Doing Nothing


It’s been a while since I came here to rant. Well, actually this is not going to be a rant (hopefully). I just noticed that I came here to babble long time back and since today I am in that mood, why not babble and “contribute” to a blog? 
So the weekend was a big active deal, compared to what it otherwise is, and left me quite tired. This is saying something for someone in the “prime of their youth”. I went for a party on Saturday night and went out in the evening for a good time on Sunday. Both had their share of good times and Saturday night had its share of fun and yuck-ick-flack-ness. But I don’t want to go on about that here. So yes, both these left me quite tired by the end of the weekend, and Monday morning I just didn’t want to get up and go to work. This is a state that usually accompanies every morning, when you get up and wonder why you have to go to work, what if you didn’t go today, what would you do if you didn’t go to work today, and then, after practical questions were asked and dismissed, you’d ask yourself the question – What if I never had to get up and go to work? This question when asked first brings about the best answer one would ever like to come to be real, “I’ll do whatever I want”. This goes away as soon as you begin pondering on what it is that you do want to do, and how, and when, and where and so on. I doubt any of us actually get beyond wishing for whatever it is that we want.
So there I was, waking up at an hour which would bring much rebuke and lecture from parents, and indifference from many others who have the same lifestyle that I currently do. I woke up at the indecent hour of 2 p.m. That is the time by which I should be at work, sitting in front of my machine, checking mail, trying to sort out the day and see what meaning could possibly be wrung out from a day that seems no different than any other. But today, I checked the time, asked myself if I wanted to go to work today, answered a very simple “no” and went back to sleep. After that I got up at around 6 in the evening and decided I’ll do nothing at all today. Which is what I did all day. I made tea, drank a lot of it, read a nice soppy romantic book, avoided people at home the best I could, ordered for groceries, made dinner that no parent concerned for their child’s health would allow you to eat, watched a movie, avoided some more people and came online to see what other people were talking about. 


Making Tea: Here’s the thing with making tea. It should be the simplest thing, but it rarely is. I for one can never know how much tea to put in and always end up drinking something that should kill me but doesn’t because I’m stronger than that. So I’ve now resorted to using tea-bags. I was going to make tea because I was too lazy to go make some real food that could serve as lunch/brunch/snackrunch whatever.. I did the usual boiling water, putting fancy things in it to boil like ginger that looked so dry and twisted that it made me feel as if I was really concocting a herbal drink, adding sugar etc, when the flatmate who was “helping” me out with this asked aloud that making tea with tea-bags is so much work as you have to boil the water too. She said some other things too, but they left my mind before landing on it. I was so indifferent by then that I didn’t even want to think of other less tiring and demanding ways of making tea. So, tea was made, and since I made her a cup too I thought I’d go sit on the couch and watch TV with her and see how the evening goes. The pointless banter that almost always seems to accompany “chai-sessions” and which many a times is very entertaining and interesting and all things nice, didn’t really happen this time around. I never understand how and why people expect others to listen intently to what happened to someone who’s not famous, and by the sounds of it not interesting nor worth the listening time. Which led me to politely excuse myself from the company by expressing my bored state and slouching back to my room to read this soppy novel I picked up on the weekend in peace, with my tea and tea-bag and the pleasure that comes with finding you tea’s still warm. 

Reading Soppy Romantic Novels: Of late, I’d not read any simple, romantic type book. I used to read a lot of those in school, as one of my mother’s best friend found it in my best interests to read all the Mills & Boons, Nora Roberts, Danielle Steels available. I’m sure she thought they would play a great role in educating my mind and I can safely say they did. For one they gave you the power to predict what is going to happen in a novel by reading just the first chapter, or in some occasions, the first four pages. Second, they reinforced beliefs that all women, even the most ambitious, feminist, and independent women, at the end of the day, want “love”. Everyone needs LOVE. No living without that, no Sir, not at all. As I grew up and learned many other things, these novels ceased to interest me, even remotely. Even the snippets featuring a man claiming that he wanted to take the woman, there and then with no heed for the world, stopped arousing any interest. And thus it was for quite some years, where reading “romance” novels just didn’t happen, mostly out of lack of interest and because by this stage I believed my education to be adequately complete. But on Sunday, I found this tiny bookshop and I picked up this book called Kate Kincaid by Henry Denker. I picked this up because I’d read one novel by Mr.Denker before, when I was quite young and was very moved back then. Based solely on that, and without even reading what the novel was about, I picked it up and began reading. Kate Kincaid is the story of our heroine by the same name who’s a nurse and feels very oppressed by arrogant young doctors and how she’s torn between two men who love her and all bangaboosh that happens in such novels. I don’t think it’s well written. But I’m liking it so far. There’s always something to like about a “pretty nurse who’s overdetermined and fiery” and wants to change the world. It’s always pretty faces changing the course of history, innit? That aside, I think one major reason why I like it is its purpose is clear. It’s aimed mainly to please and distract and provide escape. It doesn’t want to make you think too much, or at all at places. It doesn’t want to educate you, doesn’t want to spark ideas in your head, doesn’t want to push you under a running train, and all those things. It’s plain and pure, use and throw entertainment. (Ok, maybe not that harsh. Maybe I will not really throw it away, but am not sure. ) There’s something about your heroine struggling with choices, struggling to resist the kiss from a man who makes her forget things and to see a man, fall in love with a woman he can’t take his eyes off. At some stage in life, that something might have meant wishing and dreaming about such things happening in real life. At this stage, it means that there’s nice things happening, doesn’t matter if it’s “real world” or not, but that it’s there, that things belonging to reality and fiction aren’t necessarily exclusive of each other, that being happy at the prospect of it doesn’t necessarily mean wanting it. 

Avoiding people: This is something that I’ve been pushed to exercise in extreme over the past few days or maybe months. I’m not completely serious when I say I hate people, nor am I joking in hyperbole. I don’t really want to avoid people, I just want them to avoid me. (That’s such a classic “It’s not you, it’s me”!) As you grow up you realize how much more fun it was being a child. Yeah, I know EVERYONE says that, but this time my reason is something else. When you were younger, and knew lesser people because you had lived for lesser years and had thus accumulated lesser number of “contacts”, no one really cared much where you are as long as you made to school and meals on time. Now, if you stay at home, your office people will ask you where you are and why you aren’t where you should be. If you are at home, your people at home will also ask you why you aren’t where you should be. When you are not at home on weekend, then everyone wants to know where you went. If you are home on the weekend, then they ask why you are at home and not outside. I mean what is it that they really want? I know what they do, but that doesn’t stop me from being pissed at it. So today, I had to answer three flatmates about why and how I was home and I have a strong suspicion that would have led to more questions had I not escaped in time. From work, colleague asks where I am and even the answer leads to probing for reason. Why can’t one stay at home without a reason? Why have we begun to give so much importance to reasons? Why does it matter where and why someone is anywhere? To what use are you going to put that information? How much money are you going to make out of that knowledge?
As a child, when you sulked, someone will entertain you and give you some candy and get you to stop sulking. Now, people would rather talk. Yes, talking is the solution to everything. Everyone wants to talk about it. Sure, even I do want to talk about things and non-things, but I have people for that. And I go to them for that. And I tell others when they are not part of that unfortunate group. But then, they assume that because I’m closed to talking, I’d probably be open to listening. Which I am not, either. I was going under the assumption that “talking” covered for what is generally assumed to be a conversation (noun: informal interchange ofthoughts, information, etc., by spoken words; oral communication between persons; talk; colloquy.) and thus expected people to get it when I say “I don’t want to talk/I don’t talk much”. But it seems that most people don’t really understand this definition, and going by other things, this probably holds true for the definition and meaning of a lot of other things too. This comes as a surprise to some people I call friends, those who comprise that unfortunate group to whom I do go to “talk”. I used to be a talkative person, was also considered very social and friendly and all those things. I use the past tense because I believe the way it was said then is very different from how it is now. I still like to talk, to be social, to be friendly and all those things. But I have become more selective about the space and time in which I am so. Yes, I have become “boring”, that,  in fact, should be the biggest reason for people to avoid me. But it doesn’t seem that way. I don’t think I’m that popular or deserve to be so. Deserving or not, it is undesirable right now. And that should not be seen as such a major change nor challenge. 
Recently while telling some people that I am going to join TFI, the response that I got in return was quite confusing, at times funny, and plain annoying in some cases. What has being social got to do with being able to teach kids? Are all our professors and teachers social butterflies buzzing from one party to another? I was also called “cold and distant”, something which I do not challenge even once, but how does that come into what I am going to do? Were all the teachers who contributed to your life and learning warm, friendly and personal? Do you write “warm and lovely person” as one of your talents or achievements on your resume or CV? I know that personality matters affect how you work in any organization. But I’ve seen terms like “team player” and “leadership traits” being dropped around too many times to believe that everyone who’s termed as that can do his/her job damn well. So why enmesh a person’s behavior and attitude with respect to their personal life with their work? I agree teaching might be one of those jobs where a person’s disposition makes a big difference. But do you really assume everyone to be uni-dimensional personalities, that the way they behave with you, they would behave with everyone else too? In that case, with the majority of the people, there’s a reason I behave the way I do and take recourse to avoiding people. Think of it as your good fortune. 

Ordering Groceries: It’s one of the biggest delights of our age- to order stuff and get it delivered to your doorstep. Even though it might be more economical, faster and healthier to just get out and buy things, but it’s also another delight of our age to live in active denial. And reveling in its admission. That should get some brownie points. 

Making Dinner: This in my opinion is the single most enlightening indicator of how your life is. You know what kind of person you are and the life you lead by the way you make and have your dinner. Families eat dinner together, in front of the TV, while watching something, where the only noises are made by cutlery and crying women in the tube. Sometimes you have dinner outside, with friends, over laughter and conversation, but that’s not a regular thing. It can never really become a regular thing. Dinner is a regular thing, and it follows patterns. It is as regular and representative as brushing teeth- what time you do it, what toothpaste you use, and how much time you spend over it. If one begins your day for you, the other brings it to an end, never relinquishing its grip on making it a part of your routine. 
For some days now, my flatmates have been making dinner for me. Before that it was my colleague who used to get dinner for me. Something which I’m thankful for, but more anxious because that means paying back that favor. Somehow, whenever someone makes dinner for me, unless its my mother, I feel as if something’s owed between us. The debt to my mother for it is too great to be ever paid off, so I don’t ponder upon it. But anyone else making dinner for me, even if it’s not specifically for me, bothers me. Don’t do that, because I won’t do it for you. Even if I did, I’d expect you to make it back to me. It’s a transaction in which I don’t wish to be either party. Hence I like making dinner on my own, for myself. And that is rarely the healthy thing to do and which speaks a lot about my life and me, as a person. Left alone, I’d make dinner out of bread, eggs, instant noodles and anything that comes packaged and takes least amount of time to prepare and consume. Dinner is always a hasty and necessary affair. It is the cruelest of affairs and the most easy of them all. It’s all gain and so tasteless. 

Movie Time: Doing nothing without watching a movie is such an incomplete experience. I remember in college, especially during second year, not going to class and doing nothing meant staying home and watching movies all day. I watched the Social Network today. Quite liked it. Used to hate Jesse Eisenberg before this, but I think I might change my mind about that. All slick-slick-talk-talk, and an immensely entertaining movie. Something that might have been a lot better had flatmates not found it necessary to interrupt me and talk trivialities as if life and death depended on it. This is my latest grudge- that of the movie watching experience being spoiled thanks to company. Why can’t movies be watched the way they are supposed to be watched? Especially good movies. Why must you question and explain and point out and discuss and talk during a movie? I see that happening in the cinema so much these days that I think watching it at home might be a better solution. But even at home, there’s the thing about people asking what you are doing when they can see you are watching something with headphones plugged in and asking further details after you tell them that you are watching a movie. The most annoying experience was maybe last Sunday when I was watching a movie on TV, and people saw that I was watching a movie and still talked around loudly till I had to tell them to take their talk about matrimonial prospects of Engineer+MBA types somewhere else and sod off from where the TV and I were. 
Watching a movie should be like reading, you get lost in it and forget the world outside you. People don’t let that happen. People don’t even let you get lost in your own head for that matter.

Online People Watching: This I guess is the most time consuming act of our lives. We listen to and watch and pry and learn a lot from people online. Some we know, some barely, some not at all, but we feel like we do. The number of times we chance a visit to Facebook and Twitter may definitely outnumber our visits to the restroom in a day. I guess it gives some precious pleasure to see what others are eating, picking out, reading, drinking, sharing and talking about. To some extent it’s quite informative, and it provides for the distraction that helps you keep away from work that you so fear to embark upon. It’s the perfect procrastinator and one rarely ever complains about such things. I won’t. I like it. It helps me being hypocritical. And learn, at the same time. The number of times I’ve clicked on the Tweetdeck icon and gone to check on Facebook is something that is helping me live with myself better. Which is zero. As much as is it is a big attraction to go and check, it is an equal triumph in overcoming that need to do something that might be infinitesimally better. Overcoming addictive practices, I gather, always give such joys, and are also necessary, if one were to ever move from knowing to thinking, from experiencing to living.

That was I think most of doing nothing. I had hoped it won’t be rant, but if it turned out to be so, then, who cares? Doing nothing and describing it seems to have done a whole lot of good to me, and, and I’ve also “contributed” to my blog and kept up with my diatribes.