Sunday, December 02, 2007

A Time To Rewind...

I decided to move this by now customary year-end post up ahead. Two reasons for that, one is I had to get out of a blogging rut and this post had a template I have set in the previous years and was easy to replicate, the other reason being me getting back to my hometown in december, and memories, family, friends, places, habits, occasions are all going to come together in one overwhelming medley and hopefully supply a lot of posts to this blog. Readers have read most of this crap already, skirt it unless you have nothing better to do. 2007 was my year of passivity, it was my year of stability, it was my year of restless soul-searching, it was my year of loss and gain, and a year of lot more, which I intend to flesh out as I write on.

Ups - God - I haven't mentioned before that I spent six months from late september last year to late march looking for a job. The money I had saved up was all but over. God came along and took me under his wing once again as I was about to lose my direction in life. I had quit the UPSC preps by January when my forms didn't reach India in time. I had a return ticket back home for May, but a return to what and for what. I didn't have the answer but HE saved me the trouble. I haven't seen the inside of a church in six months, but every time I look back at how I overcame miraculously the challenges at work and in my mind, it is his unseen guidance I am compelled to acknowledge. Why is prayer such an impossibility for me...i struggle to find the answer. Maybe god lives only in a home, i am living in a sathram, maybe when i make a nest and settle down to it, HE will have a permanent dwelling place.

Ups - Career - The the longest I have worked at one place in my professional career - 8+ months now and counting. Last september when i returned to the US, I had made a firm decision to not go back to programming, i kept with it despite the delay in getting a job, took training in Cognos, a business reporting tool, and it has looked so far to be a right choice I made as a kind of wayside gas station to refuel and a stop-over motel to rework strategies on unravelling the big mystery to my purpose of living. Work was lazy till managers changed and now its hectic but I have been able to deal with it. I continue to be sick of meetings, the dozens of emails to be read and replied, the tasks to be managed, there are times I feel like running away but the money that has come in has helped. Thoughts of frustration and mediocrity have been relegated to the fringes of my existence. Love for, needs satisfied and the temporary security provided by money have given me justification and motivation to carry on for a few more months. A new career will beckon soon, it is a start from scratch, unless I find myself in it, I won't believe I made the transition. I am scared too. That is why I keep it secret.

Downs - Blogging - The latter part of the year has been a struggle to keep this blog going. Except for the upcoming expected interregnum in december I except this downward slide to continue next year too. Decided not to put pen to paper on thoughts arising from nostalgia and past memories and instead write only of present and future. Sadly I didn't do anything significant in the present, and the few posts I came up with in the last few months arose from career thoughts. To be frank, the hazy dreams of the future is the only thing playing in my mind now and there is space for nothing else. My mind is muddled and my words are lacking in flow now. Hopefully being back in tvm will put me back in some creative orbit. Still there will be positives from this year in that I arrived on the guts to post on this blog, a malayalam short story in january. There is some mystic almost spiritual energy for the malayalam language bubbling in me...I have a gut feeling that if I write to publish, it will happen in malayalam and not in english, despite all my inadequacies in the language. In february-march when 5-6 months had passed and i was still jobless and at wits end, i dug into my reserves of humour and memories and wrote on funny incidents to conquer all the worries and regain my sanity. Beyond blogging, as a writer this year was significant in that I tried to take classes in creative writing and screenplay to master the techniques behind it - I lost interest midway through, but I have the notes and hopefully will peruse them some other day. In writing fiction, a thankless process is coming up with story ideas, atleast once every day for the past one year, I have gone on a journey with my mind to craft many a tale, most of them never got anywhere, some find their way to summarized scribblings in my notepad jotted down while half-asleep, possibly never to be expanded on. I finally have another story to write now, but am troubled, with both the english language and determination deserting me in the effort to write. And finally grammar. I have given it a total miss all these years in the freedom of ownership that blogging offers...maybe it as to do with the rigid syntax checking enforced on us techies by programming tools! But using the right tenses, placing commas, spellchecks, I am making an effort to get these as right as possible nowadays. On re-reading my older posts, I now wonder if I slept through the english grammar classes in school!

Downs - Travel - Last year presented me with the opportunity to travel in North India. It was a great learning experience for me, my eyes soaked up the lives of so many people, and the sights of so many places. a lot of that found expression on this blog too. In contrast, this year found me wallowing away at home. In the past, I have done road trips in the US and covered the country, from the Pacific to the Atlantic coast. The absence of people, and not learning anything new in these travels has affirmed in me an aversion to travel here. All i can think of as travel this year, was a trip to chicago to hang out with cousins, one to florida for a family reunion, a weekend camping at hollister hills near san jose and a sailing trip few weeks back(my initial enthusiasm to don a sailor's cap during the trip and hoist and turn sails, etc died down in the open sea with rough waves giving the boat a real tossing and me a mild attack of sea-sickness which I did well to conceal from friends...whoever named the Pacific Ocean so, had an incredible sense of humour!)

Downs - Reading - I'd blame the computer and the internet for distracting me with youtube and malayalam movies and indian websites but my inability to set all this aside and take up a book and read, which i know would give me the same pleasure, is baffling to say the least! First library books, then amazon.com...i thought since the library books are free, buying from amazon would force me to read...no luck either ways. Brought a lot of malayalam works from kerala to read, most of them are still waiting for me. Shame on you, jibster!

Ups - Health - One day I took a bus, it braked, I almost got thrown but for the grip on the sidebar, i felt the muscles on my back stretch and dreaded for a second, of it tearing(I am now on my fourth year running in the US without medical insurance. I don't know why i keep taking these foolish risks...but i am glad i dont give any money to the scamsters!). That day i came back home, and announced to my sis, who had been cajoling me for a long time to hit the gym, that i would join her. We hired a personal trainer, who has managed to work wonders to my lean, atrophying physique and after years and years of being skinny and perpetually underweight, i stand today at a healthy 70kgs. I have had the worst eating habits too...i have skipped breakfast for close to 10 years now because of stomach trouble or because of running late for school/work but have now got back into that habit. I have been a compulsive outside eater too for the last many many years, cheap junk food from the fast food chains here like MacDonalds,BurgerKing, Taco Bell, Pizza Hut, etc have been my main source of nourishment in the US, i'd rather starve than cook, but now its been goodbye to junkfood for quite a while now, salads and a little fruit is all part of my diet now, and its as great and feel-good as chicken. The sis has been urging me to eat at home for a long time, I feel guilty making her cook after a tough day at work, but she convinced me that despite all my liberal postures, in my heart of hearts i am yet another mallu male chauvinist and that she wouldn't grudge me for it, but asked me to think of money i can save, not eating out, that i can put to better use for the future. Anyways all's well that ends well and i haven't had a fever for more than a year now. Touch wood! Looking forward to the reunion at school next month, and giving all 'em big boys a good run for the ball, when we play football and basketball.

<-> - Sleep - Is it a blessing or a curse I dunno. I have to take a nap once I get back from work. Without the nap, I am like a chathakozhi all evening and feel totally passive all night. Some nights, I get a good early sleep without the nap, but my habit of digging for stories is at its peak when i lie in bed, sometimes this causes me to become restless or excited and i stay awake for hours. But with the 2 hour evening nap, it gives me a cushion to go to bed at 1 but fall asleep only by 2 or 3 in the morning and wake up at 8am, and it all adds up to the perfect sleep hours! The sad part following the 2 hour nap, is that I haven't channeled my rejuvenated self to any constructive work in the 5 waking hours i get after.

<-> - Time - Time flies. Another blessing and curse dimension! A blessing in that my life from monday morning to friday evening at work and from friday evening to monday morning at home is over so fast, that the months gone by feel like a thankful blur and the months lying ahead to my D-day also look to pass by in that same fashion. It is also a curse in that, I look at some illustrious people in their twenties, many of them my classmates, and it pisses me that while I laze away, these people are working hard in their respective professions and doing a lot of fruitful stuff. Maybe my time is yet to come. Ha!

Downs - Friends - This was the year that friendships moved several rungs down the priority ladder for me. Previously I couldn't conceive a world without friends. As a part of my experiment with life, erected a wall between them and me, for several months of this year. I angered many of them. It was a cold, dark and empty world without them. But I managed. I joked to myself, talked to myself and lived for myself. The cellphone became an irritant. The experiment ended the day I decided on my next career, and rang some of them up. I was relieved, that I hadn't damaged the ties I consider more important to me than the ones with my relatives. I now see how these friendships will work in the coming years, from daily, the contacts with them had become weekly, now its monthly, in time we will be lucky to catch up once in a year or years. Career and family first, everything else comes second. Its a practical law of the universe, and it has caught me also in its drift.

<-> - Misc -
a. Watched quite a few good indian movies, old and new.
b. Have become an absent minded, impatient driver
c. Learnt to skip.(with rope!)
d. Drink a lot of water nowadays
e. Drinking rarely now, but when i drink its becoming a binge.
f. Too much youtubing (my faves)

Downs - Resolutions - The latest resolution made was just yesterday to take the 25 day lent for Christmas. There are a set of bad habits that I wanted to give up. Inspiration came from the 41 day Sabarimala vratham that Sreenivasan took in Chinthavishtayaaya Shyaamala! Maybe I love my weaknesses too much or I am too stuck in the morass of worldly indulgence. Not even one full day into the fast, I sheepishly promised infant jesus that I would try and welcome him into the world in better fashion next year! So no more resolutions...i have given up on reforming me...whatever good things happened, came by itself, the bad i invited in. Hopefully I have atleast learnt to reject new temptations.

This is my log of the year's activities. Sorry for the occasional bad language and haphazard writing. Goodbye 2007. Yours was a year I was caught stationary in a place, time and circumstances helpless in pursuing the call of my heart, meanwhile the earth went around the sun and did its full circle...you are also almost history now, but I am still standing. What if I run with the earth in 2008, do a lot of things differently, where will I be, 366 days hence, will I look at yet another winter sun and sing to him a different tune, will I perceive his balmy warmth on my face, and be able to offer a thankful smile in return? Is happiness always a thing of the past? Is satisfaction always a soother of the present? Is uncertainty always a primer for the future? Well life goes on...it dances only to the tune of those who can clear their minds of all the jarring notes, but Hope is the brand name of the dancing shoes I wear, and it keeps me on my toes. Enough of getting profoundly idiotic...wish you all a very happy new year.

5 comments:

mathew said...

wow..it was a nice read..i felt like reading someone elses personal diary!!;-P

"Maybe I love my weaknesses too much or I am too stuck in the morass of worldly indulgence"

this one caught me..how difficult to get out of it..isnt??

neways have a great trip home..and hoping to see more stories after u get out of that passive dogma.

and btw learn cooking..i must say its not as hard as it looks..and u ll start enjoying it in time..maybe u should cook a meal for ur sis for a change!!;-)

Anonymous said...

Jibster,

That last paragraph was so alive, it brought in such vivid images. I loved it through and through!

In your words, I could see so many reflections of my life this year. What a show this life is! Unpredictable, unfathomable, untamable...a beauty and a bitch in equal measures.

- Bunkster (lol)

Smita said...

chanced upon ur blog thro silverine's and what a pleasant and refreshing read it made...i loved those anecdotes and stories of ur school/college...my bro is also from SCT (and the famed! automobiles), so took an instant liking to you (yea, i am like that) and ur jottings...lovely read..do keep writing, u r wonderful at it!

The Quibbler said...

Not a big fan of this post. Pardonnez moi.
:-) Happy new year ta ya

MM said...

That made a good long read, Jibs. Perhaps what makes it so imminently readable is the fact that it comes straight from somewehre deep down there; the emotions are unsullied and appear as they are. I liked the bit abt Friends. And the cellphone becoming an irritant. Been there, seen that!

You just got urself another regular on ur blog!

Have a great new year!
:)