Order in chaos

April 30, 2010

Even as a little girl I was chided for having no concept of order, a.k.a, a messy desk.

Here’s how it went down: mom would threaten to throw all my “junk.” I would grudgingly clean my desk — organize the shelves, throw the scraps of paper lying around, align the text books, stow away the paintbrushes, and gingerly clear the wax sculptures I’d created during power outages.

Mom would wander in a couple of hours later and say, “Finally I can see the wood! Why do you have to live like a pig?”

I’d roll my eyes.

A month later the drama would be repeated.

clean your mes2 Order in chaos

Why didn’t I just keep my desk clean? Because the piles reminded me of all the things I needed to do.

And all the things I’d accomplished.

I knew exactly where my things were under that mound of of magazines, textbooks, notebooks and knickknacks!

I could pull relevant documents in the blink of an eye when my desk was in disarray.

My parents didn’t understand it.

Neither did my friends — always volunteering to help me clean up.

The mess that enraged them, nourished me.

I felt comfortable with the “chaotic display of sheer laziness.”

Then one evening mom declared that if I didn’t get my act together, she would throw everything on the desk out the door.

I had two hours.


She was just trying to scare me.

She wouldn’t dare.

Confident in the knowledge that she was bluffing, I went out to play with my friends.

An hour later, dripping in sweat, I returned to disturbing calmness.

She was peeling carrots; watching the news intently.

She ignored my entrance.

Didn’t utter a word even as I guzzled water directly from a bottle.

Even her eyebrow muscles didn’t twitch.

Something was wrong.

I entered my room.

A gasp.

The desk was spotless.

Stripped of my identity.

Stark. Bare. Naked in its cleanliness.

I turned to look at her. The carrots were done.

She was ripping off cauliflower florets from the base.

I bolted out of the house.

There, by the entrance, were two big plastic bags. How had I missed them walking in?

My Archies comics were peeking out, stained with blue Chelpark ink — the pot presumably breaking on impact.

I imagined her clearing my clutter with two giant swoops.

Just like that.

She had sent the message loud and clear.

She would not tolerate a messy desk.

The only way I could keep it clean, though, was by not using it.

I started reading in bed.

Writing, too …  my notebook resting on a pillow in my lap.

I painted watercolors infrequently — stooping down on the cement floor killed my back.

The desk was always sparkling now.

The chaos — a fading memory.

My life was pretty “ordered” that day forward.

Today my clean desk at work is a sign of impeccable professionalism.

And reminds me that I am an adult.

Then last week one of my blog readers suggested I give this site some order. A flood of memories came rushing back.

She suggested having themes. Or designating topics for specific days of the week.

Magical Mondays, Trivia Tuesdays, Wordless Wednesdays, Thoughtful Thursdays, Feisty Fridays.

She said it would create more loyalty in my readers.

I couldn’t entertain the idea.

And then I realized why.

This Web space symbolizes my desk.

I come to it every day — spend quality time.

It’s where I think.

It’s where I am creative.

It’s where I write and read and discuss.

It’s where I can be me.

And I don’t want to unclutter it.

I like how it allows me to spontaneous.

I love how it is a mishmash of everything my brain churns out.

I enjoy its unordered nature. The chaos. The surprise.

And I take comfort in it.

So, I ask you readers to continue coming back.

For who knows what journey we will embark on together next week? icon smile Order in chaos

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dp seal trans 16x16 Order in chaosCopyright secured by Digiprove © 2010 Mansi Bhatia

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17 Responses to Order in chaos

  1. VyankateshNo Gravatar on April 30, 2010 at 4:06 am

    A cluttered desk would represent the many things on our mind!! And the things stay back – to enable us to cherish our wonderful memories. These wonderful memories give us comfort and love when we need it the most!! That’s why we manage to pull them out – quite easily – as you mentioned.

    Good Post Mansi!!

    • MansiNo Gravatar on May 1, 2010 at 5:14 pm

      Thanks, Vyankatesh.

  2. PrashNo Gravatar on April 30, 2010 at 11:10 am


    Your views about chaos and mess resemble those of my wife’s. I still remember this one picture of her when we were still sort-a-dating, it was a pic snapped in her hostel room. She was looking so pretty. And all of the room was tidied up…EXCEPT the sheet on her bed wasn’t large enough to hang down and cover up all the mess that was created by shoving stuff underneath for the click:-):-)

    We still get a good laugh out of that!

    • MansiNo Gravatar on May 1, 2010 at 5:17 pm

      That’s hilarious, Prash. I used to stuff my mess for the longest time in drawers but then there’s only so much drawers can hold! Never tried the sheet cover up — that would have been a lot easier!! Glad this write up brought back that memory for you :-) And thanks for stopping by,

  3. SnigdhaNo Gravatar on April 30, 2010 at 11:57 am

    You know, it is said that all creatively inclined and talented people are generally mad and messy. They breed in chaos. I dont see anything wrong in it.

    • MansiNo Gravatar on May 1, 2010 at 5:17 pm

      Tell that to my mom :P

  4. PrashNo Gravatar on April 30, 2010 at 12:01 pm

    @Snigdha: Ok now I feel pretty bad. I am tidy. Hence I must be dull, lacking creativity, etc. etc.? :-) :-)

  5. Shachi ThakkarNo Gravatar on April 30, 2010 at 1:12 pm

    Oh this is certainly your place and you should write what you want, not what others want you to write.

    My desk is not messy, but my wardrobe is. And whenever I arrange it, I can’t find anything I am looking for :) . So to please my hubby and others, I arrange it often, but then it soon becomes messy again, and I am happy :) .

    Lovely post!

    • MansiNo Gravatar on May 1, 2010 at 5:19 pm

      Thanks, Shachi. I value my readers’ feedback but this particular one didn’t resonate :-)

  6. TulikaNo Gravatar on April 30, 2010 at 9:58 pm

    I like the way ur mom disciplined ur lack of order, even though it must have hurt u so much at that time. That’s something my hubby threatens to do when my daughter refuses to clean up(she’s just six!)…though I certainly don’t have the heart to do so! What are kids if they don’t mess up things a bit? Guess u’ve now found the perfect balance: a spic n span work desk and a free flowing thought process! That’s the way it should be :)

    • MansiNo Gravatar on May 1, 2010 at 5:25 pm

      I’m sure it was hard for her, too, Tulika. But I can see that now…back then I was full of anger and resentment. I see why she insisted on it — it can be rather embarrassing especially when one has guests — but I was too immature to see it then. My mess reflected on her as a parent. Now my house is always clean, thanks to a cleanliness-loving husband. Left to my own devices, I’d probably be surrounded by a sea of clutter :P

  7. SouravNo Gravatar on May 1, 2010 at 4:27 am

    Messed up is the in thing, remember Albert Einstien .. ohh I have just misspelt his name.. seems I am messed up too! ;)

    ..escape !

    • MansiNo Gravatar on May 1, 2010 at 5:29 pm

      Didn’t realize it was the “in” thing, Sourav. :P

  8. MonaNo Gravatar on May 1, 2010 at 5:44 am

    I know exactly what you mean. My desk was always a mess too, but just like you, I knew where everything was in my cluttered piles and when I organized, I would forget where I put everything. It drove my mom and dad nuts. One night I had a friend spending the night and my dad had gotten so frustrated with my messy desk, in one swoop, he cleared my desk of all the clutter. Everything was on the floor and I was instructed that my friend was going home unless everything was cleaned up and organized in 15 minutes. I have never cleaned faster, and I too quit using my desk after that. At least the top of it, the drawers were still just as messy, but you could at least close them.

    • MansiNo Gravatar on May 1, 2010 at 5:27 pm

      Oh boy…15 minutes!! I know what you’re saying about stuffing drawers…I engaged in that practice every time guests were over but then it got lame, plus the drawers were already full from the last time :P All I can say now is this: It’s good to be an adult :-)

  9. TomPierNo Gravatar on May 6, 2010 at 8:50 am

    great post as usual!

  10. I am not perfect | First Impressions on October 18, 2010 at 10:51 am

    […] I hate doing the laundry and the dishes and am no fan of keeping things organized. […]


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