Upon the internship week ending, I go down the elevator with cell phone in hand, prepared to phone home as soon as the cold air hits me with blessed mobile service and wi-fi. I make a call back to my planet of civilized society, informing someone of my imminent arrival after the long two train rides away from Ground Zero - a leveled ground that invokes less than favorable thoughts in more ways than one.
I’m traveling away from a place where my effort is manipulated, crumpled, and thrown into the digital recycle bin.
The receiving end of my previously hurried phone call materializes and is a beacon of light emanating from the otherwise darkened sky-cum-living and inanimate storefronts-cum sidewalk macrocosm that is a direct result of the recent Daylight Savings time warp.
I walk up the stairs to my abode, mulling over the steps for carrying out my weekly recovery plan:
1. Take off clothes and put in hamper
2. Wash hands and glasses frames
3. Comb out hair before a triple shampoo and conditioner
4. Scrub away the residue of patronizing dummies and rancid subway fumes
5. Proceed to comb wet hair ever so gently so as not to break the maximally elastic brown strands framing my face.
6.Roll up the mane and tie a small square scarf loosely around my head, knot at the back, akin to the bandanna-trend for young American females in the nineties but more similar to the Kashmiri women’s style, revealing wisps of my never-dyed hair that I would furthermore love to wear outside if I weren’t mistaken for identifying with philosophies that I cannot connect with at all.
7. Cleanse, moisturize, and medicate face for the third time.
9. Meal of the day.
Of course, in keeping with the integrity of all that encompasses recovery, as soon as the stream of fervid water bounces off my head, elbows, and shoulders, I refrain from carrying out the above listed tasks in an even remotely efficient manner.
I’m consumed by the warmth of a home, so different from college when I discovered too late in senior year that I had to find a recluse other than mom’s home-cooked food and an always clean bathroom with coral-pink walls and tiles, and a painted glass sconce to match.
I carry out the hair washing in an ever so slow fashion, knowing fully well and somewhat guiltily, that if someone, highly unlikely, were to use the shower soon after me, that person would have to wait a good 40 minutes before the water is no longer cold.
Essentially, I would be inflicting the same pain due to cold temperatures making contact with warm-blooded skin, that I aim to recover from.
The impetus for the undisciplined carrying out of my plan is so that I can defrost from the ice box that is my work-space from duress as opposed to the situations in which I can more effectively work.
The countdown begins - think New York New Year’s Day - as my future plans and holidays are fast approaching.
This past weekend I celebrated one of my favorite holidays, Bandhi Chhor Divas and simultaneously, Diwali. Not unfortunately because the symbolism and history of these days are always fortunate and auspicious, rather, quite disappointingly, the celebrated tradition coincided with the Western calendar for Sunday, or the day before I have to again suffer the brunt of people who serve no purpose other than to demoralize and disrupt.
Diwali weekend was my recovery: A little last-minute studying, tasty but healthy food, a tad bit indulgence in the form of sweet desserts exchanged among friends and family, and some exercise, all led up to and took place during Diwali day.
As the night beckoned on Sunday, I felt that leaden feeling of having to travel and spend my days in an office full of incompetent people again.
The night of Diwali is when I, with my parents, light diyas, earthen clay tear drop-shaped somewhat shallow bowls, in which mustard oil is filled to soak a single cotton wick.
The lighting was my recovery.
Afterwards, wearing my billowy patiala salwar, pants, kameez, long shirt, and shawl that complemented but was not inherently part of the duo, I headed to Gurudwara, a Sikh place of worship, and that was the recovery of all recoveries if there ever were one.
Upon leaving the last step of recovery, I met with an unexpected jolt of recovery.The quick meeting I’m referring to most definitely appealed to the dreamer in me.
Nonetheless, I managed to go to sleep with a semi-smile as I awaited the bittersweet slumber that leads to a new day, aging by the second under the circumstances of the unpaid, in both monetary and intellectual-growth terms, workplace.
As I am typing this, it is almost time for me to recover as the final workday winds down and is brought to a screeching halt just when I enter the train that had made its screeching entrance.