I know it’s the end of the year. This is when people make lists. Of things they accomplished. Their favourite moments, their targets and how they did on them. Things to look forward to, targets set anew. A time for stock-taking and planning ahead. A checkpoint.

The last few years I’ve started taking the last week off from the 25th December all the way till Jan 1st. Heading back to work on the 2nd. I spend this time at home doing pretty much nothing. A play here, a movie there, a couple of books, a visit to Blossom’s, some cousins and friends caught up with. Mostly relaxing and lots of nap time.

The weeks leading up to it, however, paint a different story. Almost all work gets postponed to the next year, either by me, or by people at work as many people start their vacations or are in India in the case of US folks. You really can’t start anything. Most of the time is spent looking at the screen, trying to invent work. Along come my favourite companions – listlessness and emptiness. That nagging feeling at the pit of the stomach, the same thing you feel right after your exams are all done – your mind is used to being occupied doing something at that time of the day and it isn’t, and it goads you with guilt and a restlessness.

This brings along the usual existential crises of what am doing, where am heading, the current situation in life and if it should be getting somewhere better and if the better place is indeed better, and if there is some other better place that is better. Oh well. Whoever said having nothing to do is nice. There was a time when it was. When I could spend my time doing absolutely nothing. I think I still can, but it takes on a whole new meaning when you have to do that at work, while trying to act busy.

Yes, I’ve tried reading up, learning things, learning a new programming language etc. But at work, there is still that guilt, because what you’re doing is not assigned to you. It is still the equivalent of not doing anything and in fact, slightly worse as you might be doing something in company time.

The last year, a colleague from the US visited India and gave a series of technical presentations. After 2 days of presentations, I found myself dozing away. I felt myself getting up, walking out of the room, to the corridor, jumping and plummeting 4 floors. I woke up, went to my laptop and did what I always do – wrote. This time a letter to my cousin and thankfully, promptly responded to with just the right words for me to keep going.

I wonder what it was about the presentation or the days in general, dragging along with me commuting the whole distance to do nothing, commuting back home to do nothing that prompted it. But I still am here, writing about it. Rest assured, I’ll be here next year too writing about how this year goes. Thankfully there are no presentations, so it probably won’t be so bad.


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