I do not make ‘to do’ lists. They scare me as I know I would not be able to place tick marks on at least 90% of the listed items. Remaining 10% to me are never so important and therefore can be comfortably left alone. Without much (a)do.
I had a wonderful holiday time when ammi (Urdu for mom) was alive. She was my angel and she was a god when it came to taking care of me. On a holiday she would even ask the maids to stop talking loudly as I used to sleep till late. With late it means till it was lunch time or just before that. The normal utensil friction in the kitchen, the running tap water, the phish phish of insect killer spray, the grrrlp grrrlp of whirling washing machine – everything would come to a standstill because ammi would not allow any of this. She truly and magnanimously and selflessly loved me.
It was very early morning when all the tubes and lines attached to her stopped working all of a sudden and the monitors at her bedside showed a deep, silent, aggrieved, straight and lifeless line. My mornings and life had changed for ever. That also was very early in the morning, around 5 am and it was a Sunday.
Now I get up around 6 and head straight to kitchen to make a cup of tea. Somehow I believe it is rejuvenating and has the capacity to soothe my aching body and soul. Good thing about a holiday is there is no hurry to get to work. So I make that one cup and let the remaining water in the kettle so that to make another one and another one if my hunger or thirst for tea wasn’t quenched. My tiny study is usually clean as the maid gives some last-minute cleaning touches before leaving at night. The unwritten agreement is that on a Sunday I ‘ll not wake her up before 10 am. But by that time most of my ‘work’ is already finished.
Thankfully being fussy about eating is not a problem for me anymore. Frankly eating too much and being super choosy about what is for lunch/ diner is out of life (and believe me it makes life much easier). One realizes how much time and energy is spent daily basis on the selection of food items and mode of cooking /baking in an attempt to make sure that everyone leaves the dining table happy. Resorting to simple, basic foods is a blessing I have now. Though I shudder at how rudely choosy I was in this arena. For the past few years newspapers also have lost their ‘newness’ and charm, if you may call it. Rape, crime, war, terror, war on terror, killing of innocent people and calling it collateral damage, large ads of movies and gossip about movie stars is the stuff newspapers are made of. Sprinkle politics here and there and see your holiday morning destroyed and shredded.
Subtract breakfast and newspaper and you will suddenly realize how rich you are having so much of time. Problem with lot of time is humans want to spend it and on a holiday I am at a loss. I switch on the computer and avoid seeing the clock on the wall facing me. Then I get up and try to find a nail and hammer to place the clock behind me. One or two hours later I succeed in the first project of the morning and am ready for the 3rd cup of tea. And I am thinking of the remaining (almost) 20 hours of the holiday with clock now fixed at my back wall and nothing to do in sight. Should I be using to-do chits then? I wonder. There is silence to deal with when you don’t have anything else to do and it deepens into the crevices of soul.