Sunday, July 17, 2011

After the rains

I am feeling free now. As free as the blue sky that showed up after the day of rain, unburdened.

I was weighed down by various things, the deadlines to turn in coursework for my Masters studies, the intense pressure on the private sector education in Britain due to the absurd immigration regulations, and the battles I had to fight with vested interests at work. On top of this, I had a very bad start of the year: My brother's death meant turmoil in my family life as well as implosion of a business I was trying to set up in India. It didn't help that this was immediately followed by other deaths in the family, and a rather prolonged sickness of my grandmother, who I love dearly.

None of these material problems have been resolved. I turned in some coursework and have a six week pause, but there is more on the way. The UK Home Office is intent on destroying the attractiveness of UK Higher Education - they don't care as it is not their department - and their campaign is continuing in all its viciousness. I have won some battles at work, and some of the people who were blocking all progress decided to go, but it is like reversing a running train when we have to discard our existing business model altogether and go into another. The news from home continues to be depressing, though the arrival of my niece added the much-needed distraction for my father and my grandmother. I decided to shut myself off completely from India - I don't even have a current Indian visa at this time - which meant losing all my contacts, at least for the time being.

But, it is the sort of complete break with the past I needed perhaps. This trial by pain rids myself of the complete burn out I suffered from the meltdown of the earlier business on the wake of global recession. I needed the break, which I found in the godsend opportunity of being in somewhat academic environment for last 12 months, during which time I almost took a break from my normal professional life. I didn't want to travel - a strange thing given that I define myself as a traveler - and settled into a predictable office-going life I derided so much during my working years. I wished for this period of hibernation: I seem to be coming out of it now.

One sure sign, I feel the hunger to do things now. I am interested in ideas again. I have stopped remaining indoors and started connecting with people again. I feel that I can now forgive people from the past and move on. My head is again buzzing with ideas. Most importantly, I want to travel again, the surest sign that I am getting normal.

Also, it did help that I read Nicholas Carr's The Shallows recently and decided to restore my reading habits. I was using computers and phones too much (indeed, I fell in love with iphone, like millions of others) and lost my reading habits. I don't know whether this is a case of neuro-plasticity, but whenever I tried reading a book, my mind will jump back and forth between references and quotations, as if I am scanning a web page, and soon it will become all too difficult. I have understood this and now found some book-reading time early in the morning, at the expense of regular blog writing and other Internet browsing activities, and this is certainly helping me to feel better. Also, an opportunity to use a nearby swimming pool, so that I can spend half an hour without doing anything but swimming, is immensely helpful and make me feel fit again.

So, in all, I am ready for life. I am ready to have a go yet again, and not give up. I shall reconnect back with India and my lost friends in the next few days, complete the mountains of pending paperwork and get back to life as I always lived it. I feel hungry to learn new things and technology and I shall not postpone anything anymore. I had a few bad years, but I am choosing to make the next 12 months as worthwhile as possible.

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"Far better it is to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs even though checkered by failure, than to rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy nor suffer much because they live in the grey twilight that knows neither victory nor defeat."

- Theodore Roosevelt

Last Words

We shall not cease from exploration
And the end of all our exploring
Will be to arrive where we started
And know the place for the first time.

- T S Eliot

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