My desk has an empty space the size of a calendar. The old one resides in the bin, its edges sticking out, saying goodbye to its home. I clean my cluttered desk, a thin film of dust covering the books I hadn’t read and the tin containing broken bits of incense sticks I had received as a gift. The little orange Ganesha resting between two piles of books stares at me benevolently, wondering when I will explore the path that has been ordained for me. Why am I stubbornly resisting the course charted by the planets at the time of my birth ? The cocktail of genes residing in my body trying to redraw the blueprint of my life.

A new year has arrived and I have a compulsion to sweep all the detritus of the past year away. I throw away crumpled bills and stained receipts; creased pieces of paper holding records of kilograms of rice consumed and packets of detergent used. There’re sweat stained tokens from the library and even a yellowed packet of tissues hiding behind yet another teetering pile of notebooks.

I pause for a moment thinking of the memories of laughter, love, tears and regrets that I had accumulated over the year. What do I do with those? Shall I tuck them within the blank pages of my notebook, to be taken out on a rainy day when I’m in a nostalgic mood. In fact what better way to spend a rainy day – raindrops weaving sensuously down the window pane, the deep baritone of Gulzar’s voice in the air and an encounter with old memories. A chance to experience again the contentment of tasks accomplished and love fulfilled.Or shall I free them, so they can fly away on daring gusts of wind to faraway places, emptying my mind and forcing me to create new ones. Maybe I’ll store those reminiscences in my penholder where they will stay between the pens and brightly coloured pencils, inhaling the fragrance of lead and ink and sharing the space with unused words which have drifted away from my diary.

My desk is cleared. It’s dust free and neat. But it’s not me any more. Let me mess it up a bit, pile up unused notebooks and unopened envelopes; leave imprints of my fingers on the dust coating that tiny corner. Let me free the coils of my headphones from their cover and let them trail all over my pencils. Let me be who I am. Starting a new year with traces of the past swirling around me.






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