It is raining heavily in Bangalore. Heavier than it was in Kerala in the 10 days I stayed there. I stand close to where the rain is falling in torrents and can feel the water trickling down my face. Just outside the gate there are red and pink roses in full bloom and my heart does a song – Raindrops on roses. Sound of Music may sound clichéd in today’s times but when the heart wants to sing, it wants to do so like Maria.
It’s three weeks since I left my job, cancelled my employment visa and landed in India. For one week after that, I was still in work mode – barking instructions to my colleagues to the point of exhaustion. This one is embargoed, cancel it – This one is revealing, cover up or are you sure this is the right picture?
And then one week later, the little post-its in my head started disappearing and so did the intros and headlines I would always think of. There were no appointments in the phone calendar. A few stray emails kept the connection alive. And they too stopped. My email was diverted and so I deactivated it on my phone. A few of my colleagues spoke of everything else but work on WhatsApp. My disconnect with work was complete.
For the first time in 21 years, I was off work. How does it feel? Strange and bewildering. I had gotten so used to stressing myself out and now, there was nothing to panic about. Even on annual holidays, I was so connected to work that I composed edit notes in my head. And here there was absolutely nothing to do but relax.
Elizabeth Gilbert in ‘Eat, Pray, Love’, called it Bel far niente – which in Italian means the ‘sweet joy of doing nothing’. In the past few weeks, I have managed to catch up on sleep by taking short naps and regularizing my night sleep. I have eaten three meals a day without skipping on any. I have simply snacked without feeling guilty. A childhood friend spent an entire day with me where we spoke of school days and imminent travel. I also met up with a friend and ex-colleague in Bangalore and it was fun to be at our favourite haunt – a bookstore and catching up with Muscat news and of course, work figured in our conversations too – loads of good memories of Costa coffee and chai at Madras Café. (Food as they say, is a great leveler!)
I am at a place now where I am not thinking of what tomorrow will bring. I know it may bring happiness and joy, panic and worry, love and longing but it will also bring with it the strength to accept.
Meanwhile, I will let my rain wash my soul and my heart do a song and dance of its own.