This time, last year, I had a routine. A routine that I loathed.
Wake up — Be grumpy — Drink Coffee — Be grumpy — Shower — Be grumpy — Get ready to work — Be grumpy — Work — Be grumpy — Come back home — Be grumpy — Work from home — Be grumpy — Go to bed — Repeat.
I was grumpier than The Official Grumpy Cat. 🙂 I made no time for my family and pets, I ignored my books, and I barely thought of myself.
After having been forced by circumstances, my life was almost put in a washing machine, it survived something like a whirlwind, only for me to come out clean and fresh. 😉
I still don’t follow a great routine. But, I seem to have established a rhythm; I seem to have found out something to do every morning.
A few days every week, before I dive into my first cup of coffee, I cycle for a while. If not, the day always, always begins with me downing a mug of what my father and I call ambrosia — our mother’s filter coffee. Its aroma and taste are so addictive that my friends invite themselves home just to have it. If I fix myself a cup of coffee, using the same decoction and milk, it wouldn’t taste like my mother’s. It’s a mystery that our family hasn’t managed to solve. We choose to leave it that way too. 🙂
After I meet the first cup of coffee, I take Boo to the terrace. She chases the squirrels and crows, but she forgets to finish her ‘morning business’. That’s Boo for you. 😉
By now, I will have two more hours to leave for work. So, I sink in the divan by the window, and resume reading, as November zephyr caresses my cheeks. Boo stands beside me, with her gaze fixed on everything that can be found outside our window — A crow who has got too much work to do with her nest and her pink-mouthed babies, a bunch of construction workers who ascend and descend staircases numerous times, a couple of squirrels whom she wishes to chase, neighbours who go about carrying out their morning tasks, a pack of stray dogs who curl up after a long night, pedestrians who scale the streets every morning… Boo watches all of them, and a peaceful, comfortable silence hangs around us. Perhaps, that is one of the most beautiful things about animals. They are there; their presence is assuring, but not intrusive. ❤
Listening to the chop-chop from mother’s vegetable-cutter and the pitter-patter of Boo’s tiny toes, and inhaling the enticing smell of the south Indian food that wafts from my mother’s kitchen, I keep reading until it’s almost time to get ready for work. Then, I grudgingly close the book, and prepare myself to travel to the other world, which seems to spin faster. But, that’s not a complaint really. 🙂
These days, I try making a conscious effort to follow this not-quite-a-routine. 🙂 It only seems more beautiful to me, for the maddening rush has disappeared; life has slowed itself down exponentially. The slower it moves, more mindful it appears. Maybe, like everything else, this change also boils down to perception. And, what is more comforting than drawing happiness from little pleasures of life? My favourite author EB White observed this in Stuart Little:
“Henry Rackmeyer, you tell us what is important,” said Stuart. “A shaft of sunlight at the end of a dark afternoon, a note in music, and the way the back of a baby’s neck smells if its mother keeps it tidy,” answered Henry. “Correct,” said Stuart. “Those are the important things. You forgot one thing, though. Mary Bendix, what did Henry Rackmeyer forget?” “He forgot ice cream with chocolate sauce on it,” said Mary quickly.
While I was religiously carrying out the said things this morning, I was reading The Dalai Lama’s Cat, which inspired me to write this post. I haven’t finished the book yet. But, I have liked it so far. And, the passage on mindfulness that reverberated with me:
“I like this definition of of mindfulness,” said Chogyal to Tenzin… “‘Mindfulness means paying attention to the present moment deliberately and non-judgementally.’ Nice and clear, isn’t it?” Tenzin nodded. “Not dwelling on thoughts of the post or the future, or some kind of fantasy,” elaborated Chogyal. “I like an even simpler definition by Sogyal Rinpoche,” said Tenzin, sitting back in his chair. “Pure presence.” Chogyal mused, “Hmm. No mental agitation or elaboration of any kind.” Tenzin confirmed, “Exactly. The foundation of all contentment.”