Monthly Archives: June 2010

>Selfish Solitude?

>You can’t teach anyone anything about life through your own experiences, least of all how to enjoy solitude. I would know. If someone had told me being alone could be a fun thing, I would have totally disbelieved it some time back. I’m a people’s person, I love being around people, albeit people I like. But three months spent in Delhi taught me that there could be a thing like solitude, and it could be different from loneliness.

There is a very thin line between the two, you know. How easy it is to wallow into a sense of piteous loneliness and how easy to love the me-time and enjoy the solitude. I’ve done both while staying by myself, but mostly the latter. I’ve lived that time like… myself. Uninterrupted. Unadulterated. And loved it. More than I thought I was capable of!

But I think I came back home in time. Left alone any longer, I would have got addicted to my independence, the freedom to do what I wanted to, when and how. I’m glad I came back home to friends and family before I reached a point of no return. And I don’t say that cynically. Because solitude is a selfish mode of existence. It’s so much about yourself that if you begin to enjoy it too much, everyone else’s company becomes dispensable. And adjustments unnecessary.

But such is not the luxury that life affords people who’ve chosen to live like social beings. And I’m not even sure if I would think solitude was a luxury if it were to be mine permanently. Right now, I only treasure times I’ve spent alone as precious reprieve from so much cackle. Right now, I only know what both sides of the fence feel like.

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>Back to base

>It’s been hectic two weeks back at home. More hectic than work was in Delhi. And more taxing too, because there’s so much emotional drain here. It’s like being sucked back into a vortex of inanity – relationships, conversations, situations that are redundant.

I feel a disconnect with this life. Given a choice, I would so love to get out of this city and be by myself. I do not seek so much company that I have in Lucknow. Because I realise I’m much happier by myself, without the burden of meeting people I have nothing to do with (emotionally and otherwise), keeping up with them, going to late-night parties… Am I being an escapist – trying to avoid people and circumstances that ARE my life? I don’t know. But I like to believe there’s this life I have and there’s this life I’d like to have. And it can’t be so wrong to want one over the other(?)

I’m not unhappy to be back home, if that’s what you think. But honestly, I could do without so much that this return to base implies. My responsibilities at work have increased manifold, and it takes away all my energy, so that by the end of the day, I’m looking for solitude and rest, not unnecessary action. I am a people’s person, but not after I’ve spend 10 hours at work, battling all sorts of challenges, done all the talking, thinking, ideating that there is to do in a day.

Sometimes, I think this must be what growing old is all about. Perhaps, it is. But what’s the point of growing old if you can’t do it your way?

>And that’s how the story goes

>I’ve been trying to draft a soul-stirring, eye-grabbing, attention-seeking intro to this post for 20 odd days. But this is all I’ve been able to come up with. And while I know it’s a pathetic attempt at creativity, how long can I stave off this big news from spilling onto my blog? I’ve bidden my time, as much as offices would expect in such cases, and here I am telling you I’m going home. Yes, let’s throw those imaginary papers in the air, jump with joy, dance around the room and pop the champagne – because that would kind of do justice to how I feel!

So you say, three months was all I was in Delhi for? That’s what all the hullabaloo was about? Not quite. A little over three months ago, I’d told you I was going to be out “temporarily”. I had deliberately withheld for how long. Because it was too long to say, and to elicit an encouraging response from anyone. My job offer came with the rider: stay in Delhi for anything between 6 to 18 months, which averages out to be a year! And that they’d transfer me back to Lucknow if things worked out. I had withheld that bit of info from friends and family as well, except the immediate. Because I knew no one, no one and no one would give me their ‘go ahead’ if I told them the lock-in period. And I wanted so badly to give this a shot, thinking all the time that if worse comes to worst, I’ll run back home.

But we went from worse to alright and then pretty good. Three months and the boss wants me to go back to Lucknow to handle things on my own. Now, I can’t be divulging office details here, because that would be professionally unethical, but let it suffice to say that what I was expected to do in a year’s time, I’ve done in two months! The last one month has simply been the waiting period. And honestly, more than about going back home, it’s about having achieved so much at work that makes me happy. I was loving it here, I so was, but I’m glad to be going back to handle an office almost on my own because it means I’m capable of doing it.

And there’s so much to say for the experience that this has been. I’ve discovered things about me in these past months in Delhi I had either forgotten or lost or did not know existed. I’ve looked forward to every single day at work and I finally realise that there’s nothing else I should be doing but this. I’ve clocked 12-hour days and been exhausted to the point of crying, but it’s been bittersweet – there was such a sense of satisfaction at having done a hard day’s work well.

Living alone took time getting used to, but really, it was like time off from everything – from the monotony, the routines, the meaninglessness of some relationships, the predictability of life. Had I known I was going to be out only for three months, I would have cried a little less in the nights, missed The Guy lesser. But I’ve savoured every moment of this experience – the pain and the gain. These months, they’ve been like two hundred per cent ‘me’ time that women rarely get. Sometimes too much, but in hindsight, not all that much either.

I’m the kind of person who falls in love with everything around her, or hates it all. I fell in love with my life here – the comfortable pattern that things had fallen into. Yes, I hated lots of it as well, but in every one of those things that I hated, I found something to love. In the long hours of commuting, I found the quiet to be thoughtless; in the lonely nights, I found how much I loved my man; in the traffic snarls, I found how little some comforts meant to me. In all of it, I realised how much I was capable of withstanding, how much I was capable of loving Delhi!

I could go on… about the people I met, about the friends I made, about having to say goodbye to them before I could even tell them I love them… But you’ve already got the drift, haven’t you? I’m just so glad I took the difficult call to risk coming here, so glad I’m growing to grow old without any regrets. This is my life and this is me, unapologetically.