I have always maintained that the mess on my desk has a perfect logic to it and in no way impairs my ability to locate what I need amidst the pile, though I do have to riffle-raffle a bit in the process. But my obdurate mother, who is obsessive about maintaining order, is always at me to have a defined place for each item and strictly adhere to this location protocol. Once, she cleaned up my desk while I was away celebrating with my friends after being liberated from the shackles of the half yearly exams; when I came back, it took me a day to locate the library book which I had been struggling to finish for months (yes, ‘months’ – considering how generous our librarians are!). I had stowed it away somewhere, and I knew that I would instinctively locate it when I got another bout of inspiration. “For Heaven’s sake!” my mother had remonstrated, “Why didn’t you look in the pile of novels which I had neatly stacked on the right hand corner of the desk?” How would she know that I always stow away unfinished novels behind the pencil jar next to the pile of toffee wrappers behind the previous year’s calendar on the left-hand far corner of the desk?
But I have been vindicated at last. Recently, I came across this article on the internet – which also prompted me to write this essay as now I knew that I was not alone – titled, “A Perfect Mess: The Hidden Benefits of Disorder”. Its authors,
Effectiveness apart, the joys of mess are manifold. The wonderful thing about having a disordered pile on your desk is coming across a long-lost or forgotten thing when you are rummaging for something else. The other day I was delving into my pile for my favorite pen, when I encountered a half eaten bar of chocolate. It was the remnant of a packet that I had bought a week ago. Believe me, consuming that remaining bit was more delightful than crunching a new bar.
Smart Alec said: "So Mr. Pietersen, would you like to play a match in Madras? Chen-nahhhiii!"