Time is continuous. Then why do we chop it into seconds, minutes, hours, days, weeks, months, years, decades and centuries? I guess it's partly because we need excuses to start afresh after getting hopelessly entangled in problems of our own making. The dawning of a new year is perhaps the best alibi we have ever invented towards this end.
My last few hours of the old year were spectacularly unspectacular…which isn't exactly surprising given only the low-profile existence I can afford. Some clothes begged to be bathed in soap-water before the new year was heralded. I obliged. This lousy exercise wasn't exactly able to ebb my enthusiasm and I set about sending en-masse SMSes to my acquaintances. The messages trickled out…and the replies trickled in.
I got chatting with Badri and we concurred on how I was gradually skewing towards technology while he was towards management. Our interests were parting ways and there was a tinge of sadness in the discovery. He fondly recalled how we would talk for hours on end while studying in school. Those days are long gone.
Well, all the furious typing on the keyboard and the streaming audio made me completely forget about the passage of time until it was well past 9 pm, the undocumented deadline for dinner. Swapping snaps with Badri was partly to blame. Anyway, after excusing myself , I went out on the prowl for something to satiate my appetite which was alarmingly heightened after the realization. Too late. The only tried-and-tested restaurant was downing its shutter…and that left me in the lurch. My stomach rumbled in anger and agony.
Being too lazy to venture far, I walked to an outlet and had an egg puff. A quick-fix for my noisy stomach. A bar-cum-restaurant lying next to the shop looked inviting from the outside. Peering in revealed a stinking air, dim lights and even dimmer people. I could do well without them. I retreated, headed back home, overshot it on account of an impromptu change of heart and reached a shop specializing in eateries. Had a chocolate pastry. While paying over-the-counter, my hand gently brushed against the icing atop a cake. I hastily escaped before the damage was accounted for!
'An Equal Music' had enthralled me thought its pages and I greedily read through them in anticipation of romantic rendezvous between Michael and Julia, although I couldn't help feeling sorry for the spurned Virginia. Her straight-to-the-point conversations with the protagonist were a delight to read. So on reaching home I continued reading from where I had left on the previous installment. I put some Brahms. Surprisingly, I had begun to like the 2nd Symphony over the past few days. Kinda reminds me of how I hated Beethoven's 7th and had all of a sudden fallen in love with it during my exams in Pune. So I now tried my luck with Brahms's 3rd. It didn't sound bad either. The 3rd movement ended at around 11:30pm. The silent phase revealed some loud dance music coming from the next room. Manilal and gang were all set to have a blast of a time as the new year approached dangerously close. Wanting to revel in the moment, I stopped my Brahms, closed my book and came out to the balcony. The guys were all agog with a thousand ideas ambling over their heads on how best to celebrate the new year. No consensus was reached. Some mild drinking was underway, though, as usual, I kept myself aloof from the exercise. Downstairs, a man was already well intoxicated and wishing all passers by a happy new year!
NEW YEAR descended upon us accompanied by fireworks from all around. The sky was literally lit by little missiles piercing into the darkness. Manilal and gang went hysterical and were dancing so wildly that to the uninitiated they would have looked like a couple of madmen in a hurry to shake off their limbs! The music was blasting away at full volume, handicapping any attempt at communication. The drunk fellow from downstairs found his way up and offered us cakes. I could see how irrepressibly upbeat he was. He left, we laughed, we screamed, we crazed, we made a fool of ourselves…all to our hearts content!
After the hiatus to welcome the new year, I went back to my book. The last movement from Brahms's was waiting to be played…and played it was. I drifted away to slumber land at what must have been around 2 in the morning.
Woke up at 8:45. The sky was tightly cloaked. It was an awfully cold morning. Much to my relief, the heavenly canopy was suddenly in shreds, as if suffering from an internal strife. The sun took full advantage of the opportunity and forcefully pierced through the covering. Soon the cloak had dissipated completely and the sun shone happily on us. We celebrated the new year with a mini chicken fiesta. I continued with my book. Rohit visits me in the evening. He has been planning to formally shift to a place nearby for quite some time now.
Though it’s a new year, old problems spill into it with absolute disdain. The floor is heavily soiled, the room in an a complete mess, the wardrobe is in shambles and needs to be overhauled, my luggage still debilitates free movement in the little space that my room graciously grants me. My half-a-dozen pairs of socks stink so hard that their unison could paralyze a buffalo for life. I decide to wash them all together. It's evening time already. I go ahead with the wash…followed by taking my first bath of the year. It's too late for the day, I know, but better late than never!
It's absolutely certain by now that the credit card issuing fraternity doesn't deserve any credit for their sloppy work. The last day of the year endowed me with the much anticipated HDFC credit card. But what I wasn't prepared for was an add-on card for my mom…which came piggy-backed conveniently on my card. To hell these stupid banks! These buggers should be taxed for making our lives miserable. I'll have to return the redundant card first thing tomorrow morning. What's more, the HSBC credit card pin hasn't arrived. I've got to quiz them too. The convocation is impending. Must send a draft to my institute. The LIC premium needs to be paid. Reader's Digest subscription needs to be renewed. French classes to be joined. MyValueShop authorities to be grilled. Tax declarations to be made.
The list is long and unending. If only the old baggage didn't trail us into the new year!