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The Routine

November 6, 2013

Today as the murmur of noises in the house slowly made way through my consciousness and grew louder, I woke up to a day of going back to office after a long break of 1 month – The very place which made me start this blog. And I pondered for a few minutes before I finally opened my eyes, whether I should be sad because my life is going to be predictable again, a monotonous blanket will soon be cast over my eyes and the days for joy, variety will be over. But before I could answer the question, my consciousness finally broke through and made it’s full appearance and I opened my eyes. And this minor thought rested itself at the back of my head unable to compete with the intensity of the morning routine and the familiar hurry. I dressed up in the respectable office attire instead of comfortable rags I wore, gave myself a nod along with a smile in the mirror, I rushed at the bus stop at exactly 10.07 am to catch my bus due at 10.10 am. As I arrived at the bus stop. I recognized all the faces. I did not know anyone’s name but still knew them. The aging man with light-shaded shirts who got down at Nariman Point bus stop, looked at me with a smile of recognition drawn on his aged face. There was this lady who had a slightly healthy body, unwaxed hands, big beautiful eyes and rather too big a nose, who always has an unfaltering smile on her face. Her smile grew bigger after looking at me. She recognized me. None of us speak to each other, but we know each other. All of us knew that the young man who gets down at the Inox bus stop was missing. As the bus arrived, the driver waved at me. I waved back to the familiar black and withered face, with a red, dirty scarf around his neck. I took a seat in the bus on the same side as always, so that I would be able to see the morning waves. I saw the familiar sea passing by, the familiar fraction-of-a-second-remainder of him, the familiar pull to work which I knew would not let me dwell on him much longer. As I got up from my seat, to get down at my usual stop, the driver asked me “Kya madam, bahut dino se aaye nahi?”(Madam, you did not board the bus for many days?) I answered his query explaining him about my study leave.Nodding, he stopped the bus at the usual red colored bus stop. I got down waving at the driver while doing so. I walked the familiar path with a slightly uneven road and my subconscious mind saw the familiar brown checked wall of the Indian Mint House alongside, out of the corner of my unaware eyes. And I reached that place which is the most familiar of all. To my usual computer, to my usual colleagues who greeted me with delight. Some had fake delight, some had genuine happiness, and some remained impassive. I smiled a dazzling smile at everyone, genuinely in some cases and forced in others. And then the day began with the same monotonous octaves which had now become a familiar melody to my ears. The same coaxing required to get everyone to get up and have lunch, the same teasing, the same bitching and the same “routine”. The same hurry, and the same stress, the same smell of coffee with the same multitudinous chatters while drinking these hot, refreshing beverages. But as the day came to a close, the word “routine”, which more often than not represented the dull aspects of life to me, the word that represented the extinguisher of the spark of variety, the insipid taste against the spice of life, somehow seemed comforting. I was content to follow the routine today. It made me feel whole. It made me feel like I was a part of something. I have to accuse no one but myself, to always consider the word “routine” in the pessimistic sense alone. But as I pondered on my way back home, along the familiar road, I realized that my cherished and tested principle of abundance applied to adventure as well. Everyone wants their life to be an adventure. The bed-time tales of Aladdin, Cinderella and of course, Harry Potter, made the word “adventure” a special pleasure enjoyed by the few lucky in the world, and consequently and not necessarily intentionally, reduced the word “routine” to represent the tasks of inconsequential people, the tasks of persons other than our bed-time-story heroes. But in the midst of the vibrant and colorful strokes of adventure, we have forgotten the purity and sanctity of the trustworthy white, the sturdiness of the plain black. I realized that if all my life would be like an adventure, I would crave routine. If every step came with uncertainty, however exciting, meaningful and rewarding, I would still crave certainty. But while I was in a routine, I craved the opposite, thinking that lack of routine would help me, make me happy, and transform me into someone I truly want to be. But today seeing the familiar smiles of the known strangers at the bus stop, the casual but concerned inquiry of the driver, the familiar white office walls, the usual coffee/lunch routine, made me happy and content and surprisingly, not bored or fed up. And I realized that in the wake of seeking sparks and eclectic melodies, I had forgotten the solace of silence, the comfort of being a part of a routine, the luxury of forgetting bitter memories in doing routine chores, the peace of knowing some things to be certain in this otherwise uncertain life, the value of knowing how the day would go by and finally the pleasure of living the familiar, predictable day as a part of a comforting journey called “the routine”

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