The only reason why I enjoyed driving back home today, despite the over-time at work, was the empty roads. Since as far as my memory goes, I have liked empty, silent lanes. I have been avoiding crowded main roads for silent, hidden ones. The lane that I took from my bus-stop till back-gate of the colony at Bombay, was lonely save a temple, a residential building, a dump yard and a truck parking area haunted by truck drivers. Despite the risk of being attacked, I did that. Have been doing that till today. I wonder why. Never really pondered on this trait. Is that I don’t want to be around people? Do I enjoy the quiet? Do I want to avoid catching everyone’s attention?
Maybe one or all of these.
Some years back when I started staying with roommates, after living alone for a long phase, I did enjoy having them around me but was always relieved whenever I got few moments or hours of loneliness at home. This is an odd trait for someone who loves to talk to friends whole day. Someone who loves sharing every little thing with all her friends. Someone who is depressed and dull because her Blackberry is misbehaving since the last few days and hence, is unable to connect with her friends.
I guess, there is a loner in every extrovert. A thinker in every chatterbox. A dreamer in every party animal.
Things have changed. I have become much more social and outgoing now, a trait that had somehow got hidden during my years in Bombay and Aurangabad. Those were the days I was forced to embrace loneliness and became a self proclaimed loner. Still, some of those characteristics have refused to leave me. I still shop on Sunday mornings when the malls or stores have just opened and no one has come in to shop. I do not go to restaurants on Sunday or Saturday nights.
I had got a big jolt when I was thrown into an unknown, seemingly hostile atmosphere in Bombay (where I went for graduation). After being surrounded by a group of fun loving, loving friends, it was difficult to accept hostility – accept the fact that not all people are trustworthy, honest and open. I slowly withdrew into seclusion. And started loving it. Only on rare times did I let down my guard and allow people to come into my laid down boundaries. Those people whom I trusted and still do. Of course, too much of anything is bad and soon the loneliness started biting me. But well, things changed for the better (and I hope that stage of seclusion never comes back).
That jolt taught me a huge lesson in life – loving solitude. For a person who loved to chatter all the time and who could chatter to anyone anytime, loneliness was unbearable. But it did teach me a lot. I understood myself better. I developed and ripened my creative hobbies and passions – things I could do alone. I wrote. I painted. I stitched. I created. I developed a bond with my little cousin – a bond that is ten times stronger today.
Some solitude is good. It is needed in our daily lives. Me-time. All of us need some me-time every day. To retrospect, observe, learn and dream (I am an ardent day-dreamer but let’s not dwell on it!). People we love, we depend on – friends, partner, family – won’t always be available. The only person who will always stand by you is you yourself. And so, love yourself. Love being with you.