The power of mundane routine

Ritu Kumar

BUSY with band, baaja and baraat with two weddings in our family, my days passed quickly in planning the weddings of my sister’s children. Everyone huddled around excitedly, partaking of fun, food and festivity. From coordinating colours to framing photos, the secret network of whispers, menu, number of invitees, the cost and packaging of return gifts, all kept us on our toes. Amid festivities, we eagerly looked forward to peaceful moments once the events got executed satisfactorily.

But when the functions came to a close, and with children preparing to leave home, I realised that the solitude I longed for somehow turned into loneliness. There was nothing to look forward to.

Any mother will tell you that she lives with the dread of her children flying the nest once they go for higher education and jobs. We are often told to live in the moment because there are moments when time stands still and distractions fade away, allowing an intensity of emotion and a sharpness of senses to take over. These are the moments we sink into contentedly, living in the moment with focused attention. All ghosts of the past and expectations from future fade away.

And yet, as I sat winding up the chores, life began to seem limited and boring in the ‘present’. Peace and solitude seemed overrated. I questioned the value of peace in the absence of chaos and turbulence. What is life minus conflicts, diversions, plans and projects? Feet planted firmly in the present, I realised the importance of desires and dreams. Having a future to look forward to helps us keep our present worthwhile. Life without future plans is prosaic.

The years have tamed me somewhat and I thank God that I have at least my set of daily mantras to lead a happy and healthy life. When I joined college after the short leave, I felt at home with my students and embraced my disciplined life spontaneously and smilingly. My drooping spirits got the wings of pilgrimage of scholarship. How most of us tend to underestimate the power of routine and life structures! Routine gives a structure to life and it is this structure that ensures life makes sense. You wake up with a sense of purpose and ownership. These external props are vital ingredients to maintain internal peace and piety. College enforced a routine that helped me to stitch together the fabric of my daily life in other areas also. As I bade au revoir to my extended family, I tentatively looked forward to our next meeting.

Indeed, when you intentionally organise your days, you are making a commitment to be positive and lead a more meaningful life. I have started enjoying my old busy routine, with some leeway for spontaneity. True, life has to be a constant reaffirmation of an inner quest for happiness and purpose, which is an ongoing process.

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