From time to time, we read about places that “take us away from it all”. There, we must leave our cell phones and our laptops behind and luxuriate is an internet-free, and app-absent environment.
We may spend our time communing with Nature to get a better appreciation of our place in the larger scheme of things, we may obediently ingest only chemical- and pesticide-free organically grown food that helps to decontaminate our digestive systems, we may even remain in silence to work on our meditation and concentration skills.
Some of us are ready to do most of the stuff mentioned here — working on our bodies and our minds, exercising right, eating right. But, we ask ourselves and the life coaches who recommend such getaways, “Do we have to leave our lifelines behind? Must we remain offline? Go totally incommunicado? And don’t you think we need an acclimatisation period to do this — a kind of gentle weaning away from checking our mails and the most recent posts on Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat and whatever else we are addicted to, before we settle into that anti-everything-modern place we have chosen (or been dragged to) for our annual break? How can we just drop it all cold turkey and expect not to have withdrawal symptoms?”
I admit that I am one of those who cannot remain without access to email for more than a couple of days. I would rather be away from the phone (the logic being that anyone who wants to talk to me can email me) than out of reach of the world-wide-web.
Others — especially those in positions of authority — would probably understand this.
But why should it apply to me?
Am I running a company where my expertise is invaluable to figure out weighty problems? No.
Do I have some special skills that may be wanted suddenly to save the world or the family — or just one person? No.
Am I likely to be needed by anyone desperately? I wish I was, but No.
Then why this antipathy to being “disconnected”?
I put it all down to Hope.
Like other freelance writers, I too send off contributions here and there and everywhere.
When the urge to write is especially strong, I milk it for all it is worth, letting the ideas flow as fast as possible so that I can get through “dry” days when nothing of any worth pops up in my mind.
Then, with a mini-bank of stories, I cast my line here and there, mailing stories off in an attempt to see whether I can hook some publisher who will be interested in what I have written.
Once that is done, I wait … and hope.
And therefore, like all those others who check their lifelines every few minutes for the latest updates on whatever they are interested in or hooked onto, I too check my mail, albeit not so frequently. Who knows when I may suddenly be released from my agony of waiting with a curt — or polite — but still unqualified “NO”? Who knows when I may receive a glorious acceptance? Who knows when I may be asked to rework a story or put in a few more chapters or just rewrite the whole thing because it is a total mess — but some optimistic someone somewhere thinks there is a “possibility”…?
Thus, hope keeps me going, and makes me want to be stay reachable, and of course, it is hope that takes a beating through the year. Gets me down in the dumps, up on cloud nine, sometimes full of resolve, sometimes on the verge of “losing it” and giving up.
Uh-oh, maybe those life coaches are right.
It’s time to switch off and get away from it all!
Cheryl Rao is a journalist based in India.