There are times when you keep thinking just one thing: ‘relax’. After working on files at the desk, on the computer, over the counter, and after taking into account the accounts of others, after working out successful plans for a difficult CEO, after doing all the bits, odds and ends, the office-going you, the work-place going you, you the professional, you the doctor, you the teacher, you the plumber, you the carpenter, you the salesman—you the human engine want to relax. Just want to shut your eyes, lying under the dreamy moon; just to reach your core to be carefree, and serene.
You always look forward to making that happen. You make sure that the street never comes in through the windows. But the moment you recline on a chair with a bowl of coffee you feel you are not at home. Again the street slips in demanding you to think about future professional tasks, past failures, and current disorders. And it follows you like what TS Eliot called the “tedious argument of insidious intent;” you can easily smell its insidious intent. Yes it doesn’t want you to be what you are.
Amid the daily rushing, you plan a beautiful time at home in the evening, to read your favourite novel, a few poems, a time with Yanni’s piano classics, and flute of Chaurasia. But the moment you step into your premises the neighbour dog’s target-barking gets on your nerves. You always wanted to win it over by a smile. But its owner, the equally worried and hurried human engine, gives you an ear-to-ear smile. You don’t want to win him over.
That is the point where you think about keeping the machine idle for a few days. A few days! You want to keep yourself idle. You then remember people who suddenly discovered themselves. You think about A J Cronin, the Scottish Medical doctor who after serving in World War I, exhaustively helped out the sick and eventually fell sick with chronic ulcer. On a medical advice in 1930 he took six months’ complete rest and used his heaven-sent time for reading and writing. There came out a new Cronin, the writer of some of the successful novels like Hatter’s Castle and Citadel.
You think about self-discovery at the peak of your boredom, and routinized life. Yes, you want to abandon yourself, unleash your powers, climb up hills and look down to the planes. In your self-abandon you might want to become a Hemingway, a Wordsworth, an F Scott Fitzgerald, a Lorca or anybody who you think set a different course from the mundane.
Inspired as you are, you cry out loud in sleep, “I wanna explore the world on my own terms.” The whole family wakes up to see you sweating and beaming. They smile. You jump out to take your cowboy hats, trekking shoes, and backpack your vacation needs. Now you look like a perfect vacationer on resort adverts; carefully careless. Like a prisoner on parole.
You head for the nearest or faraway beach for an auspicious bath in the sun (they call it basking in the sun). You look around to take in the soft wind but suddenly again the street, you cry out loud. All the ones you rub shoulders with, smile back, grin back, talk back, small talk, and nod at are there with their kids, aunts, senile uncles, and servants serving with clanking plates and spoons. They eat needle-looking noodles, smiling and nodding at you.
Away, your neighbour dog with its ear-to-ear smiling owner looks at you. You turn back unsmiling, thinking about the office files, computers, and accounts. Yes, that is the better place, you think.