Tuesday, February 14, 2012

How a delayed flight helped me in overcoming 'writer’s block'

Thanks to the 'extreme' customer service of Indigo airlines, I had to spend at least two extra hours in the airport, not being intimated properly about the delay in flight! Let’s be informed - Indigo believes in personally calling up customers, at any odd hour, than send an SMS. However I'd have appreciated an SMS than a missed call from a weird looking number that I saw on my phone. (BTW, I got to know that commercial calls are cheaper than SMSs). This was the 8.30 AM flight from Hyderabad to Bangalore which eventually took off at 10.10 AM. The reason for delay was a technical glitch for the flight to take off from Jaipur on time. Unfortunately, this is the second time it’s happened to me – both the times with the same flight - what a coincidence! The worst part of the story was my mother calling me soon after I reached the airport to tell me that there was a call on the landline phone from Indigo, probably informing about the delay.

"Had I known about the delay, I would have started late and spent time more productively at home", I cursed myself. This was my instant reaction when I came to know that I missed the call from Indigo on my mobile phone at about 1.43AM when my phone was kept in the other room for charging. Later in the morning, in the midst of hurrying for the early morning trip to the airport, I saw the missed number that seemed strange and completely unidentified. I thought it must be one of those cold calls from the pesky marketeers. So, I didn’t bother to call! Realized my 'mistake', if I could be blamed for not being a good customer!

At the airport, I tried telling the Indigo guys at the boarding counter that they should have sent an SMS and not depended on that call at an odd hour in the night. I frankly don’t know how many people responded to that call. “Okay, now I have so much time, and how do I spend it, there was some kind of irritation at the delay, frustration that I could not pick up that call and so on and on…I was angry at myself because I would be spending double the flight duration to Bangalore, doing nothing worthwhile!”

I took the boarding pass and went through the security check, decided to wander around browsing stuff in some of the shops. But as soon as I went to WH Smith, I felt I should catch up with some recent releases and so on, though I had nothing specific in mind to buy. I looked at the books in sections that interested me and since I had lots of time I really wanted to buy some good books. I purchased “The Game Changers –stories about entrepreneurs from IIT Kharagpur” and some books by Ruskin Bond. Now comes a call from home, “what will you do for so long, if you had known you could have started later, eat your breakfast first, …” that was my mother, over anxious and concerned as usual. After picking up some stuff from the Karachi Bakery and Pulla Reddy Sweets for my people in Bangalore, I headed straight to the Idli Factory, my favourite joint for steaming hot idlis. As soon as I sat at the table, my eyes fell on some interesting quotes on the glass panel there – reading them, I said to myself, “how true!”

Travel can be one of the most rewarding forms of introspection.”– Lawrence Durell
World is a book and those who do not travel read only a page.” – St. Augustine

It’s strange how carefully we notice and observe things which we would not have done otherwise, when there’s ample free time on hand and no hurry whatsoever. As I enjoyed the hot idlis with equally hot sambar, I began to think about my ‘eventful morning’ in a more positive way. The breakfast did me good. I made a note of the quotes on the glass panels and found them so apt; what with my list of places to visit, in India, of course. Somehow this got me introspecting. I didn’t feel like leaving the cozy corner even though I had finished my breakfast. Something in me told me to relax, chill, take it in my stride and not be regretful.

After the breakfast I strolled down to gate number 24 and again checked for the estimated time of departure. Then I looked for a seat on the quieter side of the lounge. Perhaps, I would have never felt this way: even the music that was playing in the background caught my attention and it seemed soothing to my senses. In normal course, I’d have never bothered to listen to it. I wondered, “is my hectic life taking away some of these simple 'pleasures'?” The music was occasionally interrupted by announcements like “Air India announces the departure of its flight to … all passengers are requested to proceed towards gate number 26….etc.” I could see people getting up and moving towards respective gates of their flights.

The agitated mind suddenly changed to a reflective one. Imagine, what a place and time to get seriously thoughtful and think back and forth. Probably that’s the reason my subconscious mind didn’t allow me to do the routine stuff like catching up with the news or browsing on my mobile phone. I was consciously telling myself that I should make proper use of the 'free' time. Most of us must have gone through this – when we begin to introspect, the first things that come to our mind are things that we could not do, what we missed or what could not be achieved. And we begin to speculate and feel bad, guilty about not making use of the opportunities or do things at the right time. My critical problem was my 'writer's block' and it needed immediate treatment. This was the moment I reminded myself of my inability to write, the block that I was trying to clear and compose and publish all the pending blogs and articles. I knew it was not my procrastination, it had to do with the ceasing of clarity of thought, expression and free flowing words. All the while I felt, "I want to write so much, have to say so many things but some unknown 'force' is stopping me and blocking me!"

I seem to have suffered from this 'syndrome' for at least six months now and just couldn’t get down to writing anything cogently, coherently as used to do earlier. I tried different ways of getting over it and failed. My blogs remained as drafts and brainstormed points and ideas sat on my desktop for months. Some write ups never moved from the 'notes' on my mobile phone. Whenever I saw them I felt miserable and guilty. I didn’t know what was happening to my fingers as I wanted to key in the words on my laptop. It seemed as if the fingers are frozen and there was a nervous problem. The mind would brim with ideas and some nice experiences and observations but nothing would get transferred to the readable format. Often, I wished there was some lozenges kind of stuff that would unclog my mind and help me with free flow of words...I longed for that pleasure of putting thoughts into words for that much-needed stress relief and fulfilling the creative urge.

However, the moment I started jotting down the points about my airport incident and began narrating it as it were, I felt a new kind of satisfaction. I was happy to experience the thawing process and the fluidity of words forming into sentences. I was overjoyed and felt like immediately sharing my happiness with my friends with whom I have often cribbed about my block in writing. The expression was natural and I saw this blog taking shape and worth sharing with 'public'. But then, does it mean that I should thank Indigo for indirectly helping me in getting back to my favorite hobby? Yes? Or, no? I'm confused...well, let me not get into this vicious cycle of confusion, muddled thinking, frozen brain and other 'reasons' that sound more like excuses for not writing.


CloudRain said...

Congratulations Madhuri!

Videhi Visali said...

Woah! Very impressive repertoire.. ..very inspiring to see you transform your passion into a profession. Here's wishing you many more intellectual years to come by.