Things I haven’t done in a long long time…

by Anita Menon

Now that I am back in Bahrain and still sans Mimi, I get a lot of  free time to loiter in my own home trying  to figure out how I am going to expend myself the entire day. I listen to the radio, I read some, I browse the internet, bake a cake, watch tv and spend a lot of time looking outside the large windows in my living room.

Right outside I get to see the most heartening sight from my fourth floor apartment. There happens to be  an all boys arabic school dot outside my home. Early in the morning I observe them standing in lines saying their morning prayers. Thereafter they disperse and go their respective classes. After an hour or so, some class or the other has their games class which means I get to see tiny specks of red and white spilling out on to the basketball court. Their teacher splits them into teams for a game of basket ball. Sometimes I see a group playing a serious game. Over a steaming cup of black coffee, I find myself cheering and jeering at them. I get so involved in their game that I lose track of time and enjoy myself immensely. I talk aloud to myself, chiding them when a player misses a pass or makes a wrong one. When the bell rings, they all abandon a good game to my disbelief and walk away. I feel like calling them back to start again.

Really silly, I know.

After one such angst-ridden morning, I caught myself reflecting upon a time when I used to regularly play basketball after school. I even played when I was pursuing my MBA in Pune. All the exam tension, placement stress vanished after a quick 30 minute session at the basket ball court. After I joined my job through campus placements, I don’t remember a time when I have ever played any sport at all. I had dreams of learning how to play tennis, taking up swimming seriously and even attempting squash. None of them materialized. I do work out obsessively, but it is different as compared to the joy that I realized, I get from playing a sport. There’s no pressure of doing certain number of sets of crunches or burning calories. Playing a sport ensures that it engages you in such a way that you don’t bother about the calories burnt, rather enjoying the activity itself. A huge difference.

When was the last time I played a SPORT, really? Its been more than 5 years now!!

This lead me to think about all the lovely things I hadn’t done in a long time.

PICNICS – When was the last time I went for a picnic. Snacks, drinks, frisbees and quiet little board game with friends and family on a lovely day at the beach or somewhere scenic? It has been forever. Last I remember hitting the beach at Mithapur with my class 12th schoolmates for a picnic with food and frolic. I have such beautiful memories of that evening. Sigh!

Arts & Crafts – I don’t remember the last time I might have doodled! Was it to pass time during a boring lecture in college or while time away at an office meeting? It was mostly an absent-minded effort. No conscious effort to create anything beautiful, funny or remotely interesting.

PLANT A SAPLING – We had the loveliest garden growing up in my small town of Mithapur. Well it was mostly because  my father was passionate about it. For hours, I used to watch him, labouring away, watering, sowing seeds, tending to the vegetable patch and enjoying the fruits of his labour. He would grow the most succulent of gourds, the snappiest of lady fingers, plump tomatoes and all the local produce possible seasonally. I used to help him out sometimes planting a rose stem here, burying the hollyhock seeds there and plucking out weeds. I haven’t done this for years and absolutely miss the joy of watching a  beautiful red rose bloom and the beans saplings sprout.

One can argue that these joys have been replaced by other joys but then I can’t help being nostalgic and missing these simple joys. When people ask me what I enjoy doing, I almost always mention that I love shopping, working out, clubbing with friends ( before Mimi) and browsing the internet. Nothing wrong with that really, but I know that these activities don’t really give me the same sense of joy but are merely acts of filling my time with things to do.

Do I really enjoy them? Yes it brings me joy but only for a brief moment. It is a life of ultimate highs and spiralling lows. It leaves no lasting impression in my heart and it never really gives me a sense of fulfillment.

The funny thing is I know it all, yet I feel I am incapable of changing anything.