The Orchard of Possibilities

(I attended a Writers Retreat organised by Paper House, an organisation founded by two amazing people, Tara Khandelwal and Mahima Sood. The venue was Shilla Treks, an apple orchard in the hills. It was an unforgettable experience and I came back raring to write. I tried to pen a conventional post about my experiences there but the Words took over and wrote their own version)


There were eleven wordsmiths at the Orchard of Possibilities. They were like pebbles on a beach, seemingly alike but of different shapes, sizes and temperament. They arrived on a clear day, welcomed by a freshly washed blue sky and the soothing melody of silence. The cool mountain air brushed the weariness from minds and the warmth of the welcome loosened the bands constricting their hearts. The words loved these magicians who conjured up entire worlds and ecosystems out of thin air; who created glass palaces under aquamarine waters, gritty crime scenes with splattered blood and grime, dingy hallways redolent of the anguish of broken dreams and the smell of defeat, and delved into ordinary lives and extracted moments of exquisite beauty. The magicians used words like the most valuable gold dust.

The mountains were silent witnesses to these words that swirled around as pale wraiths of mist on a foggy morning. The words swarmed over blades of grass, weathered rooftops, pale brown cobblestones and apple trees until a confetti of deconstructed sentences festooned every available surface. They jumped over the valley and bathed in the colour diffused from rainbows. The words never got a moment’s rest; slipping and sliding over tongues and alighting on the curves of ears. Then off they went, perched jauntily on ideas that floated on dust motes. They tumbled madly around Sirius, the resident canine who was an expert at capturing hearts. Adjectives kissed his wet nose and sped away while commas and question marks got entangled in his furry coat. Endearments coyly settled around his neck while Sirius gambolled around in glee.

The words clamoured to be with the disparate creatures who bonded over literary discussions, cigarette smoke and countless cups of tea. Their bloodshot eyes spoke of conversations that ranged far into the night and the delight of finding solace from strangers who became friends for life. Poems were recited under starry skies, stories were read aloud. Thoughts and ideas, though hesitantly aired initially, were soon zinging around on wings of acceptance.

The cold evenings spent around golden flames of the bonfire saw the words battling with glowing embers, the dark velvet of night a silent witness. The embers died down but the words lived on forever.

Soon it was time to leave this idyllic haven and trudge back to reality. They left with heavy hearts, but their minds had found new worlds to explore and new paths to follow. The words left with them, snuggled cosily between the papers of their notebooks.

The Orchard hunkered down with a deep sigh. Soon a heavy blanket of snow would envelop it, refresh its weary soul and leave it fresh for a new batch of wordsmiths.



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