The beginning and the close of a Chapter

My last blogpost was about a year and a half back. I was too happy then. A brand new laptop. A new job.

I was never too happy about my new job. Just excited about it - mainly for two reasons. Firstly, I always loved traveling. My job called for a relocation to Mysore. In spite of my long association and love for technology, I never had the opportunity to be at the IT capital of India. So, I was pretty excited to see that part of the country. Secondly, I was about to join a workplace that had been widely respected by most of the middle-aged people around me. “Oh, you are joining there. It’s an excellent company. It will take you places. You would love to start and end your career there. Such companies take very good care of their employees”. This was what I heard from most middle-aged people I knew. And I have to admit - such statements feel ticklish.

Just after my college, I had some time for myself and I was happily enjoying my new laptop and giving my website a new look. And then came the bummer. I was communicated that I cannot carry my laptop to training. I was stunned. An IT company not allowing their employees to bring in their laptops to a residential training facility!! I realized I had too less time left with my laptop (something I could never think living without). The training would take approximately 6 months time. Half a year without a laptop - unimaginably long duration. So I quickly put up my half done website online, hoping I would be provided with some resources to access this code and modify it when I am free. And then I left. I left behind my laptop (which more or less dictated and controlled my life, apart from my then-alive iPod). Additionally most of my hobbies got left behind. Back then I had a love for programming, a love for photography, a love for listening to music and adding new ones to my collection - and all these are not possible without having a computer for personal use at your disposal. Over the next 5-6 months, I spent my time in a quarantined zone. No challenging programming. Very low self direction. I had a camera, but it was getting harder to backup my photos. And adding new songs to my iPod, was pretty much impossible. My love for all these activities went numb. They were all fading away. Additionally, with a very limited internet access (limitations both on time and websites)- I was cut off from by blog, my website and all my online activities.

I did grow few new hobbies and interests during my training. But most of the habits I had developed, were a result of sheer frustration. I realized that addiction is one of the best ways to get your mind off unavoidable and loath-able things. And instead of going for the common intoxicants like alcohol, drugs or smoke, I looked into some cheaper and healthier alternatives (the likes I had in college during my final semester - playing cards). I did carry a deck of playing cards with me to my training, but (as you’d expect) there is no open card playing culture. Thus, you need a friend who is in the same state as you are and both should have a synchronized schedule. Playing cards did not work out. Meanwhile, I always loved aiming; and I had cue sports in my campus. Pool looked fun and interesting. What looked interesting at the early stages soon turned in to an addiction and I gave in. I used to rush out of my training at 5 and the stand in the queue for about 45 mins to get the first slot. Later due to a high demand for pool, I started playing snooker, but pool remained my first love. Most of the times I’d continue to play till 10 at night. The food courts served dinner till 10pm, and most of the times I only got the left overs. Non-veg would usually be over by that time but yet I gave my preference to my addiction over my love for food (esp. non-veg). About 4-5 months into training, the facilities team decided to stop providing cue sticks. By then I could not think of giving up playing. So, I undertook a one-day trip to Bangalore and back, to buy a cue for myself. By the time I came out of training, I had grown an intense dislike for my work-life, but was still addicted to cue sports.

Having been brought up in a metro city, I did not want to live in a Tier II city. Mysore is a nice place. But someone who is brought up in a metro city feels bonded due to the lack of options. You develop a need for a wide range of options in food, people, culture, hangout, infrastructure etc. Even Chandigarh made me feel chained over a period of 4 years. I dearly wanted to be posted to Bangalore, and I “just-about-managed” that. Very early into my posting I did get my laptop from home. But now there was a new problem. I was bound to spend too much time at office. And most of the times I had very little work. Even when there was work, it was pretty uninteresting. In order to bust my discontentment I experimented with my whiteboard at work, and decided to create a new status note each day which I’d put up on our internal messaging system. Most likely this was the only creative thing I did in my job. There were plenty who followed my status notes. Some loved it, some did not. But either ways any comment would give me the kicks and helped me move on. At the end of the day, I would immediately rush to play pool in order to let go of my entire day’s frustration. Most of my friends disapproved it, but I just ignored them all. It was the best way I could keep my mind off the dissatisfaction at work and compensate it with the satisfaction of get better at pool day by day. I even spent my Saturdays playing. In the process, I learned a few new games like Billiards. It is an awesome game. It taught me how to control the direction of the cue ball after it hits the intended ball. These skills made Pool even more fun. But still, by the end of the day I was tired, unhappy and eager to call it off. All I needed to do was to wait till I am out of all legal agreements and bonds. Till that day arrives, I’d hardly have the chance to reclaim the life I loved earlier. As time passed a decision grew in me - to publish my next blog post only after I close this chapter of my life.

I just published it.