Salman Rashid

Travel writer, Fellow of Royal Geographical Society

Place for the disorderly

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I have to admit I am a rather disorderly person. To assert this quality, I have a little plaque hanging right by the computer monitor. It reads, ‘In an orderly world, there’s always a place for the disorderly.’ For a long time after I acquired this from my dear friend Hus Sain (as he writes his name) Mahmud of Jamaldinwali, Karachi, Islamabad and Lahore, I added a postscript to it: ‘And you’ve reached it.’


No surprise then that my desk is usually a cluttered place. (And you should see the little cabinet where I keep the tools!) I clear the desk once every few months. It then lasts in some state of order for several weeks before reverting to its usual condition. Years ago friend Mike Boardman, when he and Carole lived in Lahore, would marvel at what he thought was singular and unique: ‘A desk measuring three feet by six feet which you have to clear to create a space as small as six inches to work on!’


Now I have a desk measuring two and a half feet by eight feet and things are much the same. But as we grow older, we change. I now get a little breathless working on a crowded desk after a few months which leads to the drill of cleaning it out periodically. When I engage in this exercise, all sorts of scraps of useless paper emerge from the disorder and I find myself wondering why on earth I ever saved them.


As I was shutting shop last night, I resolved to carry out a cleaning job today. So, first thing in the morning I transformed my desk. I now have to see how long it will last in this pristine condition. There is little hope that it will remain clear beyond the first day of June 2104.

Related: My Home Garden - The Joy of Life, On Twitter

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posted by Salman Rashid @ 12:00 AM,

21 Comments:

At April 23, 2014 at 8:53 AM, Anonymous Muhammad Zaman said...

Sir, Pakistan is entirely 'disorderly'. But there's a place for an orderly man like your good self in it.

 
At April 23, 2014 at 8:54 AM, Anonymous Atta Ur Rehman Sheikh said...

Order in chaos!! Never mind!

 
At April 23, 2014 at 8:55 AM, Anonymous Mitthee Babe said...

Hehehe... That is so you Salman! I still remember that voice mail greeting msg... it was hilarious. Love your originality. Stay put!!!

 
At April 23, 2014 at 8:56 AM, Anonymous Kamran Awan said...

Hahah, rightly said... but this disorderly place has so much to offer.

 
At April 23, 2014 at 10:45 AM, Anonymous Salman Rashid said...

Thank you, Zaman. But hardly the orderly kind am I.
No order in this chaos, Atta. Can't find anything in it.
Mitthee, You remember that message! Great of you.
Thank you, Kamran.

 
At April 23, 2014 at 3:14 PM, Anonymous Muhammad Athar said...

Sir like you few are required to carry out clearance of disorderly Pakistan, created by maximum stake holders

 
At April 23, 2014 at 4:22 PM, Blogger Ashfaque Dasti said...

Sir Entropy is sign of Life.

 
At April 24, 2014 at 4:24 PM, Anonymous Napoleon Nalcot said...

...and you're making exciting discoveries through it, for sure.

 
At April 24, 2014 at 5:47 PM, Anonymous Salman Rashid said...

I hope so. And thank you Napoleon

 
At April 24, 2014 at 10:19 PM, Blogger S A J Shirazi said...

Seems silly, is awesome. Don't worry.

 
At April 24, 2014 at 10:39 PM, Blogger Memoona Saqlain Rizvi said...

And you come up with so fascinating pieces from this disorder!!! I think it suits us. So let it be the way it is.

 
At April 25, 2014 at 9:20 AM, Anonymous Salman Rashid said...

Sir Ji! Thank you for the support.

 
At April 30, 2014 at 6:35 PM, Blogger M.Alizain Rizvi said...

u know my working desk is the same too! After studying.I get Up and notice that my desk is full of used pointers, books, bits of papers and eraser shavings..!

 
At April 30, 2014 at 6:37 PM, Blogger M.Alizain Rizvi said...

U know my desk is just the same

 
At April 30, 2014 at 6:38 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

My desk is same

 
At April 30, 2014 at 8:52 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks that my office is paperless now.

 
At May 1, 2014 at 9:56 AM, Anonymous Salman Rashid said...

Well done, Alizain. You and I are happy pieces of work.

 
At May 5, 2014 at 11:36 AM, Anonymous Rukhsana Ahsan said...

Disorderly editors try to convince others that there is order in disorder. Your table is quite tidy compared to what I see in the office. Anyway, what I find most interesting are the Oxford dictionaries on the table - I know we cannot do without them but they are definitely occupying a lot of space. Am sure you will defend them most vehemently as I too would have done had I not changed over to the online dictionaries (Oxford included) which are just a click away and ever so convenient. Do check them out.

Regards, RA

 
At May 5, 2014 at 12:40 PM, Anonymous Salman Rashid said...

I am too old-fashioned, Rukhsana. I still like to use the paper dictionary. Also, since I use a desktop computer which is not switched on when I am reading, I need to have the dictionary handy. In fact, even while working on the computer, I seldom use the on-line dictionary.

 
At June 24, 2014 at 2:28 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

They say, "Keep your desk clean for productivity but keep it messy for creativity."

 
At June 25, 2014 at 6:14 AM, Anonymous Salman Rashid said...

Thank you, Anonymous.

 

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My Books

Deosai: Land of the Gaint - New

The Apricot Road to Yarkand


Jhelum: City of the Vitasta

Sea Monsters and the Sun God: Travels in Pakistan

Salt Range and Potohar Plateau

Prisoner on a Bus: Travel Through Pakistan

Between Two Burrs on the Map: Travels in Northern Pakistan

Gujranwala: The Glory That Was

Riders on the Wind

Books at Sang-e-Meel

Books of Days