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The drug of solitude

In India, the academic year begins in June. After two months of summer, where yellow mangoes and the humidity consumed our waking hours, the kids are back in school. M is now in first grade, his first year in big-boy school. This first week has gone by pretty uneventfully. There were the expected tears on the first day, tummy-aches continue without fail every morning, there’s anxiety over ‘strict’ teachers and mid-day meals served by the school. He comes home for lunch, happy and buzzing, so perhaps it is safe to let go of the anxiety (mine).

I wake before the sun has shown up for work, the sky still getting out of bed. Rain clouds linger, waiting just for the moment we step out. The house is deliciously dark and quiet. I have thirty minutes to sleep-walk through the bathroom, make the coffee, open the downstairs door so the newspaper man can bring the three newspapers upstairs instead of leaving them on the stoop where they could get wet or worse, stolen.

The thirty minutes are over before I’m properly awake. I gulp my first cup of coffee, wake M and then while he is easing into the morning I have my second cup of coffee and get things ready.

By eight I’m back home, M safely ensconced in his classroom. By then though, the rest of the household has woken up, the house is wide awake and the magic of the morning is lost.

I’m surprised at how much this affects me, this not having ‘adequate’ time to sit in the semi-darkness by myself and watch my thoughts wake up. As the years go by, I find myself getting even more solitary, longing for pockets of time where I have the house to myself, or a quiet moment to read without interruption or noise. It makes me feel bad, this wanting to be away from the family. But without this quiet-time, I might lose my mind completely.

It’s only the first week of this new schedule and I’m still trying to work out this new rhythm. Would waking 30 minutes earlier help? Last night, I went to sleep almost at 1 am, having wrapped up a deadline. With that kind of night, waking at 5.30 seems almost cruel.

Do you have this need to steal some time for yourself as well? Or am I wanting too much?

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One comment on “The drug of solitude

  1. Sometimes it does feel like wanting too much or wanting what can’t be had, but that doesn’t seem to change the wanting. And the wanting makes me feel bad too, but it makes me feel good to read your words: “As the years go by, I find myself getting even more solitary, longing for pockets of time where I have the house to myself, or a quiet moment to read without interruption or noise. It makes me feel bad, this wanting to be away from the family. But without this quiet-time, I might lose my mind completely.”

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