I thought to share with readers a description of the places where I write, some of which may be surprising. As you all know I travel a bit, so it’s not a surprise that I write in airport lounges and on airplanes. In fact, I find the latter quite a productive venue because I can concentrate knowing that the telephone will not ring; no text, email, or message will arrive, and there will be no one knocking on the door for talks.
The next best venue is driving in the car, usually between New Vraja-dhama and Budapest. It’s a good two hours of straight motorway. The disadvantage of these venues is that I am limited in access to references other than what is in my computer—which is a lot, but still not always everything I need.
Needless to say, when I am in New Vraja-dhama, Budapest, or Mayapur, I write at my desk. In NVD I write before mangala-arati, in Budapest before and after until deity greeting, and in Mayapur, usually between 4–8 am. When I am on a “roll” in any of these places then I could be writing at any time and as long as needed. When the inspiration comes, it has to be written down or it may be lost.
I also write in the garden in New Vraja-dhama. A most memorable occasion was during the writing of Nava-vraja-mahima. It was full-moon midnight, I was on a roll, and the entire dhama was bathed in moonshine—it was glowing. I couldn’t resist, and braving both mosquitoes and the bugs attracted to my computer screen, I went outside and sat in the grass to write. I say “to write,” but the atmosphere was so blissful that I became overwhelmed and just ended up chanting instead of writing. But it was wonderful.
Finally my very, very favourite place—although authors should be sparing with “verys”—is Radha-Syama’s deity preparation room. I take my computer there for mangala-arati and do a kind of medley between writing and dressing Radha-Syama. It’s a medley because although I may bathe, dress, and ornament Their Lordships, other devotees perform other services to Them, at which time I leave the deity room and go to the preparation room to write. This happens about 3-4 times a morning, from 5-7am. It may sound irregular, but the fact is I get such wonderful inspiration from Radha-Syama. Sometimes in the midst of dressing Them I get some extraordinary insight into what I was writing and I have to stop and make notes that I elaborate on later. On occasion it has happened that the inspiration was so detailed and extensive that I had to hand over the deity service and go to my computer and just write. For those who don’t know what and where the preparation room is, it is a large space just behind the deity room where pujaris prepare for and clean up after dressing, arati, and all other services except cooking. So my writing place is just a few yards from Radha-Syama, and their close proximity and very presence is in itself such a wonderful experience that I could write a book about it. Maybe one day I will. A short book!