Addictions. We all have some small demons we have to fight. In my case, my demons are socially sanctioned- sort of. Cigarette aren't illegal (yet) and I didn't even know I had another addiction until last week.
What happened last week? Well, regular readers of this column may know I have three cats. They're all under two years old, and still fairly kittenish. One of their favourite pastimes, in fact, is playing follow-my-leader boisterouly, with no regard for the things they are jumping over. One of these things was a coffee cup, and before I could save it, the dregs of my evening coffee lay all over my most precious possesion: my Macbook Air.
A writer without the tools to write is a funny beast. Even if you may not be writing anything at the moment, robbed of your implements, the tool of your trade, you feel somewhat naked. Exposed. Like you're going out into the world with no armour.
But more than that fiddly twitch--much like smoking, I may point out--what I missed most was my unfettered access to the internet. I know, I know. You're saying, "But why not use your phone?" and I do, I am, but there are so many things about a laptop I take for granted, the ease of tabbed browsing for example, or just the bigger screen, that I feel very much like a marathon runner whose legs have been hobbled together. There it lies, the great big world of the internet, and here I am, only able to experience it in dribs and drabs.
But a funny thing happened in the last week while my laptop goes off to be repaired. I began to sink into my digital detox and then, on day two, actually to enjoy it. My usual morning routine is get out of bed, feed the cats, put the coffee on and go straight to my desk to catch up on what the world's been doing while I was asleep. Now I linger in bed longer, only hopping out for said cats, and coffee, but that too at a certain pace and time. I open the door and pull in the morning papers, something I usually put off till later in the day, and I read them carefully cover to cover, pausing not to check Twitter or Facebook like I normally would, but to stare out of the window and think about what I've just read. Then as the day goes by, I wander over to my to-be-read shelf, and select what I feel like reading that day. I usually go right back to bed and sit with my pile of books under the duvet with the AC on.
I am lucky in that I have finished two big projects already, and this was meant to be my fallow time, to come up with new ideas. I am also lucky that I don't have a day job or that many deadlines, I am free to lie in a hammock thinking deep thoughts should I choose.
That's when it struck me. Why don't I choose? With no jobs and deadlines holding me to my desk, why do I insist on acting like an office drone? I am living the life and it's passing me by in a cloud of who said what on Facebook. I don't even like half these people so much, why do I keep checking what they have to say?
Hopefully my laptop will return this week, and then my life can go back to its usual routine, deadlines and all, but until then, I'm sort of enjoying myself. Today, after I finish writing this on my phone with an external keyboard that slips into my purse, I'm off to a cooking class in far away Gurgaon, because why not? What else do I have to do today?
A version of this appeared as my column.