A day outside the web
by Ambareesh Sr Ja
Unlike my usual writing endeavours (Oh yes, I am now a self employed (read o/w jobless) writer) this piece was fortunate enough to garner a title prior to its completion. Points directly to the fact that, this time, I’m not a rudderless ship lacking in aim and direction. I do have all my thoughts, though sans order, ready to be pinned down.
It has been approximately nine years since the World Wide Web, captured my attention, and I’ve grown to become a fervent consumer of its many useful, not that-very-useful and absolutely-frivolous facilities. Social networking, despite its many negatives; does hold the lion’s share of my time spent online. Notifications, messages, interactions, mentions and friend requests- are observed and are decided upon with caution and deep thought. Though I do hate to admit it, I’m concerned about my thus generated internet-social-image. Sigh.
Anyway, all this would have gone along the normal course– the sun would still have risen in the east, birds would still have chirped every morning, everyone would still have continued to ‘tweet,chat,text and like’ in mirth-if it wasn’t for a fresh wave of thought that I’d shared with a dear one the day before. My apparently short-sighted challenge to the aforementioned was to step out of the grasp of the Cyberspace for 24 hours- an earthly day. I offered to join in, taking pride in the fact that my will power and determination was second to no mortal. So, out of the blue, and quite unplanned too – I “logged” out today morning at 12:01 a.m. and hit my bed. I distinctly remember my last thought, “A day without Chrome? (*smirk) Please, in my hand. So easy!” How wrong was ! How very wrong.
The day began in earnest. 8 O’ clock, I was ushered off bed, by a busy looking brother who wanted to use the bathroom. (“Stop knocking down the door will you, bloody son of…”(the rest was muted in self interest)). 9 O’ clock, after a post-sleep-nap I woke up, brushed my teeth, got my food from the kitchen, and immediately proceeded to my room. Switches on the PC, switches on the modem, right clicks on ‘Connect’ and then, it struck me. Oh bummer, I almost forgot. Well. Alright .Koyi nahi. Alt + F4.
A change in daily routine does alter your balance. Especially when you are so set in your habits. Out of mere joblessness at that particular hour of the day, I took out my camera and roamed the neighbourhood, and tried taking a few snaps. After ten minutes, the decision of not joining the Photography club back in college seemed very wise. I soon returned to my room, in search of something to burn time.15 minutes of sitting on a warwick chair, did me no extra favours. I realised with a pang of guilt that I was short- alarmingly short- of ideas at that moment. Suddenly the phone rang. “Buddy, ‘Aurangzeb’ at SL theatres, coming?”
3 hours, 80 bucks, a can of Pepsi and a pack of pop corns later, I emerged out of the theatre complex-yawning. Remarks? Been there, seen that. Bollywood, let me assure you, does not believe in the idea of redundancy-or the mere absurdity of it. A climax which was quite evident right from the start did not however overshadow the brilliant performances by Arjun Kapoor, Prithviraj Sukumaran, and the veterans Jackie Shroff and Rishi Kapoor. Issi liye paisa vasool, aur time bhi.A bumpy bus ride home. Lunch. Another short nap and I woke up between a weird dream – guns, tigers and camels. I did say weird.*Shrug
Maybe it was the idea of 8 hours that still stretched out before me, but I found myself lacking in interest in anything substantial. I tried to decipher the crude way in which human mind works. Ask yourself not to think of an elephant wearing pink shoes- Boom -there you have it- in HD- an African male elephant complete with perfect white tusks- wearing those bright pink ballet shoes. Imagination, when curbed, knows no boundaries, I thus deduced. Trying to push out that gruesome scene that you saw in a movie last week? There, floating into your brain, exactly when you were about to dig into that delicious Paneer tikka! Ew! I swear you can almost hear the sharp whisper- “Not very hungry now, are you?”, if you listen carefully.
So quite along the same lines was I. Walking here and there. Aimless. Seeing no point in particularly anything. Television channels seemed adept in making TV live up to its nickname-the idiot box- though these days I feel like one, for turning it on. Songs- the old ones had nothing new; and the new weren’t as appealing. Picking up a book seemed fine. So I sat down with a copy of “Five people you meet in heaven”. But blow the bloody time, I couldn’t concentrate. Saw myself reading the same page twice, without taking in a word- and I quit. I was almost about to find solace in another movie, grudgingly again-when the power went off. Cursing my ill luck, I stamped my foot.
“Etta (Brother), what is the log of log of x?” Huh? I had dozed off again. Rudely waking me up for the second time this day, was my younger sibling. A small brotherly scuffle was now inevitable. This time for lack of anything better to do, we tried our very own forms of martial arts at each other, complete with sound effects. Details were hard to keep track of, amid lightning quick moves and shadow strikes. The ‘battle’ was cut short unceremoniously by my mother, who came running when she heard a miniature explosion, from the living room (It was nothing really, a badly aimed plastic pot hitting the plywood door).In a single, long, continuous and fluent sentence (minus any cuss words-I was impressed) she gave us a piece of her mind. A compliment seemed out of place, as she commanded on an immediate cleaning up of the room. Leaving us bros together.
A broom in one hand and a dust-bin in another, we didn’t exactly symbolise masculine power, but as they say; hell knows no fury like a women scorned. So we complied without complaint, and quickly finished it all off. Adhering to his previous request, I proceeded to help him with his homework. It was fun, mind you. To see it all from a point of someone who had gone way past the expansion of (a+b) the whole squared- at least from a mathematical point of view; was different. Amidst the laughter and frolicking I did manage to teach him something. Or I think so, for the latter seemed to be enjoying himself, doing those perky math problems that have so become a part of our childhood. 6 years ahead of him on the life scale, I did have limitations on talking topics that I shared with him. But he, to my delight, had none. Unaffected by my lack of interest and enthusiasm(it was boring at times),he kept rambling on- about school, sports, cartoons,movies,heroes and what not. Conversation never seemed to follow a logical order. Unexplained jumps from “Why do you have three month vacations?” to “I think your hair looks stupid!” were to be tolerated. Yet it was amusing to say the least. Being elder, I did have a very rare gift of watching myself grow up, albeit in a different way. Raised by the same pair of humans, in the same environment-yet so different. The magnitude of myself being there, just struck me then. Did he look up to me? Nay, that sounds too uppity, I’m no role model. Jeez, I don’t even know where I’m heading. Do I even..? It was at this juncture that I saw the wall clock- 11 10. Time had flown. I had survived the day-nay, I had seized the day. Outside the web. The mere joy has led me to pen these words in 17 odd minutes. No higher purpose was served probably, but I’m content, and guess that’s what matters, the most.
To a wise man, every new day is a new life. I am waiting for tomorrow, hoping to sleep again today, with a smirk on my face. 😉