Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Punctuality and boredom

This post about perfectionism got me thinking. (I tend to do it sometimes.) I didn't have the kind of obsession mentioned in the post but I was a stickler for punctuality. If I had an appointment at 10 a.m. I usually arrived a few minutes earlier than the scheduled time. This was not always possible in Mumbai because of the traffic jams so I used to start earlier in order to get to the venue on time.

This habit became a problem after my stroke. When people rang up and said that they would come at a particular time, I would expect them to land up at exactly that time. When they got delayed due to some reason, I would keep worrying and will not be able to focus on whatever I was doing. Nowadays I am much more relaxed when visitors get delayed and carry on with my usual routine. (It is part of the process of getting used to the changed circumstances.) When they finally arrive a couple of hours after the scheduled time, I will grin and think,'Samaj gaya mein...vahi purana...tera bahana...dere se aana aur ye kehna, vaada toh nibhaaya.'

Another post on boredom was relevant to me. In it, Jonah Lehrer quotes Joseph Brodsky:
When hit by boredom , let yourself be crushed by it; submerge, hit bottom. In general, with things unpleasant, the rule is: The sooner you hit bottom, the faster you surface. The idea here is to exact a full look at the worst. The reason boredom deserves such scrutiny is that it represents pure, undiluted time in all its repetitive, redundant, monotonous splendor.

Boredom is your window on the properties of time that one tends to ignore to the likely peril of one's mental equilibrium. It is your window on time's infinity. Once this window opens, don't try to shut it; on the contrary, throw it wide open.
This reminded me of a poem that I had learnt in school - Ode on Melancholy. In it, Keats says that melancholy should be enjoyed by comparing it with beautiful things and not with objects that give feelings of sorrow 'For shade to shade will come too drowsily,/ And drown the wakeful anguish of the soul.'

Perhaps I made the connection between the two because both talk of enjoying feelings that one normally tries to avoid.


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  2. I remember Freddie Gomes teaching us that poem and the way he recited....No,No,go not to Lethe..
    Very interesting post,Suresh....To most of us,boredom leads to melancholy.
    BTW,just wondering....."When they finally arrive a couple of hours after the scheduled time"-Were you grin-thinking???I don't remember why we got late but we were...LOL!!

  3. Leela,
    Now you know why I was grinning!

  4. Yes..yes..next time I'll remember that.Ha ha!!