Thursday, January 31, 2008

Chronicles of a Busy Mind II

My day today began on a self-deprecatory note. Last evening, I opened a big fat Java book that I'd borrowed from the library (which doesn't stock fiction- can you imagine?!), and skipped Servlets (assuming I knew something about the topic) to go straight to JSP. I ended the evening confused, and not a little bit wiser. Which brings us to this morning. I was not very pleased with myself, stubbornly disjointed terminology from JSP still in my head. On the bus, I found a classmate of mine immersed in a Cryptography textbook. She said she wasn't able to make sense of it. And that made me feel better. I know it's wrong to feel satisfied at others' misfortune, but it doesn't really matter when you're in the same boat. It just makes the burden more bearable, and you can once again sink back into the imaginary world you had inhabited before a confounding computer language dragged you out into reality.

I can't wait for the Formula One season to begin. I have said this earlier, weekends are extremely insipid without motor racing. I also want to see MotoGP back, watch Valentino Rossi battle with the youngsters, and hopefully win the championship this season, after two years of disappointment. ForceIndia or not, my loyalties will of course lie with Ferrari. Heikki Kovalainen is already doing extremely well in McLaren Mercedes, and the season can only get more interesting than the last, with the top three drivers in three different teams. Renault might have to rebuild themselves, but with Fernando Alonso in the team, they cannot be written off. The experts made the mistake with McLaren last year; as for me, the heart says Felipe Massa, the mind says Kimi Raikkonen/Lewis Hamilton.

I have never lived more than four years in any single house, I think. This, of course, keeps my brain rather busy accumulating thoughts and memories from various places- how summers, winters and the rains have passed, where I have had the best view of the hills and the sky. I am reading a book called 'Rebecca' by Daphne Du Maurier, in which the protagonist wishes memories could be bottled up so that they can be released whenever we want to relive certain moments. They'd never grow stale or fade. I don't think I'd like it that way. Nostalgia wouldn't be the same if memories were within reach. Life would lose some of its charm if we could always have whatever we wanted. There is a strange kind of pleasure in being able to torment ourselves and laugh or shed tears at memories. I might think differently another day, but today, this is the way I feel.

Every night, I slip out onto the balcony to observe the watchman of the neighbouring block of flats prepare for bed. Most of the time, he is stretched out on his dusty floral mattress on a folding cot, by half-past eight. The gates are wide open, but he is in bed, wrapped in a dark grey woollen blanket from head to toe. There is something comforting in this sight. He is an old man; his work for the day is done, and he can give his tired bones a rest. I sometimes watch his four grandsons play. They roll a tyre along the concrete floor of the parking lot, then climb onto a single bed and cover themselves with a huge bedsheet. They giggle and shriek and throw themselves around, blissfully unconcerned about the racket they make.

Talking of play, here is something which might sound really absurd, but at that moment it really felt that way. Two evenings ago, the girls from my building played in the parking lot, singing, "London Bridge is Falling Down...", with the refrain of "My Fair Lady". Their voices were so much in sync, so sweet and lovely- quite like voices reverberating in the awe-inspiring sanctity of a place of worship. Their singing was, in a strange way, uplifting. Perhaps because it bore innocence and joy, unencumbered by any knowledge of tomorrows, school and studies. When we play as children, all that matters is that particular moment of fun and frolic. Everything else is history, or else relegated to the deepest recesses of the mind from where it is drawn only when absolute necessity demands it.

The mango tree across the road is in bloom. The Royal Enfield motorbike, for a few days conspicuous by its absence from the parking lot, is back in place. I have an assignment in Cryptography to finish, due tomorrow. There is a presentation coming up. From what is seemingly unimportant I am forced to come back to (overrated) reality. Now I'm off to work, leaving for bedtime the rest of my soliloquy, when the lights will be turned out and the television sets stop blaring. The watchman will switch on his radio and Telugu songs from a few decades ago will float through the air, punctuated by the relentless calls of the insects of the night. I shall pay my nightly visit to the balcony and make my weather prediction for the morrow. Then I can betake myself to bed, my thoughts for company, and probably another diary entry in the offing.

PS- I have decided that it is sacrilege to call the mind idle when it is always busy concocting new schemes or drinking in every bit of joy visible, or simply contemplating, when it is not working hard at what we think of as useful work. Is there anything more powerful than the mind? I wish there was; anyway, I am going to give it the respect is deserves, and call these the chronicles of a busy mind.


Arun said...

hey glad ya decided to give us more of yer chronicles...lovely post again...the part about memories was great ! and hey the name change is apt :)

Jaya S said...

Thank you, Arun. I guess nothing suits me quite like scribbling unintelligibly :).