Sunday, January 9

Spiral Staircase

The more I introspect & talk to others, the more I realise how much of a hold routine has on people's lives. The vast majority of humanity finds a rhythm to daily life and marches to it. What puzzles me is how we convince ourselves about the advantages of a cyclical life, even if we are unhappy with it.

In the last half of 2007, I was planning a trip to India after 1.5 years. The tickets had been booked as early as August and, as my blog posts reflect, I was eagerly looking forward to coming home. Strangely enough though, a sense of ennui gripped me a few days before I left, not letting go till the flight from Birmingham had taken off. I remember asking myself whether the trip was worth the effort. A voice whispered that I could just as easily carry on working at my 8 am - 5 pm on-campus job; I'd miss the convenience of the squash court at the Rec centre and the easy beer-laced post-dinner banter with my flatmates. For a mad second, I considered cancelling the tickets and unpacking my bags. Of course, I did not; that trip home proved to be a life-changing one. But, as the day of my return to the U.S drew near, that familiar ennui was back. And this time, I viewed the same alluring elements - the job, the evening sports and the flatmates - with mounting dislike.

In the present day, I live and work in Mumbai and come home to Pune on most weekends. Even now, I suffer from the same affliction; even though being at home is nice, there are days I view the Friday evening bus trip with resignation. This is promptly followed by the Sunday evening to Monday morning gloom when I think of the return journey.

In case you're considering calling the nut-house on my behalf, let me assure you that I'm not the only one seemingly seduced by the siren song of an ambiguously natured routine. I have friends who are on similar tracks; people who, in a somnambulist state, push against the whetstone of a daily grind, comforting themselves that the train they are on must eventually reach its journey... shouldn't it ? And right there, I get the strong feeling that we don't know what the end destination is. Are we just hoping there is one ?

Anyway, if you're wondering what brought along this less than cheerful prose, it is simply the fact that I'm soon to take a family holiday for the first time in nearly a decade. Now, my idea of a holiday runs along these lines. But, as I've readily admitted before, thanks to the comfort of routine, I've become more of an arm-chair traveller. Holidaying with family brings stresses and expectations that are thankfully absent when taking vacations with friends. The seed of this post lies in this thought - even keeping the fact that I really do need a break, why am I more apprehensive than anything else ?

Too many questions, very few satisfactory answers.

Song for the moment: The build up - Kings of Convenience


gaizabonts said...

Simple. Comfort zones. I didn't say it mate, Sheldon B. Kopp said, "He prefers the security of known misery to the misery of unfamiliar insecurity."

girish said...

@ Atul - His words makes a lot of sense. And provide further avenues of thought. Many thanks.