A Desk of One’s Own

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If you are like us and millions of other people across the world, you’re still ‘working remotely’. Do you have a carefully curated workstation? Or are you just being comfy and working from your bed sipping on those multiple mugs of coffee? Do you have a fab view or a needy cat that won’t leave your lap? The space where one writes really affects our state of mind and plays a big role in our well-being, creativity, and ultimately our productivity.

This week we asked six of our authors to tell us what their writing and/or work setup looks like. Working through the pandemic has been tough for many of us, especially women. And if you’re feeling the blues and looking for some aesthetic inspo, or even a slight nudge to go finish up that writing project, our authors’ workspaces will surely do the trick!

Aastha Aatray


My table is where I spend most of my day. So it needs to have a variety of knick-knacks. Of course, there is my Mac and my specs! But also it has the books that I have to remind myself I need to read, along with the ones I am already reading. It has diaries which are full of doodles and work jottings. I also have a radio full of retro Bollywood songs, which take me away to dreamland. And a mug with a snippet of Virginia Woolf, which I bought from Camden in London, and I drink my tea in.


The frame above is my favorite, as it’s like the one Fox Moulder had above his desk in the show, X-Files. I believe in the philosophy, and it’s always helped me—I believe it’s all going to work out. All of this makes my desk a place where I can be creative at, and also conducive to me just drifting away with my thoughts.


Tashan Mehta


I moved to Goa last year and now do my thinking and writing from the bed, where I can stare at the startling greenery. The openness helps me think, and there’s a slowness to this spot – the quiet, the bird calls, the soothing complexity of nature within reach – that enriches the writing.


You can lose time here, and there are very few places that give you that privilege. 


Samhita Arni


My workstation: Space for computer, coffee mug, pictures of family, and most important space for the cat to curl and be petted while I write. It’s always messy and cluttered, just like my brain, but I believe that chaos helps creativity :-)


I also have a picture of my brother and myself when we were small (I am 5 in the picture, and he is 1) and that always reminds me to get out of my serious adult self and be playful.


Tarana Khan


My desk (I can never call it a work station) belonged to my grandfather in law who was the Chief Engineer and later Chief Secretary for the Nawab of Rampur. This desk was specially designed for him by the royal carpenter, probably in the 1930s, and I like to think of ‘Chief Sahab’ in his office sitting on the desk with his munshi typing away on the old Remington at his droning dictation.

It has two pillars on which the curved desktop is set and there is a panel to rest the wrists and scribble notes. My work schedule begins at 9 am on the desk with a black coffee by my side and my beagle at my feet.


Vibha Batra


Workstation? Exhibit A: Is it a desk? Is it a library? It’s a peacekeeping arrangement with The Toddler. Which is why my laptop and books share space with Peppa Pig and The Gruffalo. 

How do I schedule my writing sessions? Schedule? Got to love the optimism. Because my day is a mad whirl of obsessing over the colour/consistency/frequency of poop (the toddler’s, that is), battling hunger pangs (my own), apportioning blame for everything that goes wrong (The Hubby), misleading account executives at the ad agency (“Am sending the copy any minute now”), scrolling through my Instagram feed (“Ooh, KKK has posted another pic of Taimur!”), and writing furiously (only in my head), wondering when I can transfer the ms (manuscript) to MS (Word).


Kavita Devgan


So this is my work station on most days, and on lazy days it can be any corner of the house from the bed to the balcony to a couch in the living room. Here I have a lot of books which I like to keep at arm’s length as I am known to suddenly stop writing and start reading 😊

I also have a pencil and pad always next to the laptop as I often switch to writing the old fashioned way. The Ganesh Ji and my favourite Buddha figurine – keep me calm and strong.

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