Creatures of routine

In the limited TV Shows that come on the limited channels available at my home, I have managed to start watching a sitcom called ‘That’s so Raven’. It can be described as terrible if you were to choose one word. However, given my inexplicable need to watch some kind of chick flicks from time to time, I end up regularly watching these U.S. high school episodes that evoke laughter with great difficulty. I have been watching it for nearly 3 months now. The other day my friend called in the middle of an episode and I cringed, as I wanted to finish watching the episode. Then it occurred to me – (a) the TV series is horrible and I am watching it out of sheer boredom and (b) I was bored in the first place because I was not doing any of the ten other things which would have been more interesting and which included talking to my friend

How easy is it to fall into a pattern of life that may not be fully interesting but can nevertheless give you the illusion that you are too busy for your friends. Back in college plans to go out could be made suddenly and spontaneously. You could call a friend and end up having a conversation on nothing for hours. You did not have to think about what you would like to do on Saturday as early as Thursday because you knew Saturday would automatically fall into place.

At 28, life is rather different. All of us have cell phones and are theoretically reachable 24 hours a day but no one likes to take the call unless they are reasonably sure they are in the mood for a conversation. I have been planning to go for ‘Omkara’ for many weeks now and due to a combination of either me or my friends being busy we have not been able to do it and now the movie is no longer running in the theatres. I usually know exactly what I am going to do in the weekend by the time it is Friday and in the unlikely event someone were to call and check if I wanted to catch a movie on Saturday night I would probably have to say no. Vice versa.

The strange thing is I used to think that people used to get this affliction for routines and priorities if they were married and had kids (an excuse that is held more sacrosanct than it should be). I am not married nor are a lot of my friends. And no one has kids. Yet our lives are filled with mundane things that give it some shape and rhythm and which have become indispensable. Ironically, we forget that those things came because in the first place we were bored and did not know what to do.

That is not to say there aren’t things that I think are interesting or important and will definitely take precedence over a sudden plan to go shopping. But sometimes I wonder if I have lost sight of the line, which separates these from the things that I don’t care about. Like watching ‘That’s so Raven’ everyday of the week.

Do we get so caught in our routines as we grow older that there is little place left for spontaneity? Luckily that day I took the call and missed the part on how Raven managed to return her dress to the store (Don't even ask me how lame the whole story was). We did not end up having a soul searching conversation that changed either of our lives. My friend just wanted some info related to her work and I gave it. I am glad that my taking the call immediately instead of returning it later made her quest for the info just a wee bit easier.


Usha said...

That's really splendid sindu.
The truth about falling into a routine! I fully agree with you and happy that you were able to break free into Spontaneity.

dinesh said...

Loved this piece. The clarity in thought and wonderful expression of these thoughts ! I am becoming a fan !

I completely agree with your thoughts. The spontaneity gets lost as we move on from college to an independent world where the "lazy guy" in us takes over and prevents anything interesting/useful to happen to us. We have our convenient "hectic work life" or "family commitments" to offer as an excuse. And yes, married people with kids are def. ly going to be busier than us single people. But I've seen the excuse used far too many times and many a perk granted to "those" people undeservedly :). I think it's over hyped too !

My room mate used to watch "Seventh Heaven", another US family sitcom. I started casually and didn't think much of it. But out of routine I continued the practice and soon I found myself half-addicted to it. Not because I found it interesting. In fact, earlier, I would have laughed at people who watched that on a daily basis. But here it was in my life. I just realized that it had slowly learnt to fill that half an hour slot on my daily calendar without me consciously allowing the transformation ! But thankfully, my schedule got changed and I could get rid of the addiction in due course !