I have been fascinated by haikus ever since my Second Year of college, when we were taught to write them. I love the soothing counting of syllables on my fingers and with my tendency for random ramblings loved their conciseness. However, while I always wanted to sink my teeth into the creation of haikus, I never had the time what with projects, life and then Boards. However, a month ago, the perfect opportunity for haikus arose.
I decided to do a collection of 30-odd haikus as part of my application into various Masters programs. I thought that instead of writing cookie cutter essays which indirectly say “Im so awesome! You guys HAVE to take me!”, I’d write a series of haikus about…everything. Doris the typewriter, my love affair with shoes, Anne of Green Gables, my newfound love of baking etc. And so, with the idea in place, and a list of topics in place, all that remained was to actually…write. Which as it always is, is always easier said than done.
So this month, that is what I have done. Write 2 haikus. Take a day’s break. Write 3 haikus. Clean my room. Write a haiku. Watch television. Write 3 haikus. Bake a pie. Talk on the phone. Read a book. Read another book. Daydream about London. Make tea. Make a complicated chocolate/coffee concoction. Sleep. Surf the net. Read some more. Watch movies. I read blogs. And before I knew it, the days were flying, I wasn’t getting any nearer to my haiku deadline, and I was so sick and tired of writing them, I didn’t want to see a pencil, paper, or anything to do with writing. The haikus that had flown from the end of my yellow pencil so effortlessly in the beginning was becoming a burden that I couldn’t carry, and I wanted to give up haikus, give up the thought of Masters and becoming a writer to boot.
I had written in every room, every chair in the house. I had sat on the floor, sprawled on my parents bed, even sat on the kitchen counter and zilch. I listened to every possible genre of music. I tried different notebooks, resorting to a large sketchbook that not only seemed to produce better results but seemed to channel my oh-so talented artistic friends I left behind in Bombay whom I miss all the time. A friend checked on my progress everyday and sometimes I’d resort to lying about my progress just so I wouldn’t have to talk about those damn haikus that I had only myself to blame for. I seriously thought of throwing in the towel and writing a cookie cutter essay in 15 minutes just to get the damn thing over with. I grew to resent the sketchbook filled with scribbled haikus and hid it in a bag which I then hid in a drawer which I then blocked with a very large stuffed elephant. I occupied my head with other things, and tried not to hear pages of a calendar swishing in my head and the clock ticking abnormally loudly.
Finally, in an act of desperation, I did the only thing I could do. I went out. I went out of the house that was haiku taunting me from every corner, and grabbed my sketchbook just in case. I sat in a coffee shop I’d never been to before, fought with a waitress for assuming I was playing hooky from school, watched babies clad in hats and tiny sandals, gave mental makeovers to people walking by, and in between sips of coffee, I wrote. I paid no attention to the time, deadlines, or that it was almost lunchtime. I just wrote, and before I knew it, by the time I reached the dregs of my coffee, I was done. Really done. I had finished all 10 haikus I had to write to complete my deadline of 30-odd haikus, and they were GOOD. They were effortless, and utterly mine. And from the reactions of the people who have read them, they are everything I had wanted them to be when I embarked on my haiku journey a month ago.
That day I slept the most peaceful sleep I had had in a month.
To you-know-who-you-are – Go out. Leave. Take a walk. People watch. It’ll come, you’ll see.