Sunday, July 31, 2016

Staring into space, with a beatific smile ...

I've lost count of the number of articles that begin with the phrase - "In today's connected world..." and admonish the new age for its multitude of distractions which prevent truly thoughtful work.

...and then they proceed to write an article with completely incoherent paragraphs which seem like they were written in the gaps between updating facebook, watching youtube videos and vigorously managing multiple conversations on Whatsapp. 

Even though this is now a cliche, as with all cliches there is an element of truth. The constant pinging of the phone with news apps, instant messenger updates (from random groups which you joined with enthusiasm, but are now a little embarrassed to leave - the name shows up as having left the group afterall.), the urge to google everything on the go, work emails, personal emails, myriad SMSes selling you property in states you've never even visited, facebook updates of other people's exotic vacations. Whew, the list just keeps going on.

In this maelstrom of data, the only island of peace that I see is the old, friendly neighborhood barber shop. I had this epiphany when I finally shook out the locks of hair from my eye (left eye) this morning and decided that even though God gave me bountiful handsomeness, I have not been taking care of it, both from girth and grooming perspectives. So I googled "Barber shop" (see, it just doesn't end), and off I went. Now Sunday morning is probably not the best time to go to a barber shop if you are one of those get-up-and-go, zippy, excited types. There are usually a number of people in the shop before you. A variety of humanity, from elderly gentlemen perusing the Kannada newspapers whispering gentle admonishments about the state of the country to no one in particular, to hardworking men who want a shave to keep them going for the week, to old time customers of the barber who have long conversations about their nieces and nephews with him. This is a time when you lower yourself in the waiting area chair and start breathing slowly and deeply for the first time in weeks while looking through the who-kissed-who-in-Bollywood and how-the-last-extra-marital-affair-of-the-prominent-industrialist-was-caught articles in those wonderful, wonderful filmi magazines with articles from such luminaries as Ms. Kitty, and a little bird. 

Fortunately, my phone battery died around this time and there were no alluring magazines at this new place I went to. So I found myself just gazing out, no thoughts in my mind, a blank gaze just flitting casually over the hustle and bustle of the street without registering anything. I started imagining things and building stories the way we used to in childhood. Imagining swinging from one pole to the other, landing on the terraces and racing along them untethered...

Wonderful things. This blank state has become increasingly difficult to achieve and I really enjoyed sitting and gazing out without any compunctions. To the point that when the barber shook me out of my reverie as my turn had come, I felt a bit let down...

PS: If there is ever a reason why I would get Lasik treatment done for my eyes, it would be the nervous suspense that awaits you when you put on your spectacles to examine the work that the barber has done. People without spectacles cannot understand the nervous tension that precedes the moment of truth. So I will not even try to explain it.

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