Eavesdropping, Observing, Writing In Cafes

Words free-flowing in the real world, that I had only read before, ‘Workshopped’, ‘freelancer economy’, ‘you must give me your card…’ – a couple of solopreneurs meeting at the coffee shop I’m trying to work in.

The tiniest, cutest Korean mother-daughter duo waiting at the cash counter. (They ordered a fluffy pink icing donut.)

 A few laptops, a ‘premium’ photographer and a few sets of friends on a girl’s afternoon out.

My back is not to the wall, as I prefer, but at least I’m seated at the extreme left of the café, after changing seats twice, by the glass wall overlooking the street. There’s a curious mix of comfort and discomfort built and baked into this experience.

There’s the glare from the truncated sun, there’s all these voices, booms from the kitchen, the clatter of cutlery, phones ringing, friends giggling with each other. Maybe lunch-time was not ideal to come to a café-restaurant?

The quieter, more open bookstore café, my usual haunt, has become a bit boring though. Seems to be a stultifying sameness there today. Still, I always got something or the other done. Something original I mean. It has some positive writerly vibes. Must be all those books nearby. But I wish the café space was actually closer to the book shelves, not at the entrance, parallel to the cash counter, tucked under the stairs.

I’m not at all hungry or even thirsty. What’s the protocol though, is a mug of green tea enough recompense for the time you spend here, the space you occupy? This is after all, a commercial establishment. So do you have to eat even if you’re not hungry? Also, why are there so few non-caffeinated drinks to be found anywhere? A warm drink with no sugar, no caffeine, no lactose – that’s what I actually need.

Why don’t cafés double up as juice bars? With healthful options like, ginger, wheatgrass, acai, tulsi, etc.? And why don’t they make more salads? They should also mandatorily have a library section, like Pink Butter has. A writer friend in Australia actually goes to write in her local public library. Which sounds just ideal, right?

Today was supposed to be a day trip day, in this startling sun that we’re having in the winter cool. It’s like nothing I’ve ever seen. This bright, in what is supposed to be winter, is a gift from the universe. You keep your snow, upper latitudes, give me this delicious winter sun. I’ll take the glare headache in stride.

So I thought at 8 am – Day Trip! But there were so many logistics to manage, so many unknowns, that baby steps were what was actually achievable. So, in this first day of me deciding to live my actual life, I settled for breakfast out – pancakes or bust! That didn’t work out either. It’s cruel to drag one’s tired husband to pancakes at 9 am. So we had a big (boring) breakfast at home.

It’s only then that we set out, to buy office Secret Santa presents. I of course, got me a little something, the most adorable Tweety Bird, but I also helped! I was so useful at picking out the actual present I tell you. I pointed it out and everything!

So now here I am, at our occasional weekend hangout, nursing my green tea and actually longing for my study. I’ve set up everything just right there. I even wrote a little – typed actually – before scurrying off to get ready. It seemed like just the right energies had converged.

Would it be a shame to just up and run away? Go home to my desk? Where I can get something of worth done. Or is this longing an illusion, another of my mind’s ways of putting off writing original fiction? Caught as I am, in a process of constant dissipation of fear and resistance. All part of creative recovery they tell me…

A bit of a waste of a bright day, to go to the dark indoors. When what I actually want is just the bright in my life. (The me, mine life.) To gather these fiery energies to permeate my stilled separate self. To fly in fire…

The universe, it has spoken. Notwithstanding fears, notwithstanding base practicality, I am for the life fecund and free. Just to spin my stories is all.

It is required that I free fall. That I let go of the illusion, the utter falsity of the ‘sensible’ persona I had adopted. Just to let go, that’s my job right now. In this space that become less crowded, a bit quieter, it seems almost possible.

Here, there are people being friends and acquaintances and having actual conversations! That’s worth being near for a while. If only to infuse more life into my made up worlds.

Actually, this is kind of like being at the long forgotten office desk. Since pen and paper are right there, and nothing else, especially not the internet, one can just scribble away. Write in flow.

Not literature yet, but things resembling usable pieces.

Even this blog post is a boon, right?


 (Photo Copyright: Radhika Mukherjee)

2 thoughts on “Eavesdropping, Observing, Writing In Cafes

  1. I read a book once called ‘A Great Place to Live,’ and it suggested we all need a ‘third place’–not home, not work, but another space in which we can relax (and for people like us, write)… It sounds like you’re trying to find your ‘third place’…

    And I once lived in a town with a library that provided coffee and fresh chocolate chip cookies! Now THAT was a writing spot!!!

    Lovely post—


    Liked by 1 person

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