It’s a Sunday morning.
Strangely enough, there’s no hint of the sun at all today. There’s this empty hollow feeling that I haven’t really done much with my weekend. To be fair to myself, I know exactly how the weekend passed by. I know I should have been planning ahead for the rest of the week and all of that, but I wanted to savor the weekend for what it was worth. What does that mean? It means I wanted to use dedicated sections of the weekend to procrastinate, and not feel guilty about it because it was a weekend, and that was what the sole purpose of weekends were.
In moments like those, I often cling to the good times. Staying up late at night reading, or watching cheesy Bollywood movies that are not designed for higher, intellectual audiences. All the stupid love stories, with incredibly impossible, mush-saturated dialog and yet, strangely expected plot twists. All too often, the protagonist bursts into song and dance and random pedestrians around them suddenly group into choreographed moves. The Bollywood musical is one of my favorite cultural souvenirs. I won’t be ashamed to say that during those late weekend nights, when I sit and watch all these happy, or acting happy people of the world, I’m not afraid to imagine my life as something like that. It’s a form of escapism, really. With no work pressure, I feel my mind deflate a little and let some of the evidently sugar-coated nonsense satisfy me.
I’m probably going to cringe at having actually expressed that in writing.
When I wake up from that long night, the first thing that I see is my phone. Notifications, alerts, alarms, lists and so on. It’s back to the real world. I’ve always had hideously weird dreams, to the extent that sometimes I’m glad the real world is what I wake up to. But after scrolling through the pending to-dos that I had once zealously made on a Sunday morning, I allow myself to wallow in my imaginary world a bit. I usually set an alarm for 7:30 in the morning, in the excuse that I will probably exercise and feel gung-ho about the day. My friend Jo keeps trying to push me, like the good friend she is. But not today, not on a Sunday morning, not when the last vestiges of my weekend will be snatched away from me. Publicly, I’ll justify it as “I have so much work to do…” while internally I’m saying “Let me day-dream some more.”
I don’t know why I get sometimes get daunted by the very lists I make. This is going to sound a bit OCD, but when I’m stressed out about something, I actively make lists. Then, I make lists of lists. Sub-groupings of lists. Re-categorizing and re-naming lists. Then, I sync them to my phone and admire my handiwork. “Look, I made so many lists,” I tell myself. “I’m such a productive person.” Somehow it seems like the person who makes those lists and the person who has to execute them are two different people. The stark difference lies in their enthusiasm. I would much rather continue to make lists, detailing everything about the real world, and then go back to “enjoying my weekend” as some childish excuse of having delegated the higher priorities of my life to some other authority. I know that the “other authority” will eventually be a very grumpy me on a cloudy Sunday morning, but when making the list, I’m too shortsighted to see that.
Yesterday, I went to a free Mozart concert. It was a preview for the opening night of the Mostly Mozart Festival by the New York Philharmonic at Lincoln Center. There were two symphonies played. The first was Mozart’s Symphony no. 40 in G minor, K 550 (1788) and the second one was Beethoven’s Symphony no. 7 in A major. Though, I’ve heard the first movement of the Mozart digitally several times, it was a beautiful, altogether different experience. For the first time, I saw people engaging with music in a physical way that was more than just head-banging or dancing. There were parts of the Andante movement that were rather sleepy (maybe Mozart was writing them on a Sunday morning?) but eventually, the ending movements picked up the pace again. The Beethoven was surprisingly more dramatic than Mozart. While leaving Lincoln Center, semi-entranced by the music, the thought came back to me that I had to do all of this for my music humanities assignment. The word assignment has conditioned a dreadful escapist reflex in me. There are times and days when I cannot fight back the voice that says “I don’t want to do this!”. Even if it is to write a four page essay about some of the most beautiful music I’ve heard live.
I’ve done something else this weekend too. I’ve joined a start up that endeavors to make quality education available to kids all over the world. They need someone to help write their Physics B (non-calculus, I believe) content for them. I volunteered. Initially, I balked a bit, because I have forgotten how to teach Physics without calculus. I mean, I learned about calculus in Physics first before I formally encountered it in Math. But I’m a passable writer, I’ll manage. I say to myself. The people who recruited me are amazingly sweet and nice people. They’ve been very active with their support. They don’t set deadlines because they know that smart people don’t need to be chased. But here I am, on a Sunday morning and I’m hiding from my own deadlines and I’m pouring out my thoughts on a blog, in order to clean my head of this phobia.
I want to be a good engineer. I want to study more about how computers and applied math work together in our world. It is nowhere near an easy task, but I tell myself I’m tough I can do it. The more I learn about the real world, the more I can make my imaginary world realistic. Pretty dangerous ideal, that. It could mean that I’m trapped between differentiating the boundaries of real and imaginary for the rest of my life. But then complex things don’t happen without imaginary component. A+Bi and A-Bi. Complex numbers. Differential equations. I have another assignment due tomorrow. It’s six problems. Looks fairly harmless up front. But they’re about those god-awful Bessel equations which I haven’t quite understood. More so, we’re covering a section on series solutions this week. I hate series. I hate abstract objects that extend to infinity for no rhyme or reason. I don’t mind dealing with them term by term, as each component within itself is finite. But I do mind being able to deal with the entire bulk sum which will eventually converge to some sane number in some other dimension. I don’t get to see that far, though. For now, I have to manipulate this complex, bulky thing into fitting an equation that takes up smaller writing space than it does.
I want to write as well. I simply cannot do justice by inserting another 3000 word essay here about my intense relationship with writing, so I’ll save it up for another day. I usually write fiction, and this blog is my first attempt to write non-fiction. For a while, I thought I was doing well. Telling people about my (common) adolescent problems and sorting out their mechanisms in my head. Step-by-step solution, like an engineer. But then, I realized I don’t want to sound preachy. As varied as I can make these sub-topics appear to be, they can eventually all be clubbed under one theme. So, what am I writing? The same thing over and over again? Aren’t there enough teen advice blogs in the world? Why is mine any different? This led me to a writer’s block for quite a while. My friend Jo (same one I referenced up somewhere) said that I should simply write what I feel. I don’t need to be so formal. More so, I don’t need to worry about whether I have an audience or not. While having many readers and followers is truly very encouraging and supporting and flattering, I would continue to write even if I have no readers at all. I understand that writing about my personal experiences isn’t exactly earth-shattering either, but at least I got rid of the writer’s block.
It’s a Sunday morning. 10:21 AM. The real world is now calling me with Dubstep remix of Daft Punk’s Harder better Stronger Faster. It’s my alarm to go do my laundry. It is a graceless departure, I know. But I think I’ve finally found what it is that will keep me coming back.