As the crow flies

It’s that time of the year again when my annual blog post coincides with some important date, this time the impending deadline being the passage of the annus ordinarius 2010. Nothing excites me more than writing a nostalgic memoir, probably for the prospect of watching an episode of 30 Rock.

Which brings me to one of the notable features of this year for me – entertainment. I have more than sufficiently made up for the lack of television by diving deep down into a morass of TV shows, live sports and what not. Starting with the time we moved to a new place, I have discovered hidden web-streams that broadcast the soccer World Cup, Commonwealth and Asian games. Especially for the latter two, I was on a constant fix of refreshing the medal tally and feverishly checking sports schedules to track how Indian athletes were faring. It was my daily high for over thirty days of the year. Thanks to my cousin who is closer to our new place, I have acquired multi-season collections of some great TV shows – HIMYM and 30 Rock which I have been devouring over the last two months. Earlier in the year, we were hooked on to Poirot, another great series. All these have been a great antidote to the pains of a monotonous and reclusive existence.

The recluse was in part to my work as a researcher in a field office. Over my eighteen month tenure, I have had a maximum of 3 colleagues to interact with at the local office. Combined with the fact that as a researcher, you work mostly on your own with little teamwork involved, your social abilities nosedive tremendously. There have been many days when I was the only one in the office – having coffee, breakfast, lunch, all by myself. It is nice in a way to be away from distractions but the lack of human interaction had a gradual, telling effect on me. This was further aggravated during the last couple of months when I have been mostly working from home, as a part of a brief sabbatical.

I decided to take some time off from work during October to figure out what to do next with my career. Though I don’t realize it now, I have a feeling that the sabbatical has done me a world of good. For the first time in my life, I was in a situation with no responsibilities – no classes to attend, no early morning meetings to be present for, no upcoming deadline. Its remarkable and also a bit unsettling because of the sudden change in your lifestyle. I did all the things I wanted to but had put off by blaming my work schedule which included enjoying a weekday breakfast buffet (I am an absolute fanboy of English breakfast buffet), watching test cricket in the stadium (Ind vs Aus at Bangalore), playing badminton and eating a ‘mathada’ oota. After a while though the sabbatical worsened the feeling of being cut-off. It was a crazy vicious circle. Ash has been staying on campus three days a week so for those three days I was all by myself. I’d feel woozy without having anyone to talk to but wouldn’t do anything about it. In turn, the wooziness would make me lazier and hibernate at home. Which explains all those innumerable TV shows and Google reader feeds consumed. But, thankfully, a decision taken early this month has changed things a bit.

For the first time, I think I have nailed a ‘wake-up-early’ schedule. What started off as a regular cribbing session with Ash resulted in a 30-day challenge to hit the bed at 11 and wake up at 7. It has worked wonderfully well and seemingly has added many more hours in which to play Call of Duty :) Badminton’s been the other great thing to happen in December. After a long, arduous search to find a court and mate to play with, I found both. There are six days left to the 30-day challenge and I’m eagerly looking forward to extend it even after that. For those of you hooked on to a nocturnal high, I recommend this change. It’s an absolute mood-lifter, esteem-booster and confidence-trickster.

What has been the most humbling education this year, though, has been the realization that relationships are ultra-tough. There are light-years of distance between wavelengths of people and it is ridiculously easy to become distant from people. It’s a quick fall but a super-hard climb back. Throughout the year, I’ve opted or been forced to re-evaluate relationships with everyone, including my parents. Marriage requires a special mention here, given yet another roller-coaster ride this year. But, well, which marriage isn’t? Adults are not designed to spend time with each other all the time, a fact that marriage tries to circumvent with not so great results. But, companionship and love is great. It feels awesome to love Ash, even though I do stupid things most of the time, thanks to my ego. It is awesome because probably those are the only times I truly feel alive and delighted. Now, that may sound cynical, but an unhappy side-effect of growing older is to having fewer things to delight you and it is a big deal to be able feel elated.

I’ll end this here. I’m not happy with the way I am writing now; it’s rusty and incoherent. But, now that I don’t need to write as a part of regular job, I’ll probably post more frequently. If not, I’ll be back here the next time I feel like reminiscing.

As the crow flies

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