26/06/2016 12:15 AM IST | Updated 15/07/2016 8:27 AM IST

Knitting To Be Here, Now

Neniya via Getty Images

Be warned. This is not me talking about knitting. Not really. Knitting is just the process I engage in. It's not what I do. What I do -- as the needles sing, clinking against each other, the matte metal zinging in a tiny bubble of yarn, as the knot slides out gently, magically, as the fuzz of the string lazes on my leg -- is exist. In that moment I exist. And I am at peace.

It's not an easy task, being mindful. I left my job two months ago but there is so much else to do. Books to read, bicycles to ride, pools to swim in, thoughts to write, paragraphs to rewrite, shows to watch, pictures to paint, music to play. It's a fine life. What do all of the above have in common? Take a moment, maybe two, think about it. None of those tasks require other people; they depend on the agility of my mind. It's a busy mind. The act of creating something, one knot at a time, is meditative. Each act is deliberate, building upon the previous act but not quite sure of what follows. Gently, magically a shape appears. It appears to be a rectangle, one stuffed awkwardly with mistakes, gaping holes that hold more learning than the firmer connections around them.

This is not me talking about knitting. Each tick clink tock clink tick pull tock push is time tick is life tock is being in the now tick and nowhere else but here. It's the mistakes I've made, remaining where they are, but not taking up more space than they need to. It's the tightness of the first row leading to the comfort with space in the second. It's teaching myself and slowly learning to slow down. It's not an easy task, slowing down. The senses deepen, craving the intensity dulled by shorter attention spans, longer distances, greater sensationalization. This is the world I have carved for myself, a potholed, virtual, disturbed space that Chinese-whispers mutated versions of desire. I forget what I wanted it to be in the first place, but it doesn't matter anymore. I am here now. I unravel another loop of yarn.

Knitting... is not what I do. What I do, is slow down.

My mother gifted me a sweater when I was 12, a woollen entity of orange and brown. Four stick-figured dolls filled up the front of what I thought of an embarrassment to my sense of fashion, which if rightfully carried out consisted of extra large T-shirts, baggy pants, and men's sneakers. That sweater was a product of love and patience and goodness, but I didn't see that until a few years later.

Time, as only time can do, performed a disappearing act that still surprises me.

A few weeks ago, I asked my mother-in-law to teach me the gentle magic of knitting. And she did, with love and patience and goodness. Her initial words of praise, I assumed, were summoned from a place of special understanding that goes into the art of teaching. I assumed wrong. She was inviting me on a journey that someone had nudged her towards; it's a journey that I will nudge others towards, which may or may not involve knitting, because that is not what I do. What I do, is slow down.

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