pretty neat by the generally arid and dull Noida standards and it shows too. I had put in a longish day yesterday, having another crack at getting a subversion repository up and running here, and was back in office before 10 AM today, which is a record of sorts for me. In any case, on Monday, I started with the umpteenth attempt to clean up my act. It is working in parts – I’ve stopped smoking at home and started going to bed early and eating a wee bit better too. There is a lot to be done, but at least this is some start.
Otherwise, the withdrawal from practically everything continues. It occurred to me last night that I can’t even remember when I last felt some passion in anything that I do. A couple of years ago, it used to be different. I used to passionately love and care about the ones I felt close to. I used to work passionately, regardless of the outcome. Now there is just a dull detachment. I do make a pretty good effort, but the crucial, final 1% is missing. It makes things easier to walk away from and be mostly unaffected by negative developments. But it also feels like deadwood, making it hard to conjure up even a smile, or that odd peal of genuine laughter or even a couple of heartfelt tears.
And it is not just the private sphere; the public half also has gone AWOL. Even when I have not been one for blog meets and the whole ‘community’ thing, I used to participate, at least on a handful of blogs. Now that too has gone, helped in good measure by numerous flamewars and whatnot. I do read most of them, but even when I don’t, I feel that I have not missed much. Is it the bane of predictability or is a case of high expectations? I do not know and I don’t care much either.
In real life, the surprising change has been that I’ve fell off the partying wagon just like that. The dark, smoke-filled, crowded places have been a magnetic escape for me in the past four years. It all started at the famous Turquoise Cottage (also known as TCs to most of the Delhi crowd) in 2001, if I remember right. That time, working with the IE, I was this wide-eyed-wonderer, caught between the amazement of having a place in Delhi where they played the kind of music that I liked and the long straight hair of a female colleague who used fondly call me “the villager”.
Since then I’ve done most of the joints here and enjoyed it to the hilt, even doing unbelievably crazy stuff like riding on the rickety motorcycle, well past midnight, with the then girlfriend behind me in a short skirt and thigh-high boots, from Chanakyapuri to home at Saket. And the last two years were the peak of the craziness -- working till late in the evening, a splash-and-dash at home, then more alcohol, dancing and revelry and then coming back not earlier than 3 AM. I miss the dancing part, though. Not that I could twirl anyone or do the Salsa, but I guess I’ve managed enough to not be given weird looks and even be given once a wee bit of space of our own in the non-existent floor at TC.
Falling off this wagon was not a planned course of action. I guess the indifference has been there for a while now. In the past year I’ve felt out of place everywhere – be it TC or be it Elevate and everything in-between. When you have to coax yourself to try and fit in with the bouncing masses even as the heart has opted out before you even got in, it is a fairly good sign that something’s gotta give; and soon. 2006 has been a disaster for me at TC. It started with a horrible set of circumstances, which left me feeling angry at myself for things that had not a lot to do with myself. Two more visits followed that have now become part of my infamous and numbskulled attempt at trying to settle down – in love and married – crashing and burning one of the rare good friend I had left with me. Then there were two other instances where the babysitter me was in his full glory. Not that I mind taking care of people, but too much of it is not fun either.
When you have only the past to keep you company, more than the present, anywhere, that is really time’s tide gently lapping at your feet asking you to move on ahead or step back to move in a different direction. That’s what I feel about Delhi these days. I have fond memories, conversations and some beautiful times associated with most of the places. Beyond that, in the present, there is nothing. All I see are people, like the ones I see coming in and out of the compound below – total strangers who are of no interest to me, with whom I want to have nothing to do with.