.
The long and tiresome publishing process of my book wrung me out a bit and well, drained the creative juices out of me.
I just wasn’t comfortable promoting the book . Once my husband forwarded it’s promotional link to a friend twice in a day by mistake…and I squirmed! I guess I just don’t have it in me- the quality of self promotion. The whole process felt completely out of sync with my inherent make-up and when we do something that’s out of character, the “happy” cells inside us freeze a bit. Don’t they?
We moved homes around that same time. I shifted the computer to the master bedroom, where we also have the television, and the general bonhomie happens in that room only. The result of this is that there is considerably lesser “me” time and “silent” time with the computer. If you strive to be a conscientious parent, you have to be prepared to make some sacrifices, right?
Then, we moved cities, rather, states. The whole procedure of packing, travelling, heaving yourself and the household to another place thousands of miles away, trying to settle down once again in a new place, is easier said than done-to put it VERY mildly. But that is now a part and parcel of one’s life in the armed forces.
When you don’t do something regularly, your natural flare for that thing takes a backseat. Inhibitions creep in. The need for setting boundaries appears out of nowhere. You think, “I want to write a short story about a woman in a bad marriage” or “ a coming of age poem about a person” and so on. But you also want to hang a banner that says ,“ Disclaimer – This is NOT about me or my life ! “ Every person who writes, makes herself vulnerable to the readers. Readers, who may think that the writer has lifted from her own life. Whereas, the writer could be writing about her neighbour’s neighbour! I didn’t have this hesitation earlier. It appeared . And now thankfully, it is on it’s way out.
So, I hope to start “Venting “again. And hope to start writing about the various people that I see around. Their joys, travails, passions. Heck, I will write like I used to and want to. Soon.
©Sapna 6th Mar ’20
From the archives:
Hope to get back to that uninhibited frame of mind where one wrote whatever came to mind… about whomever, wherever, someone, noone….
Aaaaahhhhh…..Yes, this sound is emanating from me, right here. Now please don’t go all prudish on me if this sounds suspiciously orgasm-like. I assure you , me as decent as they make, no public voyeurism for me. Never. This is an “Aaaahhhhhhh” of jubiliation, of relief, of having done something that one has been wanting to do for a long time. Let me explain. I’ll need to do some husband bashing here. Read on.
Mellow, is not a word that anyone can use to describe my husband. “ Firecracker “ is more in tune with his personality. Sometimes, more like “RDX”. At times, I do look at him wearily and say “How DO you expect me to handle someone like YOU?” Had I been someone with hidden ambitions of “training” the husband, I would have looked like a deflated balloon by now. By the way,what is the opposite word for “Henpecked” ? If you know the word, please tell me too. I’ll put that label on his person. Yes, I do have such quirky dreams – where I stick labels like this on him. Let’s get back to the “firecracker” part. Oh yes, he erupts like it’s “Guy Fawkes Day” from time to time. If you say one sharp/rude word to him, he will sting you like a bee. If you step on his toes-meaning,if you mess with him- well, the bee turns into a scorpion.
At first glance, I seem to be no match for all this ferociousness. But, marriage to him seems to have awakened the lioness in me. I put up an equal fight, you can bet on that. Hey, are you guys feeling bad for me? Don’t! With this overdose of passionate outbursts, also comes a bountiful supply of love, benevolence and affection. And a husband who always tells his wife to not take nonsense of any kind from anyone. I have become more relaxed as a person , being with him. That speaks a lot about him as a husband. BUT. I have still had a burning desire to scold him to my heart’s content , for a long time now. (As in, a proper scolding, when he can’t utter a word himself.). JUST ONCE, for god’s sake! And I was granted my wish a few days back.
We moved into our new house in this station last month. I have been literally pulling at my hairs at times, so overwhelming this fauji-like-a- gypsy life can be! The details are for another article. Let me just replay a conversation to you. I phoned him in the afternoon, almost at my wits’ end – handling two kids in summer-holidays-mode AND setting up a new home from scratch is not child’s play after all.
Me : Will you help me get the servant room in some decent shape today? We need to arrange the trunks and clear some space.
Him : Nah. I will be going for golf.
( This is being said in a very happy voice, mind you. )
Me : Ok. Bye.
I sighed, braced myself and started thinking of the job in hand. The phone rings. It’s him. Completely oblivious to the stress that I am beginning to feel.
Me : Hello…
Him : ( Giggling) Hi, Sapna! So and so is saying – Sir, you have moved into your new house and haven’t invited us for pakoras. When can we come over? ( Giggling again- infectious and heart touching boyish happiness )
Me : ( The flood gates have opened.) Yes, definitely. But I need you to help me. There are certain things that can’t be done without your help and inputs.
Him : Arey, you will be able to do it, I am sure.
Me : ( The flood gates have been demolished by now with the force of emotion )Why do you always think that I have some kind of a magic wand , and can handle everything?
Him : ( Silence )
Me : I have had it up to HERE ( touching my throat ) , in setting up this house, with these damn trunks, cartons, and what have-you-not. I just asked you for ONE evening of yours and you denied me even that. ( I do plead guilty here, of exaggerating things a wee bit )
Him : ( Silence )
Me : ( Breathing heavily )
Him : Chalo, we’ll talk once I get home.
Now THIS , is not normal behaviour on his part. Because whatever you give him, he gives it back in manifolds. If it is love, you will be showered with copious amounts of it. If you sulk, your attempt at showing childish behaviour will be ignored and thwarted in cold blood.If you “Scold”,well, there’s going to be a nuclear blast for sure. This particular day, however,the firecracker couldn’t explode because he was in his office and his junior happened to be sitting nearby. Hurrraaayyyyy! So is THAT the trick? I just need to catch him at his office. Sure enough, I gloated over my discovery. When he came back home, I blocked his way at the main door and let out an “ AAAAAHHHHHHH” ( completely Chandler-like ) . He knows this sound by now and understood why it had emanated from me just then.
Me : It was wonderful! I’ve never felt like this before.
Him : ( Silence )
Me : You’ve made me go into raptures of joy. Thank you.
Him : ( Trying to look angry )
Me : I feel so relaxed. Let’s do this more often.
Him : ( Glancing sideways at me )
Me : What are you thinking about, you dirty mind? What I mean is, whenever I want to scold you, I just need to call you up at your office and vent to my heart’s content.
Him : ( Can’t hold out any longer and breaking into a sheepish grin, crushes my arm in a side hug.)
To cut a long story short, he didn’t stay at home after lunch and did go for his golf session. The room that needs to be overhauled is still a mess. But so happy I was with my achievement-of-a-lifetime; that I didn’t mind his absence at all. I have SCOLDED the firecracker and he in turn didn’t utter a word. Not even a mild sizzle.
” AAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHH !! ”
© Sapna Dhyani 19th June ‘19
All of us need to see our very own ‘ Aaftaab’ from time to time; to know that in the daily grind of life, there is someone up there who is looking after us. That faith is reassuring .
(Am thrilled to bits!!! My poem being recited by THE Maestro Vineet Panchhi
Dosto, aaj pesh-e-khidmat hai, ik aisi kavita jo ummeed se bhari hui hai. “Mere Tumhaare Jugnu” was shared with us by @Sapna Dhyani. We are so fortunate that we have been able to bring these beautiful poems to you. Poems such as these that fill our day with hope, happiness and optimism.
Thank you @Sapna Dhyani for sharing this lovely piece with us- ” Raho baaz ki tarah unmukt…”
We are humbled!
Here is the YouTube link- https://youtu.be/C9gXii_Si_Q
I was six years old, rushing back home for lunch. I’d been playing at a friend’s place and had to cross a small playground to reach back home. Running at full speed, I suddenly doubled over as a black snake appeared right before me. I ran back to my friend’s place and howled and howled! My mother had to come and fetch me from the friend’s house. She couldn’t convince me to eat a single morsel of food that entire day. All I could see that day was the snake’s forked tongue darting in and out of his mouth. Ever since that day, I have detested the species vehemently.
A week back, this monster that you see in the attached picture was hanging on a potted plant in our front verandah, right next to the main door. Mind you, I am not the one who took the picture!
Felt like sharing a chapter from my book #atrunkfullofsunshine It is about another friend of this monster.
LOOK, YOU HAVE A GUEST HIDING UNDER YOUR BED
Every night before I sleep, I get down on all fours on the floor and look under the bed. I crane my neck to check under all the curves and grooves of the beds. This is a practice that I have been following for the past ten years. I can cross my heart and proudly say that in these past ten years, there hasn’t been a single day, when I didn’t do the “BED CHECK” routine. Even when I was fresh in the throes of the adventure called “Slip disc”, I did it, with my neck brace, creaking bones and all. I would wait for the husband to go out of the room for some errand, quickly do the “bed check” and climb back on the bed again before he could come back. This, when I was on COMPLETE bed rest for one month, and my husband had specially come down on leave to take care of me and the kids. Hey, do I see some of you shaking your heads and feeling sorry for my “condition”? Wait, don’t come out with the diagnosis yet. There is more to come. I check under the beds in the guest rooms and the hotel rooms too, when we go for holidays. In short, no bed worth it’s underbelly has remained unscrutinised by me for ten years now. If the kids, their Dad or I must sleep on it, well, the bed has to undergo thorough examination.
So, I bet by now some of you have already passed the verdict. “She needs help”, “She has O.C.D.”, “How does she deal with it?” “The poor woman! May God bless her!” Well, I assure you that I am not a patient of the above-mentioned condition. Most people find me as easy going as they make them. “Why then?” you might ask. My answer is “it’s all because of the fauji houses”. The army accommodations that I have been living in, are the real culprits here. Let me enlighten you with the whole sordid story.
Cantonments are known for being lush green areas, full of trees and shrubs of all kinds. To preserve the cover of greenery, the houses are planned in such a way that the land behind every house has thick plantation which soon becomes home to many birds, insects and animals. Hence, every cantonment has creatures like monkeys, snakes, mongooses, giant lizards etc living in its premises. Every single person who has ever lived inside a cantonment will have a few “animal” stories to share. After a while, we all get used to the presence of the creepy crawlies and four legged creatures co-existing with us. Our nonchalant attitude towards these creatures, surprises many. My maids, for example, think that I am made of some superior quality stuff because nothing fazes me. They shriek in horror while I casually manoeuvre lizards, frogs, cockroaches, mice etc out of the door; wielding various weapons, from brooms, to bathroom wipers, to badminton rackets and more, with elan. They look at me in admiration when I am engrossed in such acts of bravery. For me, it’s just a normal day, with normal happenings. Ahem!
We were living in the Dehradun cantonment nine years back. My elder daughter was ten months old and was a very active infant. She would roll over the whole bed and managed to fall twice. Alarmed, we decided to change the sleeping arrangement. The beds were removed from the room and the mattresses were arranged on the floor. We started sleeping on the floor to keep our child safe from injury. This arrangement continued for a couple of months and then one fine day, a bombshell was dropped on me. My husband’s sahayak informed me that he had seen a black cobra sitting on the sofa in our living room the previous evening. Before it could be caught, it slithered away beneath the tall glass doors of our living room. Needless to say, the sleeping arrangement got back to how it was earlier, on the beds. We insulated the lower parts of all the doors leading outside the house, with rubber sheets, thus sealing the gaps. Insecticides were sprayed outside as well as inside the house to keep all the creepies and crawlies away. I was mortified that we had been sleeping on the floor all this while, when there was this fearsome snake living around us. I started checking under the bed each night before we went to bed and the habit has stuck with me after all these years.
And so, every night I do the “Bed check” and only then switch the lights off. It’s a daily scene in our home. I get down on all fours on the floor and my husband tells the kids loudly, “Look, Mamma is searching for pythons.” I glare at him or even smirk, depending on my mood and continue with my inspection. As for the admiring maids, well, I will ask you to not spill the beans on me. I kind of like the adulation. I mean, who doesn’t want to be thought of as a super woman? One fine day, I’ll get a cape custom-made for myself and give them a divine discourse on being brave. Ssshhh, let’s just keep it that way, shall we? They don’t know about the snake incident and my reaction to it. They haven’t seen me do the “Bed check”!
© Aug 2018 Sapna Dhyani
A review of my book by Goodreads’ #1 Book Reviewer, Archit Ojha, a young super achiever. Thank you Archit, for this heartening and honest review.#atrunkfullofsunshine
Read the full review here : https://thisandthatbooks.wordpress.com/2018/04/13/a-trunk-full-of-sunshine-by-sapna-dhyani-devrani/
I have never really understood this age business. What is really meant by “acting your age”? Being restrained in your behaviour? or looking serious and sombre, to be taken seriously? Well I have seen these qualities in some 20 year olds and let me tell you, there is one word to describe them- morose. Yes, many people do develop a certain persona with the passage of time and exude an air of sophistication; but I always wonder, isn’t he/she feeling stifled inside? By controlling every word, expression, smile, laugh, body movements etc, isn’t the person heading for an empty life eventually? Hey , If that sounded too “pseudo”, lemme put it simply. I always wonder to myself – this person has every word, action, reaction measured; as if he/she is always on a stage, performing- when is the explosion/blast gonna take place? And if the blast doesn’t happen, then surely they will end up becoming insufferable and disgruntled- a real pain to be around?
Acting your age- Does it mean dressing a certain way and foregoing the teenage-ish type of clothes? But really, it’s more about how one carries an outfit. I wear the dresses that used to fit me like a glove till about 2 years back; and now I have got them altered to fit my currently-a-“wee”-bit-heavier ( 😉 😉 ) frame. And I don’t feel self-conscious wearing them. Should I? I know I am not svelte nowadays, but the point is, I absolutely love wearing them. According to me, that should sum it up- do what you want to and say what you think. That’s like “acting yourself”; and when you are acting yourself, you are acting your age!
I have also never understood the concept of lying about one’s age. Hey, if I say that I am 38 instead of 39; would that make me a tad bit more attractive, or would it increase the desirability quotient? How’s that gonna increase my worth? To all the girls out there, any age that you are in, is quite fine. Many people are wistful about their 20’s and hate the fact that they are fast approaching mid-life. I too look back fondly at the bygone days ; but hey, I am quite ok in my present life too. The clarity that I have now, about certain beliefs of mine; was simply not there earlier. And I am more than happy with the present unselfconscious “me”, a state that was reached after years of gaining experience and understanding
In the arena of life, you win some and you lose some; but you always gain something. And what have I gained? Well I have gained a state of mind where I don’t understand the term “acting your age”. Do you?
© April 2018 Sapna Dhyani Devrani
I got introduced to Rama Vani by Tej, a common friend of ours. A positive, humble and proactive person- she has been a joy to collaborate with. Please go ahead and read the review done by her. If you are interested in reading my book, the link to the place you can buy it from is given below :
A few excerpts from the review:
The book comprises real life incidents and memories narrated with a myriad of emotions. The author gives a glimpse of the life of the families in the fauji(army). The scenes from the parties at the officer’s mess,the saga of shifting to cantonment houses one after the other and the pain in missing old friends, neighbors, the army officer’s home coming – more like an extract from the author’s personal diary – beautifully written.I was able to relate a few incidents she’s narrated about the kids and their morning school going odyssey.
The author has used a language that’s crisp and clear,with a tinge of humor.The usage of a few colloquial terms gives a sense of realism.Her style of narration is simple,straightforward and follows a non-linear style and that doesn’t impact the reading experience. Sapna’s memories are put in to tiny little chapters and the book comprises a total of 27 such chapters. This makes an interesting read and you can very well finish it in one-go.
For a maiden attempt at book writing, the author has delivered a short,but a beautiful piece. I’d recommend this book if you want a easy-breezy read and to let your lips curve to a smile. May we get more to see more from her writing desk.?