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Why I Write: Every Situation For Me Becomes A Potential Plot

Gunjan Pant Pandey

Let me give you guys four scenarios from our daily and chaotic lives.

Scenario One: You are stuck in traffic. Mumbai traffic. Cars, buses inching their way. It’s taking you four stops to clear each traffic light. If that’s not bad enough it’s pouring, you’ve just had a long day, it’s getting dark, the 4G connection is pathetic, calls dropping and then there’s the all round honking! Alone in your cab, you are exhausted, frustrated and really BORED!

Scenario Two: An official party is on. You are the “plus one.” Out of the 200 odd people you hardly know three and they too are busy networking in their tired suits, clutching the mandatory white wine. Nibblets are coming in every once in a while. People nod at you politely. Somber music plays in the background lift-like. So it’s not a party. Can anyone blame you if you are thoroughly BORED?

So what happens is that every situation, for me becomes a potential plot. Every situation. There are characters and caricatures strewn around.

Scenario Three: Being a “football mom” you’re on Saturday duty aka taking your kid to early morning practice and then waiting there three hours because it makes no sense driving one-hr home and then coming back again for pick up. Plus the day-long football tournaments where you are the chaperon and cheerleader rolled in one. This has been going on for a year now, and it’s worth it because your child is happy. Mostly it’s fun, not always though. The waiting, the small talk can every once in a while get you mighty BORED!

And last, Scenario Four: Your kid’s birthday bash is in full swing at a hip bowling alley. You’ve spent a fortune on
the custom-made chocolate ganache cake, back presents, games’ line up, decorations and fancy food platters. Just one hour into the show, a teen saunters along and plonks himself on the sofa next to you. Fiddling with his smart phone he goes, “Aunty I BORED! Sigh!”

ALSO READ: Why I Write: Writing Defines My Identity, Choices and Priorities

I am sure all of you have been in at least one of these scenarios or close. I’ve been in all four. The only difference? I am never bored. Like seriously, NEVER. Give me any situation, and I challenge you on that one, seat me in the most, publicly certified “boring” environment and I am telling you I won’t get bored. And I don’t fake.

So why don’t I get bored?

Simple, because I write; blogs, short stories, opinion pieces, features, an odd poem, the works.

So what happens is that every situation, for me becomes a potential plot. Every situation. There are characters and caricatures strewn around. There are storylines and sub- plots playing out in front of me. Teasing me. Goading me. There are expressions and silences to capture and store in my writer’s sub conscious. There are habits and gestures to internalize. It’s just an unending workshop of seeing, feeling, observing and imbibing. There’s plenty of fodder all around to chew on.

Everywhere you look there’s a story playing out, ready to be told. How can you get bored in the midst of so much drama?

Writing permits me to be more than I am. Writing permits me to experience life as any number of strange creations,” said Alice Walker, which is why I am fascinated by the exquisitely dolled up woman at the party ensconced in all the posh brands yet fidgety about her appearance. I am looking hard at that one teen who is sitting alone in a corner furiously typing into his phone while all his friends are high-fiving at the bowling alley. I am vicariously peeping into the dilapidated hut in Dharavi trying to get a feel of what it must be like to slum it out in the nauseating filth and squelch of a throbbing megapolis. I am very keenly observing the young mom fidgeting nervously at the periphery of the football field worried sick that her kid might “lose” his very first football match.

Everywhere you look there’s a story playing out, ready to be told. How can you get bored in the midst of so much drama? Fun person, dull person, excitement, calm, movie, play, coffee morning, shopping, book club meet, beach cleaning, home alone, auto ride, golf course, hotel lobby even just the lift – the world right now has at least 7 billion stories to be told!

As a writer I think I’ve hit the jackpot.

As a writer I can have my pick.

As a writer I can re-tell, twist, fictionalize, factify just about anything.

Looks like just being a writer kind of opens up “infinite possibilities.” It’s a wonderful feeling realising that every
morning. To be able to emote, express and empower through words. That way, isn’t writing actually “about enriching your own life,” like the badshah of writing Stephen King says. So I am going to continue doing exactly that, to “step into a scene and let it drip from my fingertips,” to make sure I am always “drunk on writing so that reality cannot destroy me.” Touche!

ALSO READ: Why I Write: The Process Helps Me Discovers Myself

Gunjan Pant Pande speaks her mind in her short stories, blogs, opinion pieces and poems. When not on mom duty she reads, writes, travels, watches re-runs of stand-ups, photographs, paints, knits, chats up her girl gang and cooks soul food with her twist! The views expressed are the author’s own.

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