punch and broody
April 6, 2011 § 8 Comments
There is nothing to say, but when has that stopped me from saying it.
In recent times I’ve been consumed by the idea that plans are being abandoned at an alarming rate and life is very short, so I did the obvious and made a spreadsheet. Perhaps it is the many internships or the inner dork, but I seem to have formatted the spreadsheet very well indeed. Allow me a moment of surprise and pride.
I also wisely allowed my annoyance at having a filthy (and therefore unused) balcony to come naturally to a head, and eventually cleaned it out in a fit of righteous righteousness. The joys of having a lovely long LAN extension cord means that I can now put my feet up and watch the moon through the mesh while working and drinking my shitty plastic flavoured tea. Not sure what it says about the quality of my life that I look forward to coming back to my room much more just because of this.
I did not pay much attention to April 14 (the Tamil new year) back when I was around for it at home. My family’s attitude towards religious festivals may best be described as clueless. There’d be food, of course, and new clothes if it occurred to my parents that it was one of those festivals that warranted them. Otherwise we’d just sit around bumming in front of the TV, which thankfully for us, simply bristled with populist programming on festival days. The sun would set, we’d lunge about drunkenly (all that eating) and venture downstairs to take a walk along the beach promenade. My father would buy me icecream and sit my sister on the roof of someone’s parked SUV. Then we’d watch the fireworks people would let off at the beach. Then we’d come home, change out of our new clothes and pass out.
Some curiously proactive people in college have volunteered to collect money and organise a ‘thing’ around this year’s tamil new year, which is of course to be clubbed with Ugadi, regardless of the niggling technicality of Ugadi having passed. We are all south Indians, why waste this opportunity to collect more money and eat more food, it will undoubtedly be argued. Why indeed.
A new year of any description calls for some stock-taking or excuses it, depending on your perspective. Here is my attempt.
I’ve learnt to be sociable if not social. Talking to more than two people in a row does not make me want to climb walls anymore. I can give a passable impromptu speech without much casual swearing or many unfunny jokes. I am slowly losing my fear of Microsoft Word – I will not flinch when you say ‘macro’. I know I am kinder and more patient than when I first came here. I hope I am less literal than when I came here.
Right after the World Cup win, I got drunk for the first and possibly last time in my life, thanks respectively to my being an atmosphere-junkie (patriotism! win! Sachin! people! are! happy! ), my lack of judgment and my unexpected liking for cheap whisky. I remember that by my last drink, there was a lot of warmth and yellow light and spinning. I was completely, irredeemably out of it, but I was determined not to slur. I would die but I would not slur, so I practiced every sentence three times inside my head before I carefully enunciated it out loud. I then – no doubt motivated by some insane need to prove my Competence to myself – managed to fold laundry, file important documents and format a project before I voided the entire contents of my stomach, burst into song and then tears, and finally, mercifully, passed out.
My incapability to just go with the flow (god i hate that phrase) sometimes really depresses me.
How can you ever objectively seek what makes you happy if you are afraid of finding out what that is? What if I had my hands tied and could not, for the sake of argument, push myself into doing The Mature Thing or The Good Thing or The Right Thing, would I gently float towards what makes me selfishly, unwisely, unsafely happy? And what is happy?
I used to think being absolutely at peace and being absolutely happy were the same thing. Today, many angry self-flagellations, bitterly critical self-analyses and ego-driven cycles of compensatory action later I am a better person, in that I am back to being confident in myself. I am for all practical purposes, at peace. It has been terribly difficult getting here and it is precious to me, but let me not kid myself for this one moment, peace is not joy. I have known joy. It grabs you by the collar and shakes you into living with a goddamn vengeance. The sky bends to your song, the sun is always on your eyelids. it is one elastic, literally timeless moment given completely to the delusion of immortality, one moment of being suspended trustfully mid-air with no sense of time, space or fear. I remember what it feels like and I miss it every day.
I miss it every day, and more fool I, because it is probably the most unwise, unstable thing I could seek at this moment. Still, the hardest lesson of 2010 was that choosing to argue yourself into something is not the same as believing it. There is a truth independent of salesmanship. I have a very uneasy relationship with my intuition, but I have no choice but to shut up and listen to it this time round, because by god, I want that joy.
Perhaps this year.
‘Iniya Tamizh Puthandu Nalvazhthukkal’ in advance, to those to whom it applies. The rest of you can adjust. ;-)
(Note – Punctuation on this post because I want to see whether I like it better.)