Monday afternoons are most favorable to practice the art of idling. The anxiety of a fresh work week prevails over the dormancy of deadlines and you are back on detoxification diet after a carb loaded Sunday. On one such afternoons amid my momentary sniffing of liquid black ink( the one that fills the belly of a fountain pen), I hear a deafening sound enough to crack the inner chords of my ears. As I look up from my sniffing activity, I observe a recognizable obnoxious face of a dear friend who also acts as my local bookworm.
“Have you heard of Jerome K Jerome “, she says overlooking my disdain.
“Is he your fuck mate?” I ask, trying to outwit with my sarcasm.
You lightheaded bitch!, she shows displeasure. “He is the one who wrote Three Men in a Boat”.
Laughter overcomes me as I tell her my awareness of the author stating that he is one of the funniest men in English literature.
As she takes a mouthful of my salad, “Read this book. It is quite interesting”, she urges while masticating on the lettuce. “Jerome writes that although this book might be a good change in between reading “the best 100 books ever”, it wouldn’t even elevate a cow. But, I think it might elevate you”.
As she squanders away to my relief, I sit at my desk torn between the desire to resume ink inhalation or read a book by one of my favourite author.
Idling can be a joy if it is masked in the aura of procrastination. Lethargy is an entirely different concept as it is accompanied by comatose temporal lobe. So, I concur with my dear friend Jerome, when he states that in the world of slow-coaches and indolent people, a true idler is a rarity. A lazy person can sit on a park bench for hours and would care the least even if his butt falls asleep while staring expressionlessly at the birds. On the other hand, an idler for a gem of a person that he is, counts the pigeons in the park, browses the newspaper and exhibits characteristic facial expressions indicating his choc-a bloc schedule. Jerome infers idleness is as sweet as stolen kisses. Idle thoughts on the other hand, can weave an intriguing web of frivolous words and rational sentences. An imposed idleness can relay a series of thoughts, wondering why isn’t the life-cycle of a mosquito applicable to certain neighbors when they share the same blood-sucking attributes of the insect. Your mind debates the legitimacy of Darwin’s claim of man being evolved from apes, when you can clearly see the physical similarities and behavioral patterns between a walrus and one of you elder uncles at a family reunion. If we could identify with the baby talk, would all the “goo-goo-ga-ga” spell out Stewie Griffin’s verbal diarrhea? As you idle away work responsibilities, flinging pebbles in the nearby pond, the simultaneous ripples in the water brings a plethora of dystopian phrases that you might scribble away. Pigeons are devilish birds and so are seagulls. They secretly hate me like my exes. They stare at me and then maul me for a bag of cookies. Cats are smarter than dogs. An individual is the most compassionate and cheerful when he is fed. It is funny how a hungry stomach lustfully adores a plate full of gastronomic delicacies. Hunger is a luxury for those well-fed, as myself. Melancholy is like a glob of butter on toasts. It is detrimental to health, but without it life would be as flavorless as a stale oat. Vanity is not an honorary title solely bestowed on Simon Cowell. Everyone is vain. Take pride in it, just like my aunt whose bedroom lifestyle can put a praying mantis to shame (so claims my uncle, marvel at him being still hale and hearty), flutters like a butterfly at a cosmetic counter even though she appears to be a victim of a reversed metamorphosis. Jerome inscribes that memory is a rare ghost-raiser. Like a haunted house, its walls are ever echoing to unseen feet. Through the broken casements we watch the flitting shadows of the dead, and the saddest shadows of them all are the shadows of our own dead selves. Self- imposed amnesia is the best cure. That is what my cousin prescribes to when she runs into one of her ex-husbands while on a shopping spree.
Jerome is not at his sarcastic best. He is sick, you see. But, he does not disappoint at all. With the help of his dearest companion – the pipe, his drugged temporal lobe leisurely grabs every thought that runs through his mind contemplating from animal attitudes to love, furnishing apartments, babies, food and merriment of the time gone by. The text comprising of 14 varied essays, are rich with the humorous undertones on frolicsome anecdotes filtering into a theoretical finesse.
I am alone and the road is very dark. I stumble on, I know not how nor care, for the way seems leading nowhere, and there is no light to guide. But at last the morning comes, and I find that I have grown into myself.
As the alarm once again nearly ruptures my ear drums, it is 4’oclock in the evening and as I erase the defined whorls off my cheek printed by the ink stained thumb, a thought lingers asserting that my friend was precise of this book elevating me. Moo!!!!!