The concern these days is about finding time with unbroken attention. Finding an uninterrupted three hour slot is an effort. It must be the place and its rhythm which seems to dissolve away markers of time. One hour blends into the other and morning turns into noon effortlessly. This can be mildly alarming for those who live by keeping a greater control on their activities with the progression of a typical day. A house probably needs to be a concentrated unit. The more things spread out that need attention and response, the more they will demand time. These little installments of time through a day adds up to several hours gone in attending to things happening around and little left to do work or reading that requires uninterrupted attention. From daily writing to reading and working on side projects that involve reading and writing effort – all of these have suffered in the past week.
Focus and a daily discipline has been like a slippery slope. It is so easy for them to fall through and one begins slipping through time, with days piling up with a crazy speed. I missed one day of daily writing. Then another. By the third it was hard to catch up. Soon the counter struck six days. In a previous version of mine, none of this would have alarmed me. But now, it does. As soon as a few days slip I see myself getting restless and desperate to catch up. I try finding those ‘good hours’ either by waking up very early, or shutting down everything else that needs to be done, to regain control of the routine that has slipped. It is a constant effort.
These changes in preference and behaviour have accentuated after the lockdown months. In Physics, when formulae in mechanics are derived, some variables are assumed constant so that they allow you to think of other system variables and work with them. The lockdown worked in the same way. It turned daily life with its variables of work, commute and outdoors into constants. After these constants lost their effect on the system for time being, we could work with other variables that may not have been as visible or as clear, for close examination. One such variable for me was daily writing. When other variables were made constant, I could begin working with daily writing as a variable that could not have been tried had other variables continued to impact life. Daily writing is that isolated variable I worked with. The lockdown days have had the effect of heightened self awareness about life and outlook for the future. I am far less unsettled by situations and events as I would earlier.
In what we have come through in the past months, all of the above might read like a disconnected, insular thing that someone who has not had the worry of job loss or risk of infection. I’d agree. It is an inner world that I turned to among others, as I sat locked in. Will I engage with the world in the same way that I did earlier? There is a subtle shift. It isn’t pivoting around the lockdown. The change had been coming, as is the nature of change. It then precipitates around an event. For the little changes in my outlook and predisposition it has been the lockdown days. Am I glad for it? I do not know yet. There’s wide ranging misery that these days have brought along all around. One cannot be oblivious to it. In the hope that things change, I see myself already setting forth from this station, taking stock of changes and if they can make things better within and around. The quest for two really good hours continues.