Planes and birds fly in confused circles on an orange-y pink sky at dusk. I try to breathe slow and calm my heart as I cool down from yet another afternoon run. I’m grateful to be back to running a few kilometers non-stop and I tell myself, “not bad” as I sit down on the grass. I let languor – very much like the feeling one gets after crying a lot and just before surrendering to sleep – embrace me. All of this is sublime and yet I’m left wondering at the strangeness of my life these days. Two months into moonlighting and I thought I would’ve already gotten used to il dolce far niente but somehow she remains aloof, a stranger I do not know how to befriend. I thought we were going to have a jolly good time together when I stepped down from the bullet train of routine. I sought her company because I believed she would help me harness and act on the ideas I didn’t have the time to pay attention to in the whirlwind of responsibilities and concerns that come with a full-time day job. Instead, I found the very space and time she moves in so different. And so I remain ill at ease in her company.

I look again at the confused creatures and machines flying high above me and see that they mimic my thoughts going on endless circles. I continue to watch them and wonder if they know I’m doing so. Can they sense my confusion from where they are? Can they trace the meandering paths my thoughts take to go where I can’t seem to find them again? I look around me and try to get a sense of where I am. Ah yes, I’m back in the city. The famous oblation statue stands proudly a few meters behind me and I’m sitting on the grass-covered grounds. Right before me is the university avenue, the main road to and from the country’s most famous and sought-after state university. I focus on the row of towering streetlights in the middle of the busy road. Public and private vehicles come and go – some going in, some just passing by and some leaving the campus – but you don’t have a way of knowing which one’s coming or going or staying or just passing by, though you can identify whether it’s a car or jeep or bike. They’re very much like the ideas in my head, identifiable by name but their purpose or connection to one another (or lack thereof) I can’t seem to grasp.

And so one doubts whether the decision to step away from routine, even if only for a time, was a sound idea at all. My mind seems to take all focus in trying to make sense of this new landscape I’m moving in that it can’t accommodate anything more. Big deal. The world has so many pressing problems for one to waste time on such trivialities.

The sun’s sinking lower as I wave off another failed attempt to relax in the luxury of doing nothing. Maybe I need not try to dissect it into the littlest of details. Maybe all it takes is receiving it for what it is. Planes and birds fly in confused circles on a now darker orange-y pink sky as dusk slowly yields to night.


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