I meet friends. Over brunches, dinners, beers and butter scotches. B and S being the most available ones. For now. Until the former goes back to his research in Alabama, and the latter's wife comes back to him from India. We talk of important stuff. Like professors, arrears, and whether the dal in our mess food, that we ate 10 years ago, had enough salt. I meet my ex, who tries to convince me that i should shop for a current. Whenever the episode she is watching, of 'Raakhi saawant ki swayamvar', on youtube, gets boring. I try and offer comparable comic relief in my responses. I fail. Of course i fail. How can i possibly compete with 'Usne kahaa TV nahin kharidega, washing machine kharidega, thaaki mai kapde na dhouun. Mere mann ko sukoon mila'. There are apparently many such gems. I can't digest reality TV. Unless it comes with free home-cooked dinner, which is a premium these days..
I play out this scene in my head. Once in a while. My boss calls me to his office. And tells me he has decided to let me go. I am not saddened. A little surprised, yes. Though i am doing just about enough to keep my job. A little less, maybe. But I come out feeling kind of liberated. In the next frame, i am standing on a platform in Central station in chennai. My loyal orange-black rucksack on my shoulders. And no agenda in my head. Waiting for the train that would take me to Delhi. From where i'd be taking a bus to Manali or Nainital. Depending on which one i manage to find a seat on first. I'd be sitting by the window. Taking in everything that comes in through it, greedily. The breeze. The clatter. And the snatches of homes that disappear as rapidly as they appear. I am reminded of this bus ride from Manali to Delhi. A few years ago. P shakes me off my sleep and makes me look out of the window. Amidst absolute darkness, there are these rectangular boxes of light. Evenly lit homes on a hill's slope. It was a surreal sight. That's my most vivid memory of that entire trip. I snap back to the 'here and now'. I wouldn't walk away from what i have, but would be relieved to be pushed out. It doesn't make sense. Or does it?
Some days i wonder if I am holding on to shreds of life i don't care for, and letting go of things i do. But some days i get up with, besides bad breath and a back ache, something that could pass for clarity. And head to work with a sense of what could pass for purpose. Those days aren't all that rare, and compensate for the listlessness of the rest. A good technical discussion here, a good customer bug fix there, and i have bouts of enthusiasm for work. The work that has given me the luxury to fret over imagined angst. And so i hang on...
This one, all grown up!
9 months ago