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P: Listen, I have something to tell you. I was thinking that here we are, almost a couple. People speak of us as if we are made for each other….
S: But aren’t we? I mean, do you even doubt that?
P: You never let me say my thing….the moment I begin you cut me off. What’s the point, really? I better not say anything. And simply do what I must do.
S: Okay, okay, I won’t interrupt now, go ahead and tell me. Tell me all that is running through that pretty little head of yours. And what about this thing that you must do?
P: I was thinking that while it is true that we are a couple and yes, maybe we are made for each other as everyone says, but we are still two individual people. Very different.
S: So? Everyone is different.
P: But that’s not what I want to say really. You see, there is this thought that has been bothering me for a while now. There is this urge in me, sort of like a deep wish, a deep desire maybe, I don’t know…that I should venture out in the world on my own, alone, find out what more I can be. Not as one part of the “couple”, not as one piece of the “made for each other”. Just me, by myself.
P: Don’t just “hmmm” me, tell me how you feel about this. About what I have just told you.
S: I don’t know…it is all a bit sudden. I need to think about it.
P: But still you must have some initial reaction to it.
S: Well, yes I do…
P: So what is it? Out with it!
S: Are you sure you want to hear? And you won’t mind whatever it is that I say to you?
P: No. I won’t mind, tell me. I am strong enough on the inside.
S: Well, if you say so, sweety! I think it is a foolish idea.
S: See, I told you you may not like it. Why are you pricking me?
P: Okay okay, I won’t react, just go ahead and tell me why you think it is a foolish idea.
S: Well, for one, how will you survive out there? It is a big bad world out there, my dear! You need me.
P: Need you? Why?
S: Don’t you see, there is danger out there. People with daggers, razor-sharp instruments ready to pounce upon you the moment you become vulnerable, the moment you begin to become dull.
P: I have been living with you so for long, you have your sharp teeth too, that razor-sharp blade of yours always ready to shape me into form.
S: Yes, but I do that out of love, my love for you, baby.
P: Love? Is that love?
S: Yes, do you have any doubt? Don’t you see that the whole world thinks we are made for each other?
P: Well, the world says it because they are afraid of your sharp bite. And anyway, it is only “our” little world that says so. The big bad world, as you say it, out there doesn’t care, we are nothing for them. I can very well manage without you, you know.
S: Even with those daggers, swords, blades out there!?!
P: No, not with them. On my own. But of course from time to time I might, I know I will need some help. But if I am strong enough and learn how to take care of myself, I can work with others as partners for the time being, and manage myself very well. Thank you very much!
S: Aha! So you are really hell bent on this “being on my own” thing. You have made up your mind?
S: And what, may I ask, will you do out there “on your own”?
P: I will write.
S: What else can you do? That’s the only thing you know.
P: But what else do I need to know? That’s my thing, my dharma as they say!
S: And will you be taking up a job somewhere as a writer to make your ends meet?
P: I might, for some time. So what?
S: Wouldn’t you be giving up a part of your “own” self when working for another?
P: That will be just to earn my bread. My other or bigger work will be for myself.
S: What other work?
P: To write my own story.
S: Ha….your own story? Who would want to read that?
P: Doesn’t matter. But I need to write, write for myself.
S: Write for yourself….what notions you have!
P: You will not get it, you see. You are just…
S: I am just what? Say it…
P: You with your sharp teeth, your ever-readiness to bite me, to make me smaller….
S: Listen girl, I don’t make you smaller, I make you fit for your work, your dharma as you say!
P: I know I know, you make me ready. But that’s your work. Yes, your dharma! You don’t do it for me, you do it for yourself, to fulfill the very purpose of your existence. Otherwise why is there any need for you at all? Nobody really needs you.
S: You do.
P: I do, because you are here. But if you weren’t I can find other partners to help me get ready. It is I who is the real thing in this partnership that is going on between you and me. Not you. So get that straight, okay!
S: See, how edgy you have already become. That’s because of my constant support to keep you fit and working. Otherwise how will you get all these big ideas about being on your own!?!
P: Whatever….I am not going to argue with you, I have made up my mind. And I am going to go. Out there, to find myself, as they say in all those books I have been marking.
S: Yes, you and your books and those markings! All those big big words!
P: Why are you jealous? Just because you are not really needed by me, is that it?
P: So that’s it then. It is settled. I am getting out of our relationship, out of this confinement, and am ready to explore the world on my own. Ta-ta!
S: What? Right now? You are leaving me right now?
P: Right now is just as good a time as any. So why not now?
S: I know you can survive without me. It is I who needs to think what am I good for anymore.
P: I am sure you will figure something out. Like I did. When I realized that I needed to reinvent myself. To find my true purpose, as all those books say.
S: Aren’t you forgetting something? Who will lead you, out there? You have always been an instrument, not the real doer of things. You are not the ‘real’ writer. You only assist.
P: You are right. But you are also not right.
S: What? How can both things be true at the same time?
P: They can. They can when the instrument realizes that she too is just as real as the real doer of things, the real writer. When the instrument becomes her real self, so to speak.
S: You and your big words! Must be all those big books you have been marking!
P: But don’t you see? There is some great stuff in those big books as you call them. You should stop being so rigid and sharp-tongued and have some flexibility.
S: And how am I supposed to be flexible?
P: I don’t know. But that is your problem, no? You should figure it out. Maybe sometimes one has to break oneself open completely in order to fully see oneself in all one’s parts and pieces. Maybe there are some parts in you that you don’t need anymore now that the world is changing so fast. Maybe you will find that only some parts of you are worth keeping, and maybe just maybe, there might be a new you as a result of all that breakage and reassembly.
S: There you go again…with all those big words from those big books….
P: Whatever….I am willing to do all that it takes to reinvent myself fully, to write my own story, even if it requires me to break myself fully open. If you don’t want to reinvent yourself, I can’t force you. I can only offer advice, that too because we have been together for so long. It is your choice to listen to it or not.
S: Well….Anyway, you better get going now…it is already nearing the time when the owner of this house comes knocking to look for that USB he left here yesterday. What a crackpot of a name it is – USB!
The above conversation between a sharpener called S and a pencil called P was recorded on a rainy night a few years ago, by a reliable micro-recorder hidden in the top drawer of a writer’s desk. Ever since the writer had started doing all his work on the computer, the two ex-lovers S and P had been feeling unappreciated and unnecessary. This led P to some serious introspection, and she finally decided to move out of the confines of the desk and do her own thing. Write out her story. Reinvent herself.
“The Story of a Smartpen formerly known as P” will be out in the book-market soon.
And what happened to the poor, dejected fellow S, you ask? To find out, stay tuned!