By Suma Varughese
When stuck for an idea or an action, take a step and you will find that your way will unfold, says Suma Varughese
Dinner at the Sathes this Sunday evening was a rather subdued affair. For some reason Mom was not her usual ebullient self. There was an air of suppressed tension around her and even the food was not up to par. The rotis were burnt, the veggies lacked salt and the dal was bland. No one dared say a word because Mom looked quite fierce.
Eventually, Dad reached out and gently touched Mom on her shoulder. “Is anything the matter?” he asked.
Mom threw her hands in the air rather dramatically. “I am simply not able to start my book,” she exclaimed. “It’s been a month now. Everyday I sit in front of the computer and nothing, just nothing, comes. I have never been so stuck in my life. I am at my wit’s end. I don’t know what to do.”
“Oh, Mom, I can totally get how you must be feeling. There is a project I am supposed to be presenting at college and I have not been able to get a headstart on it. I have done all the research and everything but somehow am not able to put it in words,” said Avijit.
“I just seem to have lost touch with my muse,” groaned Mom. “And now I am so freaked out that even if she were there I probably would not be able to find her. I am as wound up as a mechanical toy.”
“I think I know what would help,” said Dad, slowly. Mom turned to him with a look of desperation. “Ashwin, if you can help me out of this soup, I will really owe you big.”
“Your wish is my command, madam,” responded Dad, dropping her a little bow. “Where exactly are you stuck? Have you a basic idea of what the book is going to be about?”
“I have the plot in mind but I can’t seem to break into it.” “Why don’t you just write something? Anything? I suspect that you have got so stuck in waiting for the beginning to emerge that the Universe is giving you more and more of stuckness. Remember what the Law of Attraction says? You will get more of what you think and feel, and if you are thinking of being stuck and experiencing frustration, you are setting yourself up for more and more of that.”
“I’ve started and stopped a dozen times.” “Why don’t you just put aside the whole baggage of needing to write the story? Just get into it for fun and write out something, anything. I have a feeling it will trigger off some thought processes that might just help you find your way into your book.” “You think so?” said Mom doubtfully.
“I know so,” said Dad. “The same thing happened to me quite recently. I had to give a speech a couple of days back at one of our professional trainers meet. I could not think of how to begin. Finally, I just decided to write whatever plebian beginning came to mind, and soon it opened up more ideas in my head and I was able to go back and rework the beginning and make it more striking.”
Nisha butted in. “You know, Dad, I went off facebook for a while and then, even though I wanted to write some status updates, nothing would come to my head.”
“You stuck for facebook updates! Ha, I’d like to see that,” scoffed Avijit, for Nisha was known to be an ardent Facebooker.
“It actually happened,” Nisha. “Then one day instead of waiting for something brilliant and original to write, I just wrote some stuff. The moment I started writing, more updates came into my head.”
Exactly,” nodded Dad. “Just starting the process triggers off more juice. Wasn’t it Goethe who said, ‘Whatever you can do, or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, power and magic in it?”
“Wow, that is lovely,” enthused Nisha.
Ajoba butted in. “And this has nothing to do with only writing. It holds good for any enterprise. Waiting around, being indecisive, not wanting to make a choice drains our power. Once we take a step, the Universe itself will support you. You know my friend Nandan?”
“His son, Arun, was laid off from his work almost a year back. The boy was just not willing to compromise on his pay or position and he was not getting anything. The family was getting really worried because money was becoming a concern. Finally, a couple of months back Nandan decided to take up a more modest job than his earlier one. No sooner had he made the decision than a recruitment agency called him with a wonderful offer.”
“Wow,” said Alka.
“True, Baba,” said Dad. “You remember how we dilly-dallied buying the house thinking we did not have enough money. But the moment we decided to buy it, money came from so many different sources!”
Mom got up with a happy grin. “Ashwin and kids, please clear up the table and wash the dishes. Am off to start my book!”
“Not me,” retorted Avijit. “I have my project to start. Dad, you and the girls look into it.”
“Hmmm,” snorted Dad as he cleared the table. “Left with all the work as usual!”
Sathe family fact file: The Sathe family lives in Mumbai and consists of Ashwin Sathe, a trainer and counsellor and Abha Sathe, a writer of children’s books. Ashwin’s parents, known as Aji and Ajoba, stay with them. Ajoba is a retired college professor turned Vedanta teacher. Ashwin and Abha have three children: Avijit (20) an engineering student, Nisha (19) in her second year in college studying Eng Lit and Alka (16) in her class 10.
The family meets every Sunday over dinner, where problems are thrashed out and solutions offered.
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