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Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Ring Out Facebook ; Ring in New Year

The silk tree had started shedding its leaves. Shortly blood red flowers will appear and  all kind of birds will be flocking  again on the tree. I have not been to my usual evening haunt at Vadakkunaathan for sometime now. I had missed the heady fragrance of the Indian Devil tree in bloom in October-November. I am in time to see the blooming of the Silk tree.

 It was  a December evening. Mandalam season was just over and there was the usual hiatus before the Makara vilakku pilgrim rush started. Not many vehicles carrying pilgrims were parked in the temple compound.. A mild evening sun, well on its way on its northern journey from the tropic of Capricorn was hovering over the 'Naduvilal'. The sun starts its northern journey immediately after the winter solstice as per the solar calender. For us though , the 'uttaraayana' will start only on 'Makara sankrathi’ because we follow the sidereal calender.

My usual place on the parapet was awash in the light of the setting sun. It will be another half-hour before the lengthening shadows reach it. There was a cool nip in the air making the sunlight bearable and even pleasant. For the weather experts, the wind would have qualified as a light breeze measuring not more than Force 3 on the Beaufort scale. Ideal settings for one  to 'stand and stare' and perhaps ruminate. And absorb some sunlight vitamin.

The time of the year, the quiet surroundings and the congenial clime all  seemed to provide an ideal temporal and spatial setting for a retrospect of the year about to go by. As each year passes, one is reminded of  the depleting stock of time left at ones disposal. News of departing friends and colleagues reach you more often than news of their conquests and adventures. Children seems to fly away from you impelled by some unseen, compelling  centrifugal force of circumstances. One realises increasingly the profound worthlessness of some of the things and values once  held dear and how insignificant and meaningless those are in the grand scheme of nature. One start longing for reducing the accumulated clutter, simplifying ones life to the maximum and be in readiness to eventually sink in the vortex of time without making much of a ripple.

Such thoughts may sound maudlin or melancholic or pessimistic. But somehow, in some way ,the idea of simplifying my life fascinates me immensely although I am not driven by any morbid thoughts of impending departure. It is just that I realize more and more and cannot help admitting to myself that quite a few of the things and activities in which I found pleasure and used to spend a lot of my time were futile , inane, pointless.

Face book for example. My routine somehow got shaped without my knowing it into a rigmarole of getting up-FB with bed coffee- toilet-more FB.. The ‘timeline’ on your profile  enables you to go back and go through your earlier comments and statuses. I often wonder whether it was indeed me who wrote some of those comments and for what purpose. Would anyone be really impressed by such inane comments and forced humour? Was it all worthwhile? Granted one came across a few guys with whom one could be friends with  in real life too but one had to put up with  a lot of people who would at best remain mere acquaintances and a few, to avoid whom one would  be prepared to take a very wide detour. Going back to some of the statuses and comments on the timeline did not even give a feeling of ‘de javu’. 

I feared  I was becoming an FB addict.. So much so I even undertook some of the tests available in the internet to measure the intensity of one's FB addiction. The results were reassuring. I had not progressed to the level of chronic addiction and there is still some hope left. I decided to test my ability to stay away from FB for a whole week. I succeeded in limiting my comments to just two only during the whole of the last week of the year. That gave me confidence and  the needed impetus for my New Year’s resolution. 

No more FB. I shall respond only to the notifications on my email which I hope will also subside within a couple of months. I shall go back to my previous love-reading..Having decided on what to do in 2014, I proceeded to devise some concrete steps to ensure that I keep the resolutions.

1. Remove Face book from the Favourites bar.
2. Make a list of books you want to read or re-read in 2014
3  Do not touch the laptop before 8 am or after 4 pm and never on a Sunday.

The first and the last one were not very difficult. But the second one presented some difficulties. Should I shortlist books which I already have or should I include books not in my possession? After a great deal of pondering I decided to include in the list  only books in my possession, some of which I have not read yet . New books will have to claim my time and attention just on their merit or on the quality of any recommendations accompanying it. 

So where should I start ? As one who still has not fully succeeded in getting rid of the feudal spirit would be sorely tempted to do when presented with such a dilemma, I decided to 'Ring for Jeeves'. 'The inimitable Jeeves' seemed to suggest that I follow the 'Code of the Woosters' ( or rather Kozhippurams)" and reserve my first ministrations to the P.G.Wodehouse Omnibus. That seemed to be a very sensible suggestion and so I said 'Right Oh Jeeves' and "Thank you Jeeves'. Can there be a more appropriate way to begin to implement your New year resolutions than with a 'Stiff Upper Lip'?

Once the opening move was decided upon, subsequent moves fell in place like the opening moves in a chess game. Wodehouse to be followed by Harper Lee, Dostoevsky, Oscar Wilde, Cornelius Ryan, Rushdie, Kafka, Camus ........ and a daily dose of Meditations by Marcus Aurelius. One could even fit in Mein Kampf somewhere in between.

So here I am. All set to Ring out Facebook and Ring in a New Year.