The last few weeks have been hectic, so much that I could not even pen my thoughts, and finally when I managed to get a break, I was too tired even to sit up or write.

However, this does not absolve me of my crime of not sticking to the resolve. So here I’m, compensating for time lost in mad pursuit of bread and butter, after ample dose of reality check conducted during the taxing moments.

I had resolved to read at least a book by the time the crisis at my office was over and I took a break. However, the sporadic bursts that my reading sessions comprised left me quite sceptic of my own ability to stick to a plan. To say that I’m feeling terrible would be an understatement. However, the ordeal set me thinking about the priorities of my life and how was I to go about ticking off everything on the wish-list.

Time is a relative concept (with no offence intended to Mr Einstein). Anyway, time is something some people always have and some people try hard to find. Though I generally fall in the first group, my of late adventures in the second group left me wondering about how spoilt a brat I was in not realising the gift god had sent me by giving me ample time to dispose of in the first place. My not-so-busy schedule of yore seemed like perfect bliss when I was breaking my back for some time entirely to myself. It’s when you want something that you had and lost without ever using it that you realise how handy it could have been in the present. My cravings for free time were quite similar. First lesson: Respect Time.

To drive home the point, I formulated a series of to-do things in perfect order, such that I could pursue my passions without hindering my profession and vice-versa. However, a friend of mine did raise an objection to my scheduling things by pointing out that spontaneity was the essence of life. The discussion snowballed into a full fledged debate, with neither party willing to concede an inch. An impartial judge and a votary of peace soon entered the fray to soothe the frayed tempers. According to that gentleman, while spontaneity indeed was necessary, prioritising stuff did not fall far behind.

Life is to be lived in the moment, but that does not mean that the opportune moment will make an appearance of its own accord. You will have to work to make the moment come

Spontaneity is necessary, but one can be free in this world when all the chores have been properly taken care of. Hence, prioritising stuff to be care free is necessary

Now, this indeed went a long way in helping both of us warring opponents to go home happy, with validation coming from a revered figure. Moreover, it also aided us in understanding where our own thoughts were lagging. The right impetus to iron out the wrinkles in the grand plan had made an opportune appearance due to spontaneous debate over prioritising stuff.

While earlier I used to aimlessly surf the net to find something interesting accidentally just to kill time, I during the past month or so realised how fulfilling and meaningful a conversation with a dear one or an old friend could be even in the most trying situations instead of whiling away time in meaningless sifting of plethora of useless information. A gentle word here or a calm soothing voice there go a long way in easing the mind of its burden, which otherwise would have crushed all hopes and left you a castaway even in the midst of multitude. Lesson Two: Social Networking is no substitute to true relationship, hence respect the latter

After a hard day’s labour, nothing is more enjoyable than a hot, steaming mug of black tea with a dash of lemon and a nice book in hand. I have reached a point where I feel that searching for a nice read in itself quells the spirit of a bibliophile. I may be wrong, but not entirely. The other day, I was perusing through my personal library when I realised that I had far too many books that I had never touched. It bugged me no end and I was at loss where to begin. That’s when I made my must-read list. I charted out a plan to read books, one after another in a planned manner. Though it seemingly lacks spontaneity, it is better than doing nothing, I guess. **Lesson Three: Reading is a habit that one must never let go of. **

I have always believed that good food, good book and excellent whiskey make life bearable. The rest are all incidental. I love cooking. But when hard pressed for time, love makes an unceremonious exit and what remains is a drab reality of inedible something on a platter. It’s one of the harsh realities of life that whatever you do, how so ever you grow, food is something that you cannot do without. The tight schedules, the deadlines, everything that shackle a free human spirit is due to the importance of this four-letter word.

It was in this backdrop that a friend of mine paid me a visit. Though it was only the second time I was meeting him, the story of our first meeting in itself is a tale worth narration, it seemed as if we were carrying forward a discussion we had dropped inconclusively only a night ago. Anyway, the gist of the matter is he took matters of the kitchen into his hands for a couple of days. His Odiya authentic cuisine opened up a new world of culinary delight. It was his love for cooking it right; and patience and eye for details that made me realise again the essence of cooking, which had given way to a rather drab perfunctory discharge of duties in the arena of cutlery. I regained my love for good food and decided never again to compromise. Lesson Four: Food is a non-negotiable commodity.

Well-cooked food is the only cure for a love lorn heart. The better you cook, the better you feel about yourself. You’re handling one of the most important roles, and if it is done to perfection, you emerge out of the kitchen with your self respect enhanced

Considering how great an impact these seemingly small tasks have on our lives, it is imperative that these tasks are performed to the best of our capabilities. However, our greatest nemesis is time or lack thereof. Now, again, with no disrespect intended, we all have avenues for spontaneous creativity, but only when we have planned our lives in a manner such that we have considerable time at our disposal. Good food, love, book and wine make life great.

So, the next time you feel that your shoulders are drooping beneath the taxing nature of your work; when you feel that life is no longer worth it; and the meaning for existence is lost; take a deep breath. Take that mobile out of the pocket and don’t check your mail or messages, but ring up an old friend or that distant friend or the love of your life and tell them how badly you miss them. After that make yourself a great meal, have it in peace in the knowledge that somewhere out there are people who love you and care for you. Wash it down with a couple of pegs or glasses of wine and then take a good book and lull yourself into a well-earned good night’s rest.

Only the well-fed and true of heart know sleep. Others just keep their brains on standby.