Monday, November 29, 2004

The time for my sabbatical draws closer – only a week left now. I’ve jokingly described this one month of holiday as ‘rebooting my system’ to friends; but now that is exactly what it feels like.

I find myself shutting down ongoing tasks, one by one. I’m losing interest in the day to day workings of my office. This week I have been shifted once again to a different office building in order to join a new project. It is not really going to help much – the work can only start when I come back; all I do this week is read up on the technology used. I don’t know how much of this I will remember in January.

I’m drifting away from friends – not just my mates at work, but even college friends, school buddies, girls who I had a crush on and always wanted to talk to, cousins who I used to spend days chatting with. I find myself vaguely refusing offers of lunch with them, refusing to talk to them, hinting that I will take some time out soon, very soon, to talk to them. But I really want to be saying, “I don’t exist here any more, how are you still able to see me?”

I can’t remember the last time I wanted to go see a new movie with friends and family. Over the past few months all I’ve been seeing is the weekly classic movie show at the Film Circle. I remember, three months ago, I was enthused by the terrific variety of movies that was due for release in December. I don’t even remember which movies I was excited about, now.

Except for a couple of short stories last week, I have even stopped reading. Longtime acquaintances will wince at the fact that I have three Ray Bradbury books sitting unread on my shelf since I bought them last month.

A faint music plays continually in my mind. I can hear it whenever I pay attention. At all times it is a background score of a similar nature to that which is played along with a movie’s end credits. Some sort of vague violin and piano symphony, slowing down, slowing down, winding to a halt sometime in the near future. The sound accompanies every action I take, every word I write and speak throughout the day. I heard this the last time when I was the last semester of college, and realized that I would be leaving the Indore I knew forever, soon.

Two things, and two things alone tell me I am still alive. The first is the prospect of getting married, of not being alone. Desperation drives me to join gym classes, it goads me into hennaing my hair, it slyly persuades me to bring up the topic with relatives in the hope of reminding them of some ‘good girl’ whom they know. I keep seeing marriage as the step out of this life I lead, of some change, some sort of progress. From bitter experience I know that while marriage will be a change, it will not be for the better. Still, hope inspires me. See all these pretty girls on the roads, I tell myself. Surely all of them cannot be evil or stupid! Having seen ideal marriages myself, I know such things are possible.

The other thing is writing. I do now know if the past few years have soured my experience with programming, or whether I am only just waking up to my own nature. But I am not able to see myself as a software person a few years from now. I can only see myself writing. My fevered imagination cooks up visions of me becoming famous, earning a huge advance on my books, of friends asking me for autographs. I imagine writing being the one thing in the world at which I’m really, really good. I imagine taking a small notebook with me on my vacation, of filling it up in a few days, of coming back home with a bulging bag full of more notebooks purchased along the way, all full of brilliant writings. Everything I see around me suggests a story idea; every story idea involves loneliness in some mutation.
I dont know where I'm going with this. Though reading all that I've written so far convinced me that I do need that vacation, badly. If I hadn't had financial contraints on me, I could probably have quit my job. But I'm sure half the worlds people would say that.

No comments: