Thursday, October 19, 2006

The Sabbatical

I had decided a month or so ago that I would quit my job. To an outsider, it may have seemed like a hasty decision, but the truth was that I’d had enough of this corporate lifestyle. Jet setting around to boring meetings where most people were concentrating harder on the cookies passing around and working out strategies to net the chocolate cream ones. Staying in one hotel which looked just like another, where the staff all wore white uniforms, and pretended not to notice when I was smoking. Trying to steal as much freebies as I could without getting to the point where they would open my bag and search for the goods. From the outside, it looks like the life anyone would want to have, but I was sure that I was missing something. When I was young, my father used to tell me, “Don’t miss the woods for the trees”, but it looked to me as if I could not even tell the difference between the two anymore. So I decided that the best way for me to work out things would be to quit my job and take it a little easy. I didn't know if it was a sabbatical. That would have implied that I was coming back. As of now, I didn’t have a plan either way. Maybe I was coming back. And maybe I wasn’t. It wasn’t the kind of time to make a decision on something as important as that. Or maybe something as trivial. So I just left it quietly at the back of my mind, filed away in one of those cabinets, not so far back that I couldn’t reach in and bring it out if I wanted to, but not too upfront either. No, I didn’t want it too far up front, poking out whenever it got the chance to. So I just served out my notice period, a month, according to my contract, and packed up all my personal stuff at work, and carted it home.

When I told my husband about this, he wasn’t surprised. “I am sure we can manage with my salary and our savings for a few months”, he said, as though he’d seen it coming for some time, “But what will you do, won’t you get bored just sitting at home?” “Oh, I’m sure I’ll think of something”, I said, though the truth was that I really didn’t know. We had a cook at home, and I couldn’t cook and didn’t plan to learn, so I wasn’t going to be spending my time conjuring up exotic dishes. My husband ate very simply most of the time, anyways. We didn’t have kids at that time, so I didn’t have to pay attention to anyone, or pick them up from school or anything like that. Maybe I would just spend the entire day waiting for him to get home, and then listen to how his day had been. Maybe that’s what rich housewives did. But I didn’t see myself getting bored. I just pictured time as this finite thing, cut up into strips of twenty four hours, each of which I would count away easily, one after the other. At that time, I was still young enough to be unafraid of time, either how little or how much of it was left.

8 comments:

itchingtowrite said...

well , if it's u who is taking the sabbatical- I remember what u used to say- I have so many things (hobbies) to do and because I am having a job, I have so less time to pursue all of them!! so guess u ll do well with the sabbatical!!

apu said...

fiction, my dear, fiction :)

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Srihari said...

"At that time, I was still young enough to be unafraid of time, either how little or how much of it was left."

Superb.

artnavy said...

Very well written. Loved teh last line.

Coffee-on^the-housE said...

Nice. The writeup and your decision. And also liked the fact that you DID NOT create a passion for cooking just coz itz a mandate at least in Indian homes. Kudos for being yourself :)

apu said...

Sri, Art, COffee - thank you ! (btw - most of this is fiction, though the character resembles me in some ways!)