Sunday, November 28, 2010

Break ke Baad

Hello back! The last few weeks whizzed by a little too fast for me to devote any time to blogging. But now I've decided that if I am to make this blogging thing work, I have to work at it quite seriously. It would just get tougher to write, the longer I stay away. And yes, its the only good outlet available to me now, of indulging in some creative self-expression. Okay so there you have it - in writing - my commitment to THE CAUSE. (Note to self: read this post whenever laziness rears its ugly head).

I was on leave some days back and realized anew how a break is necessary to maintain a sense of perspective in life. (And no, this is not a plug for 'Break ke Baad'. Which, by the way, looks extremely predictable). The holiday came at just the right time as I had been swamped with work for some weeks and had begun to reach that stage where cribbing about it becomes a mantra that you repeat frequently. I felt claustrophobic, paranoid and people began to get on my nerves. Just before I turned into a grouchy bear, I decided to apply the 'Ask and you shall receive' principle. What's that you ask? Well it basically states that if you ask for something, you increase the probability of your receiving it. You might get it or you might not. But if you never ask for it, you will never get it.

So I applied for a few days leave, putting forward my argument for the Defence by pointing out how much leave I had accumulated which would go to waste once the year ended, how long it had been since my last leave etc. In hindsight, the only error I made was in not applying for some more days. Anyways, all's well that ends well. My leave got sanctioned and I quickly booked tickets to visit my two aunts in Chennai. I had last been there around three years back and had a great time on two side trips exploring Pondicherry and Mahabalipuram. This time the weather played spoilsport (retreating monsoons) so I couldn't go anywhere out of the city. However, my aunts pampered me no end and I was happy to relax and de-stress in their beautiful home. I went to the beach and just soaking my feet in the sea seemed to cut my worries in half. I also shopped a lot which basically left me content and broke. Let me reiterate - there's no therapy quite like retail therapy!

I also find it interesting to observe the life, the pace of a different city. Chennai has good infrastructure and hardworking people. It is a city that constantly seeks to upgrade its lifestyle without losing out on its traditions. The people generally wake up early and make their rangolis (kolam) outside their door after their bath. The city is bright with women in colourful sarees and flowers in their hair. I was impressed with the aesthetic and efficient construction of a lot of the two-three storeyed houses that lined many of the streets. There are huge malls and all manner of basic amenities. The local fishmonger hands over a card with his number which you can call to receive home delivery of your required items! Vegetarian fare is of course very popular and I enjoyed one such meal which had 15 different items! In my home city, it is quite unthinkable to want veg food if you are a non-vegetarian but since I enjoy it, Chennai was great for me in terms of cuisine. The main grouse I have with the city is that the most common mode of transport is the auto-rickshaw where you have to negotiate the fare to your destination with the driver. What does a newcomer do? It can be really difficult if you don't know the place and doubly so if you don't speak the local language. But something to pick up and something to be proud of everywhere I guess. And homebird that I am, I began to miss Kolkata, after only a week and was happy to fly back and share the treasure trove (read: sarees) from Chennai with mum/masi/sis and bask in the mellow November sun...

A holiday is like a cocoon that we weave for ourselves away from the stress of daily life out of which we emerge refreshed and rejuvenated. It's like living a different life, seeing new places and things, taking time to stop and smell the roses and most importantly, realizing all that life has to offer you. And hence for me it always serves as a way of bringing balance into my life, of revising my perspective. Of reminding myself anew of what is important and what really doesn't matter at the end of the day. Human nature being what it is, I don't know how long I can hold onto this simple realization, this positive vibe. So my challenge is to try and carry the holiday glow with me till my next holiday. Cheers to that!