As you grow older you begin to realise the importance of me-time. Stealing those solitary moments from the week to spend time in your own company, to be able to reflect and plan ahead – I’ve learnt how much I’ve needed this, and all it took was one step to get over my hesitation of being seen alone in a cafe or theatre, and people’s perception of the same.
It started when a close friend moved out of the city – the person was my go-to person and had to shift due to some personal commitments. It is then that I found myself alone and craving for company and it would often bog me down, to not have someone to go out with. This dependency and how much it effected my mood was alarming. I’d be low for days and easily irritable. Heck I’d even get angry at that friend for moving away! It was time to snap out of this and take matters into my own hand, because honestly, this was something no one else but I could help myself with.
I took baby steps and went for a movie alone – something that my brother always did and mentioned how he likes it that way. Out of curiosity to try something new, I booked a ticket for myself. Initially I was very conscious of my surroundings and aware of the gazes that followed me. For everyone person who looked at me, I was convinced that they thought that I must be some loner and maybe they felt pity on me. Soon after the movie begun, I started to relax and by the end of it I was convinced that this was one of the best experiences ever. No one to disturb me during the movie, no one to coordinate with when it comes to reaching on time (yes, I am too punctual for my own good!), and no one to share my popcorn with! Haha. Its been 4 months since this, and now I always go for movies alone and love it.
The next step was to try working out of cafes and get out of home, more often and alone. I had seen my friend Kalyan of Finely Chopped being an evangelist for this concept and honestly, it inspired me to take that step. Once I did, I could understand why he liked to work from cafes – these are not just places where you can get good food and beverage, but also be inspired by your surroundings, as you tend to notice the people around you and sometimes catch bits and pieces of their conversation. Like, the other day I heard a 3 year old asking her mother – “If we have cows milk, then what will the baby calf have?” – adorable and yet so profound.
I begun to enjoy this process so much, that now once in two weeks I gift myself my own time and go out for a solitary dinner and discover a new place. These are the meals where I make sure not to go with the laptop and stay away from the phone. Just a book and lots of literary characters to give me company. What else could I, a bookworm who lost her way, could have asked for?
Yes, when I ask for a table for one, I am still met with concern and a certain amount of disbelief because the waiter fails to fathom why someone would want to be alone in a restaurant. But, I am used to it now, and secretly enjoy noticing their reactions. Of course, there are the fellow diners as well, who discuss loudly about my ‘single status’ and inadvertently end up saying, ‘arre becchari!” ; but trust me, I wish they could do this too, only then they’d realise how important it is to give this time to yourself. Its the best gift one can gift to themselves. It has helped me come in terms with many demons and face them with a newfound confidence. At the end of the day, there is no one knows me better than I do, and there is no one who loves me more than I do. Yes?
Sitting at a newly opened Kitchen Garden in Juhu right now, and writing this down has helped me break the curse of not writing since last 3 months. For a person who is totally dependent on her words to be able to express herself, not being able to do so was tough. Here’s to new beginnings and the solitude in solitariness.