Thursday, October 2, 2008

On Idleness

Some time back, I wrote a post which I then deleted. There must have been reasons, but I am not able to recall any of them now; the only reasons that occur to me are for putting it back here. The blog is in dire need of some posts which actually say something rather than just think what to say, or mull over having nothing to say. So here it goes, that post:

I particularly like idleness. Rather, I 'admire' idleness would be more apt to say. If I come to know another person who admires idleness, and unless he doesn't really remind me of Uday Chopra, I'd probably be very tempted to strike a good friendship with him. It comes as no surprise then that two of my favourite books are 'In praise of Idleness' and 'The Idle Thoughts of an Idle Fellow'. The first one actually made a fool out of me, as 'In praise..' just turned out to be one of the many essays in that book to which they gave the same name. However, it was still a good, worth-it read, only that some later essays of that book started to undermine this particular essay, when I stopped reading it any further. The second book is one I personally consider a masterpiece, but as it turns out, the 'intelligentsia' have probably just passed it off as a work of 'light writing'.

When I say idle, I do not include occasions when you are apparently doing nothing but are completely immersed in brooding, remorse, elation, expectation and the likes. Because all of them are things that are in fact keeping you from being idle, rather than making you idle as one might think.

My idea of idleness is when you're free from any resentment or ecstasy, from any guilt or vanity. My idea of idleness is probably a Dhokla of imagination garnished with leaves of laziness. It is when nothingness dumps you into a parallel world of what I like to call creativity, probably only to boost up myself.

I am surprised to find that other people are not idle. After all, how much work is there anyway? There may be, I understand, and I haven't seen real life and all that; but trust me I have seen quite a bit - both the good and the very bad. My idleness has hardly come in my way of work, for as long as I can remember. Sure, I could have done a little more had it not been for my propensity for being a layabout idle, but even with it I am managing just fine, about as much as my peers. And after all, what plethora of work are even those not idle engaged in anyway. From my frog of a well experience, I can say with certainty that when, being idle, I am just wasting my time; my friends are there wasting their time as well as talktime. Idleness might not, at the end of the day, see me as an achiever, but then I am satisfied with the mere amusement it gives me, and don't have any greater expectations from it. Oops, will right about expectations in a future post.

I agree that lack of activity is the biggest curse a man can bear - the state of having nothing to do. I not only agree, I rather endorse this view. But then, 'lack of activity' is not idleness. Here I'd quote a fantastic paragraph from 'The Idle thoughts..' : "It is impossible to enjoy idling thoroughly unless one has plenty of work to do. There is no fun in doing nothing when you have nothing to do. Wasting time is merely an occupation then, and a most exhausting one. Idleness, like kisses, to be sweet must be stolen." In hindsight I think a good example of this brand of idleness is one, albeit very boring, of my previous posts - "'Urgent Updates' - Nov 24".

Readers [added now: there were a few back then] of this blog perhaps already know that I consider myself a fairly idle person (not in any way to be confused with ideal person). And it is the aforementioned definition of idleness I am using here.

It is in these periods of idleness that I cook up a lot of things in my head (and probably you too do, but I have a tendency to fall into hallucinations that tell me I am the only anointed one in this world doing things that only I am doing - but then again, probably you too might have had these weird thoughts) that aren't remotely of any practical use for mankind but which certainly serve to amuse me and make me feel good about myself; and some of which I put down here, after weighing diligently the pros and cons of putting them publicly. Another set of such cooked up things I found pretty interesting (as I always do, because I cook them up) and thought others will find interesting too (for a change), I am putting down here. Today I was thinking of such paradoxical sentences which mean totally the opposite of what they actually say, with a tinge of humour in them. I would like to read your similar ones from you, in case you have the idle time too.
Read on for the ones that occurred to me:

1. I don't give a heck to what people say about me as long as I know I am not arrogant.

2. I am very receptive in learning from others but I wish there were good enough people existing today.

3. There's an acute lack of a sense of reason among these young men of today, see - all of them are so tall.

4. They are all ill-mannered, bloody assholes.

5. That insensitive crook lifted my most prized possession, the watch I took out of my dear late uncle's hand on his deathbed. Damn it! It was a Patek Philippe for God's sake.

I'd probably use all of them as dialogues of a weirdo in a play, if I ever produce one.

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