The air-conditioner in my two-bedroomed apartment is putting up a brave fight against the sizzling summer heat. There’s hardly any noise that cuts above its hum. Looking out of the glass door of the balcony hurts the eyes – everything is yellowy-bright and the heat is almost visible. I long to step out, take a bus or the metro and just roam the city, but the practicalities of going out in the heat and not being able to drink a glass of water makes the idea a non-starter.
I try to write – there’s so much to let out; but two minutes in front of the computer, and I log on to Facebook account to see if there’s anything interesting there. I check and recheck and then check again. I comment on every post that I can comment on, repost what seems interesting, sit and brood about updating my status, and then decide I don’t have to. Then I check and recheck and comment again, until there’s nothing else left. I move on to checking my mails, and then quit, bored. For a while, I toy with the idea of deactivating the account; then abandon it as now the FB has become my only connection with the world.
No, don’t misunderstand me – it’s not like I don’t have anything to do. I’ve hardly finished the day’s cooking, there are clothes to be ironed, dresses to be mended, shelves to be tidied. There are mails to reply, assignments to complete. There are a few half-done paintings, and half a dozen stories and poems in progress. There are movies to be watched and books to be read.
But I am not doing anything.
I turn on the TV for something of some therapeutic value. Now, my idea of therapeutic value is different from the normal human being’s. Good, meaningful movies are not for me in such moods. I skip anything that requires me to think and feel, preferring to watch mindless Malayalam action movies with lengthy English dialogues that makes no sense to anybody – not even the superstar who mouths it, I’m sure. To my luck, today nothing of that sort is going on. I skim through channels, getting more and more frustrated by the minute.
I pause when I see the visuals of a song that shows my hometown – with its streams, lonely pathways that cut across green paddy fields, grey skies and kids playing in the rain. An unbearable longing fills my heart, threatening to choke me. The song comes to an end and it’s time for commercials that question the collective intellect of the viewers. I switch off the TV, go to You-tube and watch and listen to a spate of old songs until my eyes hurt. When I stop, the longing is still there, as unbearable as ever, if not more. Is this what they call homesickness?
So much to do, and so little time.
I feel like a toenail, growing inward, hurting myself…