Daily Prompt: Clean

To echo the utter banality of this response, the messiest thing in my room is, completely predictably, my desk: the prompt came to me while I was at it, and since I always make a dedicated effort for my posts, here is a look at it.

It’s sort of like that one part of my city where the growth always happens, where brand new, quirky, “cutting-edge”  little hubs of culture and creativity pop up, reflecting parts of Western society that we had for so long been deprived of, and satisfying the bated breaths of millennials all over town. It’s the happening place, where every establishment is rich with slices of every major trend, infused with ’90s nostalgia and centuries-old tradition, so that everyone can be at home in some unique little nook. 

That’s what my desk is, because it, not unlike me, suffers from delusions of grandeur. When my family of five moved to our new house, there were quite a few demands that each of us made, classifying them into those that were indispensable (“one of my walls has to be a deep, almost midnight, kind of ultramarine blue”), the ones that could be compromised on (“okay, my balcony has to have diagonal patterned rails”)  and the truly ridiculous ( “so is there any way we can have the entire bathroom covered in chessboard squares? Yes, the ceiling too, I said the entire bathroom”). One of my mandatory requirements was a new study table, and it was gladly provided to all three of us, since my parents were thrilled at the implication that I wanted to sit down and give my academics my undivided attention. And so my desk was delivered in the middle of the night in an old truck, and lifted up the stairs by underpaid workers, knocking against the freshly painted walls and miraculously leaving them unscathed, and unceremoniously planted near my windows (“good lighting is essential for concentration, Mum.”)

The initial tentative motions and loving caresses did wear off after a while; they lasted longer than my awe at the organised system I created for my wardrobe, but were soon overshadowed by my elation at the bright blue corkboard my father helped me drill into the wall. Nevertheless, the general area around my desk continues to be the place I spend most of my time in. 

All my textbooks are “neatly”  arranged according to their importance –  school finals on the top, guidebooks behind them, college guides and question banks on the bottom shelf. Other things that absolutely must be on the topmost shelf are photo frames and my book of writing ideas and my stack of post-it notes and the rubber duck my best friend brought me from Switzerland. Of course I cannot survive without all my no longer functional pens and broken pencil sharpeners and faded rulers.

For easy access in the mornings, I also keep my entire roll of green satin ribbon in the same broken box as my school id, my watch and my huge box of matches, all of this buried under a pile of ten-rupee notes which are the remnants of my trips to school in hastily hailed auto-rickshaws. Inexplicably, a gigantic prescription pad sits next to it, on top of an old journal and adjacent to a book of original preteen poetry and a box of pencils.

Notes from school and question papers for future reference, a bottle of glue, more useless pens and lonely caps of useless pens spill over into the workspace, which now proudly displays chalky white patches- scars from the time I used super glue to repair my five inch heels, minutes before a wedding reception. Two identical hairbands lie unapologetically on the workspace, meticulously placed so that I can find one when I braid my hair before sleep, or so that I can get distracted by them when Chemistry bores me, tie my hair up and run upstairs to enjoy a nice half hour on the treadmill.

The final touch is the constantly changing cycle of fiction books placed in the corner. They are never books I have yet to read; they are favourites or a book I feel particularly connected to that month, or whatever can most easily captivate me just in case I actually find myself engaging in academic pursuits. In short, every single item is meant to lure me away from things that most other people consider important. Even the post-it notes which tell me what to study and when to do it are only present so that I can stare at them, resent their apparent authority, or doodle on them.

As a bonus, whenever I inhabit the rotating chair in front of it, my phone is never far, and it contributes equally to my lack of interest in high school science. Why do you think I’m writing this?

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