Sunday, October 22, 2006

When Boredom Strikes

I'm bored and lethargic today. I woke up late, having spent the major portion of last night trying to shoot down terrorists at CounterStrike (which is about the only effective use freshies put their laptops to). And ever since I went to sleep afterwards, I haven’t really quite woken up per se. There is no concrete reason as to why I am bored, no fundamental cause or root or raison d'ĂȘtre or , to explain how I got to be so lazy on a blessedly rare MIT holiday. But I am.

Weeks upon endless weeks of incessant classes have taken their toll on us freshies. And personally, I’ve never had to climb up any roads to get to class. Yet this I now do every morning with half my breakfast in one hand.

I’m sitting here and hoping to clear this mud of lethargy in a burst-fire of spontaneous words and sentences out of the top of my head. I shall write of boredom, of its many hidden perils, of cabbages and of kings. And I shall write of my redemption from my lethargy, just as I was about to succumb to it one day. Boredom is a very strange little state of mind. For myself, I've noticed I'm only bored when the weather is hot, humid and unbearable. The hot day, the sun beating me down with rays of heated light, seems to last forever. Time is ethereally slow. No wind blows, although leaves do a jig once in a while, when a breeze whisks by me through the window. Everything outside is tinted yellow in the sun. Its all horribly constant. You just look out of the window vacantly with the perennial feeling that nothing is going to change. This heat, this sun, these conditions, will last forever. That’s how it was that fateful day. I flash back.

I was bored, I was lethargic and I had been lying around doing nothing for an eternity. Just sending a holiday down the drain. I stared vacantly above me and at my dead arms and legs. I did nothing, and I wanted nothing. I was at peace, lying there in a cocooned state of mind; in an unemotional and senseless existence. I could lie like this forever, I thought. But after a while, the ceiling fan’s rotation started to get to me.

I reached out for my iPod. And Greenday came into my playlist. I got up and started to take a walk around the hostel. I walk a lonely road, the only one that I have ever known. I listened to it as I walked the ‘lonely road’ from my room to the stairway on the other side of the corridor. Then back. My feet stepped in tandem with the bass guitar in the background, and I mused over how right this guy was, and how it’s only me and I walk alone. I even looked over my shoulder once in a while to check, but since I was half-indoors there really wasn’t much scope for a shadow to walk beside me. That somewhat spoilt the unreality in my head.

Anyway. On with my tale. I almost always lose myself in songs. U2’s music can completely overcome you if you just close your eyes and drown yourself in the sounds. I wouldn’t advise you to walk while you're doing this. It carries the risk of your hitting the side of the door to your room, left only slightly ajar by your gracious roommate as he ran for the bathroom. Allow my experience to shield you. I had a 5 second blackout. I tottered on my feet and rested myself against the wall. Then cursed him before lazily giving it up.

And that’s when the monsters of boredom – they who lurk unsuspected and camouflaged in guises of sudden sincerity and goodboyness - came for me.

I entered my room. I was still feeling lethargic and tired of everything. What could I do? No one else was in the room. So no one to talk to. What to do? I came across my desk. And on it was my EM book. Why does that name sound significant? What is it I had to do? The Engineering Mechanics assignment due next week? So?

I began to walk away from it, but once you make eye-contact with it, you cannot move. They get you like that. Should I do it now, when I have nothing else to do? Yes….maybe I should. Finish it early, so I can be on top of my studies. My senses were so numbed by the constant inactivity, that I didn’t shrink back in horror as I sat down on my chair. My hands came up slowly and began to stretch towards the EM book. Here I was, violating sacred MIT laws and doing an assignment before time, and I didn’t recoil in disgust! Its better than doing nothing. As I thought these blasphemies, the remnants of resilience inside me shuddered at the abominably low levels I had stooped to. But I couldn’t do anything else. A drowsy numbness pained my sense, as though of hemlock I had drunk, or a double period of Environmental Studies I had gone through. I reached for the assignment.

In vivid slow motion, I closed in on my book. The door behind me burst open, and I turned reflexively. The bright light outside flooded in. I looked in awe as it bent around a thin silhouetted figure and I shrunk back from the vision I was witnessing. My hands came up to shield me from the brilliance. The figure moved forward.

“We’re playing CS again. Wanna join in?”

“My saviour!”

And so I was delivered from evil. But the EM Assignment lies in a corner of the room, forgotten yet not eliminated. I shall tackle it someday. For now, it waits silently and patiently, in the shadows, for its time.

Note: Sorry about the extraordinary delay. I will be a bit more regular henceforth.


Anonymous said...

firstly, let me welcome you back to blogosphere.
sorry couldn't get you the red carpet (im too lazy)

anyway, im surprised you only wrote some 1000 odd words on such a cosmic (i just finished playing Alien Sky) topic. but then, precision is erm...the key to success. so yeah, in your words "i like i like"

Anonymous said...

Which idiot gave you a 4 in creative writing??
'A drowsy numbness pained my sense, as though of hemlock I had drunk, or a double period of Environmental Studies.' That was funny...