I was away from the internet for 10 days. I went away leaving behind some unfinished assignments and projects. My job hunt was paused midway. The emails I had composed to various people still lay in my Drafts folder, waiting for final touches. I needed to get back to some old clients who had written to me.
But, I dropped everything and went away.
The familiar sensation of dread – the feeling of having bitten down on a piece of metal – left me after a few hours. I had not packed my laptop and I do not have internet on my phone. (Here’s why) I locked the door behind me and walked away, blocking all thoughts of ‘pending work’ – fighting my obsessive need for closure.
All through these 10 days, my phone lay somewhere in the entrails of my rucksack, silent and forgotten. Except for a couple of twinges of memory, uneasy thoughts did not haunt me.
I walked for miles up and down hills, into forests and inside caves. I traveled by plane, train, bus, car, jeep, ferry, motorbike and even an elephant. I saw the sun set over the Brahmaputra, like golden honey spread over water. I saw the full moon rise at 5.30pm over the largest river island in the world. I watched the clouds float over brilliant blue skies over a sleepy hillside town. I took a languorous afternoon bus ride through narrow roads flanked by paddy fields and tea gardens. I sat watching cows and pigs graze on yellow-green meadows and rode through a countryside where the twittering of birds could be heard over the dull roar of the bike…
It was another world. Another life.
Even as the plane landed, I found myself wondering about what was awaiting me at home. Emails, to-do lists, chores… I snapped at SR, made sarcastic remarks, lost my temper with airline attendants who were too slow and felt that the taxi driver was fleecing me of hard-earned money.
I was back.
Ready to tackle the demons waiting for me hungrily.
But the funny thing was that nobody had died.
Nothing had broken down because I was away. People had not collapsed all over the country because I had not written back to them soon enough. On the whole, it seemed that except for various banking institutions and online shopping websites, nobody else had missed me terribly.
In the larger scheme of things, the frenetic flapping of my wings did not matter. I did not have to throw myself against the windows, thrash about to get out and get things moving. I did not have to launch myself again and again into the flames.
It is a good realization.
I am going to sit back in my armchair and think about that world. That other world of magic and contentment. Having lived and breathed there once, for however short a period of time, I can perhaps go back to it again.
Or perhaps, I can re-create it – right here, in my head…