When I read Virginia Woolf’s A Room of one’s own, I thought of what a pleasure it had been to own an alcove of one’s own, in my small Simla home. A space which was my own, where I could keep my books, my favourite pens and some Hindi and English fiction books as well. The small homes in the lower Bazaar had a strange capacity of adjusting to everyone’s needs and dreams. How could a young growing girl, who just had started dreaming, find a pace of her own in such a home. We were lucky if we got as much as an alcove to call our own. So why were my dreams not stifled even when I didn’t have a room of my own? Does it really need a room of one’s own to dream and become? How much space do we want really? My upbringing in a small home taught me many a lesson and foremost among them was that it is your mind which , in reality, is your own space. Though I didn’t know at that time but later on I realised, in the words of Virginia Woolf, I had a mind of my own! There was no space small enough to contain my thoughts. There was “no gate, no lock, no bolt” that anyone could “set upon the freedom of my mind”.
Whenever I would be alone while walking up and down the stairs, going to school, during recess or most of the time when I was put to bed, with sleep miles away from my dreamy eyes, I would be weaving narratives. These narratives were my own world…there was no one to pry upon my mind, as anyone could pry upon the space in the alcove I called my own, but was open to scrutiny by anyone. All that I had experienced during my day’s excursions, my own observations along with the inputs by Amma, would get a new narrative where I would be the mistress of my own world. All the stories that I had heard during the day, even the filmi stories, would get a new interpretation which would be my own, unique and personal. I don’t even remember when and how I was storing all these narratives in my mind. I would go to sleep thinking about some story or happening that I had found intriguing and interesting during the day…and who knows I might have dreamt of the same during the night. And these stories are now finding an outlet! I am so happy to have learnt the art and technique of giving a new narrative to my private experiences in the vast realm of my mind, though on the surface there was not enough space for a girl dreaming of having a “room of her own”!!