Alum Articles: Sapna Agarwal, PGP 1993

In plain terms one can call Ms. Sapna Agarwal a blogger but her thoughts and notions gives a sense of calm, relief and leaves one to introspect. She writes  short poems and articles mostly on current issues for BordlessJournal. Her latest write-ups on the current crisis of Corona Virus are very good reads and her personal contribution to L Square. L Square thanks her for her time and contribution.

Rumination: Lockdown is a long flight

I haven’t traveled much recently but I remember when I was in the middle of a ‘hi-flying’ job (literally here) and had to travel internationally twice a month, the only good sleep I had was in-flight. This was unusual because most people I know cannot sleep well — especially in economy class.

The reasons I could sleep so well were many – the ordinary ones were that I was generally fatigued after my fourteen-hour job; I was not interested in the alcohol on board; I am 5ft nothing and could be comfortable in the economy class seat ( much to the envy of the Germans in Lufthansa flights ); the microwaved food didn’t excite me so I didn’t need food breaks and hence loo breaks.

But the real reason (and that is why I am linking it to the lockdown) was that I was mentally at peace since once on board there was nothing under my control.

I was blissfully devoid of FOMO – fear of missing out on the chance of utilising my time better. There was nothing I could do high up there – no clearing long-pending tasks like visiting the bank, replacing my torn handbag,  arranging for a birthday party,  getting my car serviced — in general, all the tasks that I postponed with guilt while on land. In air, I was at peace that for the next 22 hours everything could wait. Once I had mental peace, I could just roll up and go to sleep. It was magic. There were times when the air hostess ( Qantas and Thai in particular) would wake me up and insist I eat something instead of sleeping for 15 hours straight.

The other thing that made in-flight sleep so peaceful was that there was little my accident-phobic self could do to save myself in case of a disaster. I do not have the same peace of mind while traveling by taxi, bus, or train. In a taxi or bus, I always keep an eye on the driver willing him to avert any head-on crash. In a train where I cannot see the driver, I am normally evaluating my chances of escape in case of a collision. But in a flight, it is binary – in the unlikely event of a crash, there is nothing a hapless passenger can do. So, I could sleep in peace.

Now after many years, the lockdown is giving me the same feeling — a calm, soothing feeling that there is not much I can do except wash my hands.

One — There is no urgent task I can complete because everything is closed and legitimately so.

Two — In case of a disaster, that is the deadly virus takes over the entire world, there is very little I can do.

So I’d rather say my little prayer, roll up and catch up on my sleep – peacefully.

Time is money

Today my daughter came to me and said – ‘it’s evening, let’s make tea’. A common statement but uncommon because it did not have a timestamp – as in ‘Its 5:30 pm, let’s make tea’.

It set me thinking what a luxury it has been to be free of the ever-ticking time bomb.

For the past many years my life has been a series of time stamps – get up at 5:30 am, wake daughter up by 6:00 am, make sure she’s at the bus stop by 7:00 am, get ready by 7:30 am and reach the destination by 9:00 am ( before the traffic builds up), etc etc…ending in – switch off the lights by 10:30 pm so that the same routine can start again.

Its as if my entire 24 hours have been mortgaged to some force and I get them back in bits and pieces. I have forgotten that the day has many hours that can be morning, afternoon, evening or better-sounding dawn, dusk, etc. The time is all mine and not all these hours have to be productively used – some can be used doing nothing or just relaxing or doing some activity which does not have an end time.

Now that the time bomb is relaxed (albeit temporarily and for the larger good hopefully temporarily) I am just reveling in the luxury of time. The clock is immaterial – just another accessory. The sunrise and sunset are indicators enough and no two days are alike in time schedule. No amount of money can buy this state of mind. As a child I learned that ‘time is money’ and after all these years I really understood the meaning.

Links: Rumination: Lockdown is a long flight and Time is money