This contagion, that has marooned travellers, and has injected paranoia into the world’s nervous system, hasn’t yet forced my words to wear a mask, or stop me from creating a living archive of my love; I feel more pressed, during this quarantine, to wear my literary heart on my sleeve.

The pandemic has hit creatives the most. Writers are not able to publish or sell their books. Writing can take years and we know how much it means to be supported when the writing actually happens. We reached out to writers to find out how writing during the quarantine is working out for them. We were surprised to know that not every writer has a fixed place to write at and it’s not always a writing desk! The writers featured below delve in various genres from Poetry to Fiction and Non-Fiction. Hope their words and photos of their writing spaces will inspire the writer in you. Let’s make most of the time we have now!

  

Nilanjana Roy (Author of The Hundred Names of Darkness and other books)

I work at an old teak dining table, a gift from my mother-in-law. Part of the table is always heaped high with books. Part of it is severely neat. I like Monet, Ma Kali, Agha Shahid Ali, and Manjula Padmanabhan’s giant birds for company. Lola and Jenny, two of my cats, are under the desk but they are shy and like the author, shrink from being photographed. We’re barely at the start of the pandemic, the long pause before we understand just how bad it might be. Sometimes, the long, quiet hours are a gift, the simple repetitions of housework done, I write; sometimes the mind will simply not settle. You’re worried about parents, friends, worried about something nameless and unseen, and then you cannot write a line. The words will not sing.

 

Arjun Rajendran (Author of The Cosmonaut in Herge’s Rocket and other books)

This contagion, that has marooned travellers, and has injected paranoia into the world’s nervous system, hasn’t yet forced my words to wear a mask, or stop me from creating a living archive of my love; I feel more pressed, during this quarantine, to wear my literary heart on my sleeve. 

 

 

  

Abha Iyengar (Author of The Gourd Seller and Other Stories and other books)

 I feel a great silencing. It is quieter. I hear my thoughts better. In this uncertain and tremulous time, my mind settles by writing more.

 

 

Sumana Roy (Author of How I Became a Tree and other books)

 This bed is where I write from — it is land and water, iron and magnet, leaf and debris; it is where I sleep and wake, read and daydream, cry and desire. I never had a writing desk as a child, and I don’t have one now — to have to walk to the table to begin writing would make me feel like a surgeon putting on their coat to perform an operation. Surely writing doesn’t happen like that — the table as a Pavlovian trigger to autostart the act of writing?

 

 

 

Rheea Mukherjee (Author of The Body Myth)

 Quarantine is giving me new perspective, it allows me to see how much life can be filled into a moment, The vastness of time can still be potent enough to find new truths and narratives in a single moment. It’s holding me down too, it’s overwhelming and spectacular at the same time.  At the same time, I realize I need ‘regular’ life to keep me from writing in bursts (the way I normally write, I don’t have a tight routine) I hope to be able to find more moments to write. I feel a lot of old ideas are being coated in new spices, and this marination will be rich. There is no one consistent place that I write at, it’s the veranda, the dining table, the office…

 

 

Aditi Rao (Author of The Fingers Remember and A Kind of Freedom Song)

This isn’t my regular writing desk, but over this period of lockdown I find myself climbing every afternoon to the roof of the house, looking out at the sky and the trees my grandfather planted almost half a century ago, listening to the birds that are (finally!) louder than traffic. Sipping strong chai in a cup I made, sitting on a charpoy on this battered wooden deck, I can feel free and grounded in ways that let me think and work and be.