“Listen, I really need a break!”

“I cannot handle this nonsense now, I need some respite.”

“A few more days and I am going to be out of here for a while, at least.”

This and much more. I remember saying these things to my friends or at least to myself when I needed some consolation to get through the terribly long days. As I geared up to travel for a good 10 day period, I kept telling to myself that this was going to be it! I am going to relax, be on my own (whenever possible) and just leave everything behind. Wow!

If I were to reveal that the travels merely took me out to attend a close friend’s wedding as well as a conference, it might even sound silly that I was expecting to get a break. But travelling has its own distinct appeal. Being able to do nothing in the journeys (quite literally), catching up on reading, observing people and collecting your thoughts – just a gist of what one can pull off in a single round!

I pretty much did most of the above (bar a lot of reading). I sat like someone who never had any agenda in life. I listened to some good music. I allowed myself to be a part of the co-passengers’ lives, without them really having me invited me over for it.

But I also worked. Surprisingly, I was responding to emails so that my students could continue their projects without too many hurdles. I was responding to text messages and calls so that my clients were not entirely on their own while we missed out on the weekly sessions. I was responding to the organizers at the conference with the logistical details they required. I was trying to solve mundane queries about things misplaced at work and pending case appointments. Well, you get the idea.

As I took a break from the dance rehearsals (a fallout of the latest trend with Hindu weddings – the grand sangeet), I sat responding to an email at the ungodly hour of 3.40 am. As I recovered from the shock of how much life had changed post University, I had another of those epiphanous moments (that have become the genesis of much of my written expression). I realized this was the new life, one of constant movement and involvement. As I sat thinking about it, I realized what I cribbed about was essentially what I chose to do, over and over again.

Time and again I have faced days when I have had absolutely no time to spend with myself, time to just be. Its easier to crib about this. But to realize that the real culprit lies right within you, can be a tad bit, well uncomfortable. If only discomforts helped changed the reality!

Since the time I have begun to work, I have made all of it very much a part of what I am, almost like an extension of what my life is. So when someone asks me abstract questions, in an effort to put some agitated part of themselves at peace, I do want to respond to it and help. When a student chooses to oblige me and manages to finish work within the given deadline, I feel equally obliged to give necessary feedback, holiday or no holiday. When my senior wishes to refer a new case, I am okay with that sense of restlessness in not being able to immediately address the needs. When someone needs to me proof read their work, I feel the urge to push myself even late into the night.

The bottom line remains – I find it hard to detach myself from everything that I am a part of (and even things I am not a part of). Whether it is workplace, proofreading for a friend, running errands for my mom, listening to a friend late into the night, I know I am going to over-do my part almost always. This is what defines a major part of me, this is what makes me, me. And I am not regretful of this anymore. The best I can ever pull off with the so-called breaks I have been dying for, is to wake up late. That done, the second hour into the day is likely to lead to an unease with having nothing concrete on my hands to do! So essentially, the much needed break is those few moments to an hour of solitude that I can manage to find in between all the running around. That is both necessary and sufficient for me to want to continue all that I end up being entangled with.

This is probably the proud most admission of my workaholic tendencies. Though, I never said I am one, did I? I do love my one-hour breaks quite dearly still!