April 30, 2015

Making Notes From My New Desk

I am finally writing on a proper desk after a considerable length of time; we bought it in a furniture market called Panchkuyian, where I told the shopkeeper that I wanted a desk where I could write a book. I had had my heart set on something a bit vintage-y and antique-pretty but settled on a more functional desk for the time being instead. When we finished paying for it, the shopkeeper wished me luck for my thesis. "Book," I said a little wryly, thinking of my long-vanished academic persona and that the last time I wrote anything remotely resembling a thesis was a good many years ago. "All the best for your thesis," he repeated. Thesis, it is.

I like a desk which has acres of space but isn't too empty; there should be a few objects populating it, adding color and character and whimsy to the deskscape.

Here are the objects:

There is an old passport-sized picture of my husband taken several years ago, a postcard of a mad crazily patterned turmeric yellow door I picked from up an art gallery, a blue glass cube I bought at a Cambridge street market, two silver floral appliques from Jodhpur (I don't know why I bought them when I can't sew to save my life - perhaps, to use in a painting?), an intricately gold patterned and red-interiored square Persian jewelry box, which can't fit on my dressing table and has migrated over here, my journals (the ones I write in anyway; the empty ones share shelf space with my books), and a miniature art painting of two impressively dressed storm-colored elephants propped upon against the window.

Two Elephants

This painting has been wrought in the Udaipur school of miniature painting and I bought it from an artist called Mukesh at Dilli Haat, which is increasingly becoming my one-stop shopping location for traditional handicrafts, fun fabric clutches and bags, and my new sartorial obsession: palazzos (*so* ideal to wear in the heat!) The painter also painted a tiny black red caparisoned elephant on my thumb-nail. I have never been much for nail art but this was one was literally so and I spent the next few days admiring the snazzy little elephant on my nail!

Explosion of a Sunset
I experienced a sudden urge to revive my water-color painting skills this summer so my pen-stand contains three brushes, a pen (which works), and a faded dark pink rose, which I still haven't got rid of, thinking it will somehow find its way into one of my Instagram stories. So far, it hasn't.

I love the fact that my desk sits against the window; even though the view consists of faded puce-colored apartment facades, air-conditioners, a couple of trees, scores of birds (pigeons mostly) either flying across the sky or dancing or fighting on the grilles veiling the window, there is nevertheless still always something to see. I don't need a moodboard or a TV or a laptop wallpaper: I have my very own window screen.

My visual notes so far:

I see pigeons having a drink from the round black stone bowl of water affixed to the corner of a balcony.. 

There is a plucky little peepal seedling sprouting from the roof of one of the apartment buildings. If the day is clear and I see it at noon, I can see the plastic glossiness of its brand new leaves.

The chipmunk-like squirrels constantly run up and down the branches, nibble at the leaves, or have a snooze.

The kachnar tree whom I write about in my previous post has lost all its leaves and flowers; it sits there baldly, bit embarrassedly, a winter alien in this summer clothedness.

A woman in a purple salwar kameez and hennaed hair comes out to hang clothes on her balcony; she shares visual space with a fuchsia and white bougainvillea, numerous plants in blue and white ceramic pots, and marigolds.

I love writing at my desk. It also reminds me of this great Jhumpa Lahiri piece in which she writes that when she became a writer, her desk became home; there was no need of another. I wouldn't go as far as to say that but there is no doubt that it has swiftly become one of my most favorite spots in my house - and needless, even prosaically to say, I am getting far more writing accomplished here than before.

Care to share your desk notes? I would love to hear!


  1. Aww! So glad that you finally got your writing desk! I was at Gupta market yesterday and saw an amazing vintage roll top writing desk.... I instantly thought of you and here you are with a post already!... Telepathy!!!??... loving the colors..can't wait to see it all come together :)

    1. Wow, telepathy indeed...and that desk sounds so pretty! Actually, as I say in the post as well, I too wanted something just along the lines of what you describe...but the need for *a* desk outweighed the one for a pretty one:P Glad you like the colors! Now I just need to add some (fresh, not fading;) flowers to the mix!

    2. PS Thank you for your tip about Panchkuyian too!!

  2. Hahaha! You are welcome :) That reminds me I should make a trip soon.... My hands are itching for some desi brass decor! :P


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