I've been maintaining this blog (for better or for worse) over the last eight years. Over these years, its natural evolution has led it into becoming something of a niche place for discussion of music in general and Qawwali in particular. Rather than trying to return my existing blog to its pre-Qawwali eclectic roots, I decided I’d start anew on Tumblr. So if you’re interested in music, Qawwali and subcontinental culture, keep reading/listening/watching/commenting here. For all of the above and everything else under the sun, head on over to my Tumblr page .

Monday, August 23, 2010

...Of An Alarming Change

There are thought-out, worked-upon posts and then there is hack work to keep the juices flowing. This is probably the latter.

My weekends have changed.

In my five years in med-school, weekends were like pit-stops. We used to look forward to them, counting down the days and generally living a weekend-to-weekend existence. The whole work week was considered a tedious preamble to the really important stuff, namely the weekend.

Sunday was an almost hallowed day and I would go to great lengths to keep it that way. Saturday mornings at the college were spent dreaming up weekend escapades and any study or ward-duty was done grudgingly and with complete disinterestedness. Playing hookey (quite a dangerous exercise considering where I was studying) and trying to get home as early as possible was an accepted practice. Throughout my stay in med-school, I never stayed in the hostels for a weekend unless it was absolutely unavoidable, i.e there were exams or the weekend was -in official parlance- a closed weekend.

The fact that my family moved four times during the five years I was in hostel meant that going home on weekends was a rather tedious and,in hindsight, expensive task. Except for the two and a half years that the family was settled in Pindi , going home generally meant a taxi-cab from college to the bus station, a hundred kilometre bus ride, and another cab from the bus-station to home. This process was repeated in reverse less than 24 hours later for the return journey. This ensured that at least 8 of the possible 30 hours were spent traveling.

What I didn't realize or probably realized but didn't care about at the time was the obvious monetary cost of performing the same ritual week in week out in the face of rising fuel prices and bus fares. All in all, I may've spent in the neighborhood of 50-60000 rupees simply on traveling to and from home on weekends. But here's the thing; looking back I can safely say that the time spent away from the hostels was worth every penny.

Weekends at the hostel were usually mind-numbingly dull affairs with most of my dorm-mates either home or out about town and nothing but 8-10 hours of sleep to while away the time, waking from which I had to endure the hostel-food which descended to unthinkable levels of blandness on Saturdays and Sundays. An unhealthy gloom descended on me every time I knew I was going to have to spend a weekend in the hostels.

Weekends at home were a completely different story, with every hour utilized to its fullest. I wasn't (and still am not) a very sociable person in that I didn't make friends in whatever neighborhood we were living in at the time. Hence there weren't many social calls to pay. I usually stayed home, and if I went out at all it was probably to go to
a) a bookstore or,
b) the now deceased Sadaf CD Store

The lack of a social circle also meant that I could spend my time in catching up on my reading or writing, spending a few hours on earnest undisturbed study or painstakingly downloading the next week's supply of music (those were pre-broadband days). If there was nothing else to do, I'd spend hours upon hours in front of the telly, getting my money's worth out of the couch in the living room,oblivious to the world around me.

Sleep was strictly rationed to the bare minimum. I rarely slept more than 5 to 6 hours on weekends, preferring to sleep off all the fatigue on Sunday night when I was back in the hostel. Afternoon naps were eschewed even in the balmiest weather and it was usual for me to sleep at 4 in the morning and wake up 4 or 5 hours later.

That was then, this is now.

It's almost four months now since I started working on my house-job and there are precious few weekends left. Sundays are working days unless by a freak of nature my name is not on the weekend duty-roster. On the average, I get every sixth Sunday off, with a non-stop succession of workdays in between. Add to that thrice weekly night duties and I have my hands full most days of the month. I can't complain however. The workload isn't unbearable and the fact that I'm finally learning actively after years of passively imbibing knowledge means that I don't consider myself an overburdened drone.

I get around two to three evenings free every week, which is more than what I used to have in Med-school,especially during final year. It's the weekends that have dried up, and that's a tragedy of gargantuan levels. Still, things would be acceptable if the level of activity on those precious few weekends equaled if not exceeded the R&R of weekends past. If I could get a bit of reading, a bit of writing, a bit of listening and viewing done over the weekend, I'd be a happy man.

But the balance of R&R has swung from recreation to rest. Where once sleep was strictly rationed, it has now spread itself over the day to such an extent that I wake up on Sundays at the ungodly hour of twelve in the afternoon, most times only to grab a two to three hour nap in the afternoon. I've replaced Jeff 'The Dude' Lebowski the poster-boy for unshaven slacking. Downloaded music remains unlistened to, movies that were eagerly awaited and downloaded gather dust in the DVD rack and newest contents of my overburdened bookshelf go untouched for months. Most disturbingly, it's been almost three and a half months since I acquired a new car-my first car mind you- and I feel absolutely no urge to grab the keys and take it out for a spin and practice my driving on the only day I have time for it. The result is that even after 3 months of being a car-owner, my driving skills are cretinous at best.

This is an alarming situation and I'm worried over it. Strangely, worrying only makes me want to snooze even more. I can't put my finger on the cause of the blight that has descended on the holiest of days in my calendar. The only reason I can think of is that I unconsciously accumulate fatigue over the weeks and weeks of ceaseless work and the only time I have to unburden myself is a Sunday. Try as I might, I can't maintain the same levels of activity I used to produce in the preceding years. My friends and acquaintances ensure me that what I'm going through is actually a return to normalcy after years of what they consider fairly deviant behaviour. Weekends were meant for sleeping ,they say, congratulating me on the fact that I have finally seen the light.

The sad bit is that I slowly feel myself warming to their point of view.

1 comment:

  1. So much I can relate to ... Every medical students has more or less same story throughout the med.school...weekend to weekend existence ! :)