The Ordinary Life

To write a post, I have to deem its subject wonderful or beautiful, puzzling or revelatory - it has to be pretty extraordinary. There is an unspoken need to weave a story, for it to be a serendipitous discovery, to be meaningful to my life, my living.

It’s difficult to write about the ordinary. Everyday life isn’t always wonderful or beautiful, it doesn’t puzzle me enough to keep me up at night thinking about existentialism, it isn’t revelatory about the purpose of life or I don’t make new discoveries about how to lead a life of purpose.  It’s ordinary: The daily chores, the everyday food, the daily rituals of breakfast, lunch and dinner, the conversations that move the days and nights along. 

Few minutes ago, I was caramelising onions for a chicken curry I’m rustling up for lunch. I crushed ice for a quick drink of rum and coke. I made a mental note of the pending work items on my To-Do List. In an almost meditative moment, I measured out the rice, washed it, added enough water, watched the rice settle, some grains did the dance of Brownian motion and thus I completed the weekend ritual of making rice. All simple nice things that make up my day but nothing to write about. And that’s OK.

Yesterday Anisha called from the neighbourhood Au Bon Pain. “Do you want something from here? I’ll come over if you make me some Cherry-Cinnamon tea.”

Ten minutes later, there was a knock on the door. I paused Newsroom and we sat down for a quick afternoon meal of sandwiches, cherry-cinnamon tea, chocolate and blueberry muffins. Anisha also brought along a small gift of honeyed peanuts. “I wasn’t sure if you were working today but I thought I’d check anyway.” I was happy that she chose to keep aside all modern misgivings of plans and calendars and turn up at my door. It was a spontaneous act of warmth and friendship - I preferred this to a more elaborate meal planned weeks in advance, weighed down by expectations and social niceties.

It takes time and extraordinary resolve to consciously step back and savour the moment. It’s almost a mantra I have to repeat to myself: Stop foraging for a story, ignore the urge to be constantly awed, appreciate the stories in the ordinary moments. Sometimes it’s just about allowing for the moment of spontaneity and giving yourself up to it, like the afternoon tea with Anisha. I could get used to it.