Abbas Mirza
Guest Article

Creativity, coffee shops and lockdowns

Taking a walk from the living room to the bedroom, and vice versa, to tell an idea to my wife is not as fun as calling her from outside coffee shops.

Archimedes’ 'Eureka' moment made him run naked on the street!

Compared to that, my 'Eureka' moments are tame affairs.

Whenever a brainwave strikes, I quickly walk past the glass door of the coffee shop I'm sitting in, and make an urgent phone call to my wife in order to discuss the (seemingly brilliant) idea that I have just conceived.

My expressions are so animated during the call that there is a risk of me going viral if someone records a video and uploads it on social media, after slapping that popular hysterical laugh on it.

Yes, I love working from coffee shops. The more crowded it is, the better!

Looking at so many different faces makes my head brim with ideas, both good and bad.

Not just the faces, incorrect names that the coffee shop staff write on the mugs, give me ideas, too.

Coming back to my 'Eureka' moments, if my wife loves the idea, I get an instant validation and I go back to my coffee table with some triumphant music playing inside my head.

While I am walking towards the table, I can see the Apple logo glowing on my MacBook – something that makes me feel like a creative genius, who has deliberately chosen the life of anonymity.

And then came The Great Lockdown of 2020, and everything changed.

Taking a walk from the living room to the bedroom, and vice versa, to tell an idea to my wife is not as fun as calling her from outside coffee shops.

If she hated the idea I told her from outside the coffee shop, she wouldn’t allow me to convince her too much, and hung up the phone.

If she hated the idea I told her from outside the coffee shop, she wouldn’t allow me to convince her too much, and hung up the phone.

I would then simply go back to my laptop to think harder.

Sometimes, I would call my brother, who knows it well that I am calling him for a second opinion.

But these days, when I am sitting face-to-face with my wife and discussing an idea, there is not much she can do. I keep convincing her until she gives in and goes on to say, “What an idea, Sirjee!”

I then get smug and stop thinking harder.

Apart from that, not being able to look at so many random faces while sitting inside a coffee shop has taken a toll on my daydreaming abilities as well.

Most of the time, I would not just occasionally look at all those faces around me, but also eavesdrop on the ongoing conversations.

Yes, I love eavesdropping!

Yes, I love eavesdropping!

How else (will) a person like me, whose friend circle is smaller than his dark circles, get to soak in all that teenager lingo, business proposals and boss killing plans.

Not to mention the extra thrill I get thinking about those poor souls, who have no idea that moments from their casual and not-so-casual conversations are being noted down by a nondescript guy sitting next to them.

Now, coming back to the lockdown.

While creativity does not have a fixed method to it, certain set of people think better in isolation, while there are others who get the best ideas amidst chaos. Over a period, I have realised I am the latter one.

With my daydreaming abilities drooping each time the lockdown gets extended, I really hope the virus of creativity that resides inside me outlives the virus that continues to rampage the outside world.

Or maybe, plasma donation from people, who have managed to maximise their creative prowess during the current pandemic, can help.

Until we meet again, my favourite coffee shops!

(The author is a creative director at Eunoia, a Dentsu Aegis Network agency. The views expressed in this article are personal.)