You know the Thought Experiments. This is the back of the envelope.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Insomnia - I

Just me, Blogger, a temperamental computer and almost-November...such old friends.

I was a certified insomniac back in college. I think I retain wisps of the trait, but even if I do, I'm just a shadow of my Delhi self. Back then, every night found me alternating between the rickety Samsung 2000 PC in the lobby and the chilly roof of my hostel. It wasn't because I was unhappy or unwell...I just had way too much energy to quiet down and tuck myself in every night. Winter in Delhi was an addiction. The only other element in my life that even came close, was my blog.

I don't mind belonging...but I have trouble being owned. Yet, the only entity I will ever admit to being owned by, willingly or otherwise, is Delhi. Delhi, especially between October and March, if we must mention details.

Winters there can be unforgiving. The Delhi winter doesn't care if you have Jan tests in five days or two, or today. It doesn't care if you're already bundled under seven layers of mismatched woollen clothing. It couldn't give a damn if the outdoors appear forbidding because of it. Say what you will, there is only one version of the Delhi winter - full, passionate, absolute. It doesn't abate because you are afraid of it, or because you're prepared. There's only one of it, and it knows that and respects itself enough to be all that it is, in its entirety - fog, mists, frozen nights et al.

That's how I fell in love with it.

That is also how I learnt to co-exist with it. I stopped shying away from the winter. I went and befriended it instead. Whenever the cold got a little bitter, I'd raise my arms for a hug. And cold, wintry Delhi hugged me back, till that draught of icy air creeping to the back of my neck past a carefully-wound muffler exhilarated, rather than discomfited, me.

This evening, I was thinking I should do a post about the sights, sounds, smells, tastes and textures I associate with the University. Maybe I'll do it tonight. Who knows.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Soft Focus

"I'm interested in financial analysis", he is saying, "a credit-related role."

"We'll come to the profile in a bit", I respond, almost as if on autopilot.

It is stealing upon me, bit by obvious bit. An expectant little thrill, the sort you feel in the presence of your first love. I look out of the picture window again. I couldn't have felt the pull more strongly if I were a lodestone in an exceptionally strong magnetic field.

I shiver a little. It could be the airconditioning. It could be something else.

"...the ideal ratio, of course", he is saying again, "is 2:1. I'm a fresher", he adds with some pride, "but I do believe I can add value to the financial and accounting aspects of your organization."

"We're a bank", my colleague remarks, drily. "At the end of the day, finance and accounting is all we're about."

I look out of the window again. I feel the slight chill and that old pull once more, at the same time. I know that chill. I know that shade of twilight. I know how it feels. I have nothing if not those feelings.

"You know I know how much you miss it all."

"I've never pretended otherwise", I say aloud in my head, half awed, half defensive.

It laughs softly, raises an enticing arm. Invites a hug.

All I want to do is run into its embrace. This interview, the world, all be damned.

So I stare resolutely at the psychometric profile and begin a question. My brain slips into autopilot mode again. I pause for the briefest fraction of a second to make sure it's headed in the right direction, then hand over control before resuming my conversation with whatever it is outside the picture window, in the fast-falling darkness.

I know the room is virtually airtight right now, but it is getting progressively cooler. The chill is setting in with the self-assurance of someone who knows they're needed, even if you deny it to them till you are blue in the face, while your heart is pounding with terror at the thought that they will take you at your word and leave.

That isn't what surprises me. I'm shaken - alarmed and reassured in equal measure, all at once - by something else. That chill caressing my skin feels like the warmest, most familiar hug I've ever been in.

And then it hits me. It's been sitting in plain sight all this while, which is probably how it escaped notice in the first place. Typical.

It's the Delhi winter. It's home, and it's looking for me.