Run Run Run!

I was on the run again. I don’t know why I used “again” here. You need to stop a particular activity, do something else, and then resume the first one to use the term “again”. It’s clearly wrong here as I don’t remember ever doing anything other than run.

There are corridors. There are always corridors. There are windows all along on the sides. Each window different from the other, but you notice patterns, repeating patterns. You pay attention and they separate, you keep looking ahead or at some point in front of you and they coalesce into one pattern. Like looking at poles on the sides of railway tracks.

The corridors end, there is a door. You get a few seconds to catch your breath. Panting, you open the door, and then start the run again. It’s another corridor, identical windows on each side. They seem different, but as you look back, you don’t find them any different from the previous ones. Soon the corridors also coalesce and become different stations on the path of your train. Different names, different people getting in and getting out. But they all look and feel the same. That same chai shop, that book shop, the one selling samosas.

I feel someone chasing me. He wasn’t there earlier. Just someone who turned up a few corridors back. I don’t know who he is, but I know I don’t want to stop and find out. I know I don’t want to meet him. I run, but not faster, as I can neither increase nor decrease my pace.

Am at the end of a corridor now. A double door exit looms ahead. The doors are bigger, and look thicker. Darker, as if made of rosewood. There are golden carvings, ivy descending from the top, midget Banyan trees on both of them, reflecting off each other as if a mirror is between the two.

I catch hold of the handle-knob, twist it and push open the right door. It’s another corridor. The chaser feels closer now. I know he’ll gain on me, it’s imminent. But for know, I’ll continue to run. I’ll run because that’s all I know, cos that’s all am programmed to do.

Ugh! Another year! Well have a good one while at it!

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Time…

It has been four years since I quit Microsoft and left Seattle. Of course, there are 2 more weeks to go to count the start of my homecoming to Bangalore, but for all practical purposes I can say I’ve been living in Bangalore for four years now. When I look back, this is the longest stretch I’ve lived in any one country since my graduation. Of course, one never thinks of such things before graduation, you pretty much go with the flow.

Surprisingly, the previous longest was just over 3 years in Seattle. I never spent that much time in Bangalore after graduation. First I was hustled away to Shenzhen and then after return I spent around 2.5 years, with some time in Beijing thrown in. And then, of course, 1.5 years in Melbourne.

So it was a lot of movement and hustling around till grad school and then periods of stability with the job. Nothing surprising over there. I used to wonder if I’d have that itch after 3 years to want to move. But to be honest, any thoughts of moving get me sweating more than anything. The idea of packing, moving, long flights, setting base, finding an apartment, getting a kitchen going, a routine going, making friends, starting a social life, the whole thing just sounds so exhausting! And scary! I don’t know if I want to go through all that all over again.

I do wonder, as I’ve wondered often in this blog itself, how much longer I’ll be in Bangalore. Frankly, I neither have an answer nor an alternative if I have to think of a place. Maybe Kerala. I don’t know. I don’t want to think about it. I guess thinking and looking for answers would be the first step if the idea is to take a stronger hold. So, suffice to say that the idea isn’t taking stronger hold yet. I like my bike and I like the leisure options around Bangalore. The trips to Kabini and Bandipur are pretty much annual now. There’s the summer with the Fort High School concerts and the 10k. Long weekends off staying at home and just loafing around the city with visits to Blossom’s, Rangashankara and co for plays. The monsoons to look forward to each year and crib about. There is a cadence around the year.

And the thing I like about Bangalore is the demarcated seasons where you can actually feel and see the weather. The red blooms of the Gulmohars in summer, the yellow and purple Tabebuias and Jacarandas marking spring after the bare trees of winter. The Pongaemia tree in front of the house starts losing its leaves in Autumn, going bare in winter, sprouts leaves afresh in spring and blooms with tiny white flowers in Summer which bring forth hordes of bees to feast on them. Cadence and routine. The scary part is that, the time observing these cadences is marked in years and we become increasingly conscious that there are only so much of them. Nothing reminds you of passing time more than the marking of years, be it Birthdays or New Years.

Oh, and in other news, the workplace moves to Mahadevapura. A whole new paradigm of traffic jams and bottlenecks takes over. Surprisingly, this place is closer to my place than the previous one, but has some of the worst traffic if I have to take the shortest path. However, the good news is that the Metro will come into play. The bad news is that I don’t know when. Hopefully by April max, another 3-4 months of struggling before some manna from the big people.

I don’t know if I’ll write a new year post. I might write something during the holidays, but not sure if it will be annual themed. Am not going to do a count of the number of posts, mainly because it isn’t too encouraging. But it’s not worse or better than the previous year though. So let’s just say I have neither beaten any expectations nor disappointed. There is a cadence there also(:D).

But will leave you with this article about leisure, how less we have of it, and how busy people have become. Something to think about for the brand new year.

Leisure time is now the stuff of myth. Some are cursed with too much. Others find it too costly to enjoy. Many spend their spare moments staring at a screen of some kind, even though doing other things (visiting friends, volunteering at a church) tends to make people happier. Not a few presume they will cash in on all their stored leisure time when they finally retire, whenever that may be. In the meantime, being busy has its rewards. Otherwise why would people go to such trouble?

Alas time, ultimately, is a strange and slippery resource, easily traded, visible only when it passes and often most highly valued when it is gone. No one has ever complained of having too much of it. Instead, most people worry over how it flies, and wonder where it goes. Cruelly, it runs away faster as people get older, as each accumulating year grows less significant, proportionally, but also less vivid. Experiences become less novel and more habitual. The years soon bleed together and end up rushing past, with the most vibrant memories tucked somewhere near the beginning. And of course the more one tries to hold on to something, the swifter it seems to go.

Have a great 2015 people! And hope you have lots of leisure to just do absolutely nothing.