I love Jack Bauer. And I love 24. Yes, I’m only now getting around to watching the series. It’s fab! Gripping. Absolutely. Immersive. Completely. I usually feel that way about books. Get so involved, that I live it. The rest of the world doesn’t exist. That’s the impact 24 has. I’m there. I’m Jack. Or trailing him. I feel the adrenaline. I feel the fear. I feel on the edge.
There’s just something about Jack Bauer. He’s displaced Richard Gere, George Clooney and the lot for me. He goes through most of the season looking ragged and exhausted. But there’s just something abt the way he carries himself. The strength. The assurance. The vulnerability. Calm as a cucumber in the face of anything and everything. Absolutely dependable. No nonsense. No frills. Cold. Exact. And I find myself gushing over him. Each season, he just gets better.
It helps that I’m watching uninterrupted, without ads, back to back episodes. 1 season each week. Makes it all the more immersive. It shows on us. The kid’s started to hate it. Both of us get extra bugged if the kid makes any sound or wants attention while we’re watching. And I realize that I feel tired, drawn and anxious. For no apparent reason. No fire at work. Smooth on the home front. And yet, I was drawn out, displaced, on the edge. A sort of shadow effect? The ‘24’ hangover.
After a while, I chose not to watch it. Atleast not every day. Hubby’s on Season 6. After Season1, I’ve seen about 2 episodes per season along with him. It’s my Friday night treat. Not the best way to watch it I know. But it does give me snippets of Jack Bauer; escape into another world, thrill, adrenaline. When I choose. Someday, when I have more time, more time to actually watch it without a 4 year old vying for my attention, I will.
In the meanwhile, it feels good. Not being ruled by the telly. I rock!
I think I’m in a phase. It spills over to other things. This ‘making a conscious choice’. Almost everything I do, is weighed. Do I really want to do this right now? Do I spend time watching 24 unfold or watching my son play? The latter has no replays. Do I really want to fret about the delay in hiring? Or the bring up? Or the delay in dinner? Do I really want to fret about the extra 15 min at the playground? Is it ok to tear up the day’s newspaper to make a paper plane, or a palace? Would I rather spend an extra 30 min in traffic, or leave early from office? Do I really want to stuff myself with that extra piece of apple pie and feel bloated for the rest of the day – or enjoy just a comfortable portion size and feel lighter for the rest of the day? Ditto with that cheese burst pizza.
Just consciously being aware of the choices I make, the reasons behind them, and the price I pay for each.. is empowering. It’s helped to let go of stuff that really doesn’t matter. To choose the stuff that really does. And to value it more.
Over the last 2 years, I’ve consciously tried to slow down. To stop being the hassled and frazzled SuperMom and SuperWoman. To let go. To simplify. Some things took a lot of effort. Some things just fell in place.
Difficult stuff – letting go of a whole bunch of books while moving from Bangalore, giving away almost half the household; ruthlessly refraining from buying more stuff – clothes, toys, decorative stuff – esp each time we go to Lifestyle; giving away my BC (before child) clothes. Forcing myself to stop and take a breath. To not fret. About every little thing.
Some things just fell in place. Like living off the grid. I chose this amazing apartment with a wonderful balcony, a view of the hills, wall to wall windows and a huge lazy pool. I had no inkling that the society would turn out so weird. They HAVE NOT allowed any Broadband connection in the complex. For landline, they allow only BSNL, not Airtel. For TV they allow only Reliance Big TV – which is pathetic. They made us remove our Tata Sky connection. There’s no dhobi who comes here. The paper wala and milkman deliver only after 8:30/9 am. So I’m forced to live off the grid. In exchange for a lovely view and lots of space in a place that looks and feels like a weekend resort. It took some getting used to. But it’s turned out well. We no longer waste hours changing channels and fuming that there’s nothing good on TV. We’re spared the daily dose of dumb ads and dumber, pathetic news coverage. And anyways, we’d already watched multiple reruns of Anthony Bourdain, Top Chef and whatever we cared for. Instead we simply choose what we’re in the mood to watch from a steadily growing collection on our hard drive.
Best proof of how far I’ve come, was today. The boys went off for a haircut in the afternoon. And I sat on the terrace, watching the clouds, soaking in the grey-golden sunshine. For an hour. It wasn’t easy. I kept getting up and running about with my TODO list, setting a cushion straight here, putting a chair back there, trying to make the most of my time. Then I’d take a deep breath, remind myself to slow down, and then I’d force myself to be still. Go back to the balcony and just sit with my plants. Soak in the flowers – the yellow shevanti in full bloom, the pink, white and red geraniums, and the latest addition to my garden – red and white petunias. A surge of pride, happiness looking at my garden. A sense of gratitude. To be able to sit still and just soak in the moment. To allow myself the luxury of space. And time. And silence. To just be. It was nice. Just 1 hour. With me getting up and running about for random stuff atleast 10 times. But happier.
If you haven’t been a hassled, frazzled mom juggling 20 things a minute, you may not know what I mean, and what coming this far signifies for me. But I have a feeling most Moms with kids under 5 would understand.