Back in my school days, when I didn’t haveconcrete plans with friends and distractions like Netflix, Instagram and YouTube weren’t invented yet, sometimes I’d spend my holidays huddled under a blanket reading for hours at an end.
I’d start reading my book in the morning and I’d get so absorbed in the stories of the lives of the characters that I wouldn’t even realize when the morning turned to evening and the evening turned to night. And, as I sat for those countless hours tethered to my book, beyond the golden glow of my bedside lamp – outside – the air cooled, the sunlight dimmed, traffic jams became thicker and my windows became foggier. On colder days, my mom would surprise me with a mug of hot chocolate and a plate of fried potato smilies.
At the end of 2017, I wrote an article about whatthat year taught me about life. A little over two years now – in the wake of a new decade – here I am, reminding myself of, and implementing those lessons, through a year of gratitude.
The beginning of 2019 was very different from the beginning of 2020; for one, back then, the new year’s messages poured in till almost the 10th. This year, its been barely few days in, and I can already see that the messages and merriment has phased out.
A small part of me believes it’s because people have matured and moved on from the hysteria of overplaying it. But a more dominant part of me believes, it’s because of a universal decline in enthusiasm. I can’t speak on the behalf of the entire world population – but as I see it, and as Joan Didion once said ‘the world as I had understood it, no longer existed.’
I learned early on that I have a bad affliction of not making concrete weekend plans. Usually I’m just lazy, but when I do, it’s mostly a one-on-one with a single individual friend who I can speak to at length about life.
A couple of weekends back, I made exactly such a plan. I reached out to an old friend after nearly 2 years, and to celebrate our union we decided to meet for brunch at quaint little café on a hill on a sunny Saturday afternoon. The location was a mid point between both our houses – symbolic of our mutual excitement to see each another.
It was Jan 2018 when I found myself in the winter section of H&M. It was filled with knitwear and discounts, but for me the joy was in walking between the racks of knitted sweaters and cardigans. I enjoyed caressing my fingers against each and every one of them; I enjoyed feeling their intricate woven looms; I loved how soft the wool felt against my palms.
I had nothing particular in mind that I wanted to buy, but it’s funny how when you go without expecting anything that sometimes you find some of the best things ever. For me it came in the form of a white woolen ribbed sweater.