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Forwarding Retreat: A Poem About A Writer’s Retreat

Poem: I miraculously found a spot at the writer's retreat. It was an experience that taught me much more than just story telling.

Prioritising myself is never at the top of my list,

For my personal engagements, I procrastinate for eternity before I commit.

And so, four days before the writers’ retreat was scheduled,

I woke up and sent an inquiry to see if I could be included.

A regret note declining my request greeted me next morning,

I simply blamed my ill fate for this and all my life’s failing.

Unexpectedly, a cancellation reopened the door of opportunity,

I somehow had managed to secure a spot to join the community.

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This sudden turn of events impacted my current routine,

A dinner party, a family outing, and chores umpteen.

I was caught unawares and was completely overwhelmed,

Conflicting thoughts surfaced in my mind and tormented.

Even though favourable, it churned my stomach into knots,

The inner voice whispered silently to help me join the dots.

“Dinners and outings, my love, are aplenty and mundane,

This is your one golden chance to learn, so be prudent.”

Alone, I battled my own preconceived notions,

I yearned for a magic potion to help me with my varied emotions.

Dinner parties for colleagues can be cancelled and rescheduled,

Family outings can also be called off or deferred.

None of these banal activities are critical or existential,

I really need to focus and have faith in my potential.

To soar into the sky, I would first have to fly out of the cocoon,

How else could I test if my wings could take me to the moon?

Borrowing a few days from my own life was not forbidden,

Yet deciding to go ahead was agonizing and guilt-ridden.

I felt it would embarrass my husband to invite and then decline,

Giving into societal norms and niceties, I, was about to resign,

Just then a friend called, an intervention divine,

She patiently heard this dilemma of mine.

Thoughtfully she added her two bits,

She told me, “Girl gather your wits.

Do not overrate your contribution and be the sacrificial lamb,

Undoubtedly, you are the family’s pillar, the support, and the jamb,

But learning to live without you is as important to their foundation,

Let your girls know the value of self-freedom, be their inspiration.

Had it been their dad who had to cancel for work-related travel,

Would anyone blink an eye before pounding the gavel?

Then why not you? Think about it carefully my dear friend,

It’s your life and is living it in regret, what you intend?

If not, take the responsibility for your life in your own hands,

The universe has your back and will fulfill your demands.

Release your mind from the shackles of seeking validation,

Do this purely for yourself and let go of your inhibition.

You may or may not become an accomplished writer,

But you will definitely come out stronger and happier.”

My brain shifted into high gear,

I had clarity now, and I would make this “the year”.

The year I unfettered myself from the ho-hum and added variety,

The year I tried several new things until I did the best in my capacity.

I had already done a stint as a writing assistant,

Learned nuances of voiceovers and my voice I lent.

I continued learning my Hindustani classical vocal,

Time to don the writing hat; my decision was unequivocal.

With renewed energy and passion,

I announced my decision with determination.

It was welcomed with smiles and a helping hand in packing,

I was pleasantly surprised by my family’s love and backing.

It’s true then, if you have the will in what you say,

Everything falls in place and you will get a way!

The writers’ retreat by the sea was no more a dream,

My first ever solo trip, a feeling unparalleled and supreme.

The mentor remarked in admiration and shock,

“You have willed this Neeta, come join the flock.”

I had a sleepless night, riddled with anticipation,

The three days ahead were a major aberration.

At the break of dawn with barely any sunlight,

My husband returned, taking the earliest flight,

It comforted me in taking the big step to write,

His reassuring presence was a big delight.

With a quick good bye, I took the cab, wiped off a stray tear,

Yes! I was going to make it a memorable year!

With initial niceties done and greetings exchanged,

We climbed onto the boat that was pre-arranged.

Excitedly, the hopeful writers were transported to the destination,

By a speed boat, on the sea, we had reached our secret location.

The super-fast travel in the speed boat,

The rides in the auto through the village road,

The serenity of the dragonfly cottage where we stayed,

Endless sandy beach, calming notes the waves played,

The random chit-chats and spooky stories of ghosts,

The late-night stroll for ice-cream treats by the coast,

The little beagle Nike I thought of befriending,

The delicious home-cooked meals; are all contending,

For the top spot in my heart to sum up my beautiful experience,

Each one a cherished memory and made a world of difference!

The art of writing was explained well and sounded rather simple,

Create a story arc, add characters, conflict, action, and climax,

Voila! You have a crisp story without a single rumple,

Sigh! But writing wasn’t so easy, it was indeed a mammoth task.

We did a few exercises, some taxing and some to relax,

And in the process, we learned the semantics and syntax.

A well-informed, experienced, and supportive mentor,

Ignited the fire within to believe in oneself and do more.

In a flash, three days of intense training reached its culmination,

I thanked my stars for aligning to help me accomplish this participation.

The super creative bunch of people I met,

Were one of the finest and hard to forget.

A creative producer, a retreat organiser and a blogger,

An investment banker, a software engineer, and a young editor,

A journalist, a brand manager, a content writer,

And my sweet roomie was a many-in-one multi-tasker.

Each one’s knowledge and experience were extraordinary,

Meeting them; I wonder if it was my good karma or pure destiny?

Whatever it may be, one thing is for sure,

It was a great weekend by the sea under skies azure.

It helped me overcome my stranger anxiety,

I learned to write better and sated my curiosity.

The energy of the passionate writers was infectious,

This getaway was special and one of the most precious.

For others it might be a small stepping stone,

But for me, it was a giant leap into the unknown.

I am grateful for the year twenty -twenty- one,

I have adapted and transformed; my time has just begun!

Thank you, Tall Tales, for this golden chance,

I’m all set to tackle the difficulties and advance!

Bring it on, I say, Twenty Twenty Two,

I am revived and refreshed to brave you!

Image Credit: Image by StartUpStockPhotos on Pixabay

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