The Unemployment Diaries – II

I’m unemployed. God knows I needed some time off. I had convinced myself about it too. But then, like I always do, I managed to plunge into this funk where the words dance around my head – “Unproductive” and “Jobless”. It’s not like I’ve not enjoyed the break. After many years of deadlines, it seemed like I was running myself into a wall, specially with the last job being so completely mind-numbing. And the sudden freedom sure felt like oxygen to the sputtering half-dead. I travelled – Singapore, Delhi, Bangalore, Udaipur, Jaipur, Ajmer, Chittor, Pushkar, Guwahati, Nagpur, Punjab, London – in a space of six months. I found the time to actually watch end-to-end World Cup matches – three in the stadium!  I read whatever came my way – books, articles, magazines, news, blogs. I watched movies, read up imdb bios of lesser-known actors and got hooked to new TV stuff. Shopped for ingredients I didn’t know existed, experimented a lot with cooking new stuff, with better results than I expected. Cleaned up my diet a bit and started ingesting previously-yuck!-certified foods like yoghurt. Organized cabinets, went through several loads of dry-cleaning stuff, unearthed some still-packed wedding presents and discovered new goodies. Found the courage to plant two tiny saplings in my barely-there window ledge. Missed fewer gym sessions than I did earlier. Took up a freelance assignment in the same field of work, and though it’s dragging along uneventfully, it’s been a tiny effort at working for myself. Shopped on weekdays when stores were less crowded and there was nobody to rush me. Stayed up late every night and slept in every morning. Got long overdue pedicures and haircuts. And yes, I looked forward to every weekend when my friends and the husband would be as jobless as me. Would have loved to do many other things that’ll wait for another time.

It’s been detoxifying in many ways and it has helped me gain perspective on many personal and professional fronts. Things that make me happy and why. Things I wish I’d thought about more earlier. Things I need to change about myself. Things that were far bigger in my head than they really are. Things I never stopped to notice. And blessings I often forgot to count. The more the distance I put between myself and the corporate rat race, the more meaningless the last few years of my life seem to be.

However, as you may point out, I didn’t blog as often as I said I would like to, and not even as often as I did before the break (also missed blogging on the fourth anniversary of this blog 3 months ago!). For one, as fun as I might make this sound, there are always phases when you feel your worth is decided by how many hours you clock on an actual worklog. And the only posts that brewed up at such times were whiny and angry – stuff I refrained myself from putting up on the blog. Secondly, there are certain things about this situation that make me insecure and I didn’t want to bare all my cards in an open blog. The only posts I wrote were the times I was reassuring myself that I was alright 🙂

Over the past month though, I’m back to being edgy and prone to snap. The feeling of time slipping from my grip has returned. I’m in the middle of an unshakable funk that envelopes me. My bed is my island, and one day last week, I panicked a little bit at the thought of how many hours I had spent with my ass parked right there. Seemed like it’s time to step out again into the big, bad world and swim with the flow.

So yes, even though, this royal life agrees an awful lot with me and my lazy ways, it’s time to dust that CV again and go hunting. This time, hopefully, I’ll tread carefully and land somewhere more promising. About time this life was lived on my own terms. Sure it’s a painful journey of trying to answer questions about this “sabbatical”, but I’ll find a way.

Wish me luck, and come back soon-ish. I hope to right some wrongs, and post more often in my run-up to landing a half-decent vocation 🙂

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School of Life: My course list :)

Well, I might or might not have said something about a NaBloPoMo yesterday, and I may or may not be sticking with it 😀

Today, being Janamashtami, was an off day.. and if you know me, I love very few things more than a mid-week holiday. As of last week, today was to be spent with cousin D whose birthday is today. Both our husbands travelling, we had hatched many plans of painting the town red and maybe getting very drunk, but the poor girl is down with malaria and has had to travel to Delhi to stay with family 😦 

Left to myself, I’m usually cranky and snap at the first hapless person who calls me! So I was pretty determined to not let  that happen today.. there’s only so much diva behaviour one’s family can take 😀 I had planned on trying a new recipe, going window-shopping and sorting out my very messy cupboard. Well guess what? NONE of that happened.. I have successfully spent a whole day cooped up in one room, and doing god-knows-what. This is what happens when you have another holiday coming up soon – just helps the process of procrastination, telling yourself that you’ll do it on Saturday 😉 But there’s something to be said about such a lazily-spent day.. I don’t know about re-energizing and all, because IMHO, being up and about is anyday more re-energizing.. but such a day definitely puts you in touch with some of your random and involuntary thoughts, no? Like today, some of the randomest things I have done are: check online the symptoms of something I suspect I might have a mild case of, get exactly 2 (very general) out of 10 symptoms to match, freak out about it, make a mental note of seeing a doctor, look up recipes of some desserts I was craving, look up easier versions, look up where one could find ingredients in my 10 km radius, look up substitutes of some ingredients, give up, think about why the better-looking girl always gets to play only the bitch in movies, think about what is the age/ stage cutoff to colour one’s hair purple, think about an argument I had about 6 years back (!).. you get the drift!

Well then, ladies and gentlemen, the non-point of this post is that blogging this is probably my most productive act of the day. There’s this tag I’ve been meaning to do about 10 things one wants to learn.. the tag’s been doing the rounds, but given my poor track record with tags, I haven’t been tagged.. so I am crashing the party, blogistaan 🙂 Here goes:

As far as skills go, I really want to learn:

  • To knit. Basic sewing is what I know now.. but I think knitting’s very creative. One day, I’ll wear mittens I knitted!
  • To swim. One of these days, I’d like to go to a beach and not sit around sipping a margarita 😐
  • To speak French. Sexy, innit?
  • To put on awesome smoky eye makeup.

But as far as, umm, bigger things go, I want to learn:

  • To be able to shut up when I’m most angry. More often than not, I let it rip and I am yet to see the good *that* ever does!
  • To see things for what they are, and not blow them up in my head. I mean, a hyperactive imagination is the last thing I want some times.
  • To have the courage to act on some of my difficult or risky plans. Half the time, I can’t even articulate what it is holding me back, but something there is.
  • To worry a little less.. I really could give my mother a run for her money, and that’s saying something!
  • To expect less of people and situations.

That’s not much to ask, is it now? :/

Oh, I think your children’s pre-admission interviews is about the right life stage to stay off something like colouring your hair purple 😀

Redux

There are strange things I thank God for. Like the longish commute I loudly curse – internally, I’m really thankful for it. It helps me be quiet (as opposed to being have-mouth-will-blabber), and get a think. It is mandatory for that transit from home to work. On such a commute – yesterday or the day before, who knows? – I traced back a significant part of my life. I think I got to 1999. In between, I met the person who always wore Fab India kurtis with weird-shape bottoms. I also brushed past emotionally charged geek, and I was really embarrassed to meet her. But then I got to the person in 1999. The person in 1999 thought she had a lot of secrets. Secrets of immediate family. And those of extended family. Of boys and girls who she had to pretend were her friends. Of those who were friends. And those she imagined she knew. And those she knew she imagined. Looking back, I could really scoff at this person, because really, 16 isn’t an age to pretend to be all mystical. 24 is. But the person at 16 had an air of precocity that makes it harder for the person in 2010 to really mock her. For precocity, if pierced, is really like breaking someone’s heart. And in this case, she was all heart.

She intrigues me. This ability to listen endlessly without saying much, and still have the gall to go ahead and do whatever the hell she knew was right. To get to a point where she knows she was incorrigibly wrong. To shrug. To live again. Her clarity, even in the most immature of life’s plans, makes me envious – I almost insist she comes back with me, and nothankyou, we won’t want to take the emo-geek with us at all. The person at 16 was a school girl dealing with images, woes, joys, ambitions, perceptions, crushes and the correct length of socks. Little else. Yet, each one of those was so clearly laid out. She knew the image she portrayed – she was aware of every element of her carefully-visualized unawareness. She cried for things most people laughed at. She was happy with very little; back then, materialism was neither a choice nor a craving. Ambitions were so many and so bizarre; she would almost disrespect the person in 2010. If she had a crush on someone, he would get the royal ignore – it works. And the correct length of socks is really subjective – except short is for losers.

I’d like to think that weird-shape bottoms phase really messed her up. But no. She chose that. She chose everything. She hardly regretted. She was who they were proud of. They said they never needed to tell her what to do – she knew better. The emo geek phase? She always knew that wasn’t her. She and I can almost look at THAT one as the anomaly in the scheme of things. How then did she get to this person in 2010? Is life really so gradual that even a train-wreck seems like a no big deal in its slow progression? Girl in 1999, in hindsight, you could have done one thing better – you could have prepared the nerd in 2005 or the woman in 2008 to survive this train-wreck without letting go of the precocity.

Atleast, the one in 2010 still does whatever the hell she wants. Without the precocity, though.

I’m back again, and have absolutely no excuses to offer about that looooong, unannounced absence. But, without much ado and for the sake of posterity, I thought I should come back and do a year round up. Here’s what my 2009 was made up of:

January: A 4 hour commute to work everyday and a horrid boss were the highlight of the month. With that stupendous a start, I should have taken a clue and taken the next 11 months off life. But no, we continued to prod along. I’d think the hazy Delhi mornings kept me going. Oh, add to that weekend trips of extremely panicky shopping for the upcoming engagement. Learnt that you can surprise yourself at how far you can go, if you keep at taking the next little step.

February: The most terrible two weeks at work, followed by the engagement.. muchos fun! 🙂 And just before the engagement, I got proposed in the whole down-on-one-knee style which blew me away. Work remained the nemesis of my life. Learnt that it’s because of work that I’ve learnt to value vacations and family-time more.

March: The much-awaited move to Bombay finally materialized! I was almost losing hope, and I was certainly losing my mind. My brother got operated on for a sports injury, which was a real scare. Learnt that life does have terrible timing, and you just have to lump it.

April: The very first month of staying absolutely alone. Strangely cathartic and mighty expensive. Met the Landlady from Hell who was one of the few people who have shocked me more than once. Learnt that staying alone is a big part of growing up. Highly recommended.

May: Met new people and made new friends. Missed home terribly, and had a HUGE fight with the landlady. House hunting in a city that doesn’t exactly welcome single people who have friends coming over, eat non vegetarian food, drink and party. Commuting from one end of the city to the other. Learnt that thinking “how bad can it get” is just tempting Fate!

June: Completed a year at my workplace. Recessionary times = proposals for bizarre projects that would get us some business, any business. Enough and more time for gossip sessions, gtalking and late night movies. The fiance’s birthday was celebrated with me, his best friend, his mom and grand-mom. Learnt that it does pay to be patient and hang on when you really don’t like your job.

July: Moved to a new house finally!! Started working on a huge-ass PSU Tender that took up all my time, energy and sanity. Red-tapism is funny only when you don’t have to deal with it. Lost my temper very very often, and not proud of it at all. Learnt that I score in negative on corporate-ness, and can’t be diplomatic in the face of utter stupidity.

August: Some more of the madness continued at work. It was sheer bliss the day the wretched
thing got submitted, never to haunt me in my sleep again.. or so I thought. More notices threatening to “reject your bid unless you submit…” and “disqualify your submission in case you don’t…” were tendered to the firm with yours truly running around helter skelter to do the needful. Oh, also joined the gym. Learnt that it never really is over.

September: The birthday month! Got thrown into another whirlwind project. Meetings, lists and excel sheets were all I saw. Oh, this was also the month of some really impulsive shopping, totally instigated by the illusion of weight loss, what with all the religious gymming. Learnt that you owe it to yourself to have something to look forward to, at the end of the day.

October: Two months to the wedding, and I was totally unprepared. Mom, dad and aunts were suitably panicked, and in fourth gear by this time. Went home, hogged on gol-gappas, made many many trips to Chandni Chowk, splurged on wedding finery, high heels and other things I’ll probably never use. Came back to hardcore mess at work. Learnt that there’s no place like home.. Bah!

November: Raced against time to get the work done before the wedding holiday began. Late nights, extreme cribbing and Excel overdose. The day before I was to go on leave brought good news at work, which made it seem like it wasn’t all that pointless after all. Was in such an auto-pilot mode that it hit me that I was finally done only when I was on that flight to Delhi. Learnt that we owe more to caffeine than we give it credit for.

December: Got married. It is awesome, scary, exciting, frightening and confusing. I have a whole post planned out for that though. Went on a much-needed honeymoon vacation to Australia and New Zealand, which was really the stuff of dreams. Came back to an awesome-r Christmas and New Year’s Eve with family. Learnt that you can always end it in style, if you couldn’t begin it so.

.. and that’s all, folks! That was my year – much learning, eh? It would have been much worse than it sounds if it were not for my mom – who’s basically a woman of steel, and the then-fiance now-husband who I like to think is like a tea bag – you don’t know how strong he is, till tested by hot water. Super cheesy, I know dude! 😀

I shall be back soon with a few posts: Being Married, A Decade Round-Up and maybe a Travelogue. Happy New Year, my 1.5 readers!! May God bless you with a splendid 2010, with lots of happy times and loved ones. While I’m at it, wish you a very Happy Lohri / Pongal / Makar Sankranti as well 🙂