Monday, September 26, 2016

How to Enjoy Your Leisure – Loafing – Spending Perfectly Useless Time in a Perfectly Useless Manner

HOW TO ENJOY YOUR LEISURE

LOAFING 
Spending Perfectly Useless Time in a Perfectly Useless Manner 
Musings of a Veteran Loafer
By
VIKRAM KARVE 

Nostalgic Memories of a Day of Leisurely Loafing in Pune 10 years ago (circa 2006)

HOW TO ENJOY YOUR LEISURE

Many people do not know how to enjoy their leisure. 

In fact  in the so-called busy world of today  many persons do not have any genuine leisure.

I love leisure. 

Throughout my life  as a student  during my working days – and now – after retirement  I always made sure that I had plenty of leisure. 

In fact  I believe in having leisure every day.

short vacation every day – is better than a long holiday once a year.

There are many ways of enjoying your leisure  indoors and outdoors.

Indoors  you can read  watch TV  lie down and daydream  meditate  surf the internet  write  blog  play indoor games like cards, chess and scrabble – you can do so many things.

Outdoors  one of the best ways of enjoying your leisure is LOAFING.

I love to loaf – to loaf around.

I have loafed throughout my life  wherever I lived. 

I try to loaf every day. 

And – whenever I get a chance  I go on super-long loafs – like the loaf in Pune I had 10 years ago – that I am going to tell you about in this story.

I had my best moments of loafing in Mumbai  where I spent the best years of my life. 

Delhi, Kolkata and Bangalore are wonderful places for loafing too.

Now  I enjoy loafing in Pune. 

I particularly remember a thoroughly enjoyable day of loafing in Pune – on a lovely winter day in December 2006 (around 10 years ago) – when I used to live in a back-of-beyond place across the Mula River called Aundh Camp (aka Sangvi). 

I enjoyed that loaf so much  that  I wrote about it – and posted the story on my blogs – in order to record my travelogue for the benefit of posterity. 

So  Dear Reader  once again  here are my nostalgic memories of that carefree day of loafing in Pune. 

Please relax and read this leisurely. 

And – do remember – this happened 10 years ago – in 2006 – but not much seems to have changed in Pune. 

LOAFING

Please tell me 
 Dear Reader: 

What is the definition of LOAFING...?

Idling away your time on useless things...? 

Or – does Loafing mean Aimless Loitering...? 

Loitering! 

Sounds a bit derogatory, isn't it...? 

Okay let’s say it is aimless wandering – Perfectly useless time spent in a perfectly useless manner...!

Yes.

That’s how I would like to define the the term loafing.

Loafing is spending perfectly useless time in a perfectly useless manner.
                   
Yes  that is the meaning of loafing.


FOOD-WALKING

And what 
 My Dear Reader  is food-walking...?

Loitering 
 or rather walking  in search of good food. 

Loitering with an aim  loitering in search of good food – not so useless loitering!

That is what I did once – long back – on a wonderful winter day.  

I loafed in Pune 
 I loafed around.

I spent a perfectly useless day in a perfectly useless manner – “loafing
 in Pune. 

I still have fond nostalgic memories of that glorious day. 

Let me tell you about it. 
 

A GLORIOUS DAY

It’s a beautiful morning. 

I try to furtively slip out of my house unnoticed. 

But – I am stopped in my tracks by my wife's piercing voice: "Where are you going...?"

"I don’t know...?" I answer truthfully.

This adroit answer probably precludes the next question she is about to ask me: "What time are you coming back...?" for she knows I will again truthfully answer: "I don’t know".

It is true – I really don’t know where I am going – and I have no idea when I am going to come back.

"Take the mobile phone with you..." she shouts.

But – I pretend not to hear – and I make myself scarce and disappear as fast as possible.

When I loaf – I do not carry my mobile phone.

I do not want the manacles of technology to ruin my day. 
 
Dear Fellow Loafer: If you want to truly enjoy a good loaf 
– beware of the technology trap.
 
It's a bright winter day. 

The morning sun is comforting. 

I feel good.

Flush with a sense of carefree irresponsibility  I walk with a spring in my step. 

Yes 
 I am going to enjoy my leisure.  


FREEDOM 

I walk out my house onto the main road.

Should I turn left...? 

Should I turn right...? 

Should I cross the road and go straight ahead...? 

I am free. 

I am free to go wherever I desire. 

I am free to enjoy my day as I want.

Yes  I have true freedom – I have the freedom to travel at my sweet will  with no destination to reach  no task to complete  no deadlines to meet...

Freedom to loaf. 

Aimlessly.

Timelessly.

Pure Leisure.  

Freedom to spend a perfectly useless day in a perfectly useless manner. 

I see a bus.

I stop the bus 
 and – I hop in. 

"Where do you want to go...?" the bus conductor asks me.

"Where does this bus go...?" I ask him.

"This bus goes to Pune Railway Station..." the bus conductor says, with a curious look. 

"Okay  one ticket to Pune Railway Station..." I say, holding out a 10 Rupee Note.

The conductor gives me an amused look.

He hands me a ticket and a rupee coin. 

I sit down on a vacant window-seat. 

I think interesting thoughts and I enjoy the view through the window. 

On these carefree wanderlust trips of mine I prefer travelling by bus  and  of course  I love to walk on foot. 

Driving my car on the terrible potholed, crowded and chaotic roads in the terrible traffic of Pune makes me go crazy and fills me with stress.

And  at my age  I dare not venture out too far on my scooter  lest I land up with broken bones in hospital – or  worse  lifeless in the Vaikunth or Kailas crematoriums!

So that's what I sometimes do on these glorious trips of mine.

Just jump into the first bus that comes along – and let the bus take you wherever it goes. 

Just go where life leads you.

Try it – it is fun. 

Last time 
– I landed up in the heart of Pune – near Shaniwar Wada.  

In Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai, Bangalore, Hyderabad and Delhi 
 loafing is even more exciting  as there are so many more bus routes and travel choices  trains, buses, trams, walks  and – you can serendipitously explore so many new and exotic places you would not dream of going to in normal course.

The bus reaches the Pune Railway Station.

It’s been a smooth ride.  


GOING NOWHERE 

I get down from the bus.

I admire the magnificent heritage stone building of Pune Railway Station.

I stand in the porch and I look inside the railway station.

Trains, crowds, announcements, horns, cacophony, and chaos – I love the “railway” atmosphere. 

On impulse  I enter the railway station – and I stroll on the platform  panning my gaze all over – and  stopping once in a while to feast my eyes on any attractive object that arrests my attention.

"Want a seat...?" a porter asks.

"No..." I say.

"Where are you going...?" he persists.

"Nowhere..." I say.

"Waiting for someone...?" he asks, probably in anticipation of porterage.

"No..." I say.

The porter stares at me for a moment – and then  he walks off with a look of perplexed dejection. 
 
I look around the railway platform.
 
Everyone is waiting to go somewhere  or waiting for someone.

I am waiting to go nowhere  and – I am waiting for nobody.

So I walk out of the station and head for Shiv Kailash Milk Bar  bang opposite Pune Railway Station – on the other side of the road.

If you arrive at Pune by train on a hot morning 
 never make the blunder of heading for the auto rickshaw stand. 

You will get all stressed up waiting in the never-ending queue and haggling with the rickshawallas trying to fleece you and con you.  
 
Just cross the road to Shiv Kailash Milk Bar  sit under the shade on one of the stainless steel stools placed on the pavement  and – invigorate yourself with a tall glass of cool refreshing Lassi (which is guaranteed to banish the depleting effects of the tiresome train journey).

Then  tell the waiter to hail a rickshaw from the many rickshaws hanging around.

They will know that you are a regular...! 

This is what I have been doing for so many years 
 during my numerous homecomings  ever since the days when Pune was called Poona – and when the Deccan Queen was the best way to travel from Mumbai to Pune.


ANONYMITY

Shiv Kailash serves the best Lassi in Pune.

It’s almost as good as the one at Pehelwan at the end on Lanka near BHU in Varanasi.

The Lassi freshly made in front of you 
– topped off with a generous dollop of soft fresh cream.

The sumptuous fulfilling soothing Lassi is thick, lip-smacking, nourishing 
 and gives me a heavenly feeling. 

I sip the Lassi slowly 
 relishing every mouthful  almost eating the delectable fluid after letting it perambulate on my tongue  as I watch the world go about its business outside. 

People come in a jiffy 
 gulp their glasses of Lassi down the hatch in a hurry  and they rush away.

But I am in no hurry  so  I blissfully savour each and every drop of the delicious creamy Lassi.

I walk leisurely towards Pune Camp. 

I walk past Mira College, GPO, Zero Milestone, Police Headquarters, Nehru Memorial Hall  where I cross the Moledina Road – admiring the imposing Lal Deval Synagogue  and then – I turn left  and I walk past the place where the imperial Dorabjee Store Building used to be once upon a time.

Now 
– there is a huge shopping complex – and a glitzy mall opposite.

I reminisce.

West End Cinema 
– with its soda fountain and cane chairs  New Empire Cinema  all the adorable landmarks are long since gone.

Now there are Malls and modern places like Landmark. 

(This story was written 10 years ago in the year 2006 when Landmark Bookstore existed at the same place where Dorabjee Departmental Store exists today)

Landmark – you know it don’t you...?  

Landmark is Pune’s swanky new music-cum-book store.

Like Crossword – giving competition to the grand old Manney’s, International, Popular, TBS and the bookshops at Appa Balwant Chowk. 

(Manney’s Bookstore has since closed down – and – Landmark has shut shop too – after relocating for a few years across the road to the Mall).

I walk into Landmark.

The place is swarming with chic salesgirls and sales-boys.

No one pays any attention to me. 

Maybe – I blend well with the surroundings. 

I realize the tremendous advantages of obscurity and the benefits of anonymity
 
Had I been a successful person  rich and famous  or someone with a striking personality  people would notice me – and  I doubt I would have been able to enjoy myself with such carefree abandon. 

Only 
non-achievers like me can truly enjoy a life of carefree irresponsibility – and savour the unadulterated joys of genuine leisure. 

I roam around the ground floor music section. 

There are no music stations where you can listen to music  like they have in Rhythm House at Kalaghoda  and Planet-M opposite VT (CST) – in Mumbai.

So – I go the first floor bookstore. 

The bookstore is spacious, neatly laid-out and looks impressive. 


BROWSING

The books are arranged subject-wise  clearly visible from anywhere. 

There are cushioned stools to sit and browse – and also two long sofas below the huge tinted windows towards the far side. 

I start from the left side.

Food, Philosophy, Self-Help, Travel, Coffee Table, Erotica, Classics, Fiction, Computers, Children, Indian Writing 
– there are books on every topic you can think of.  

The tranquil ambiance is so soothing and conducive 
 that I browse to my hearts content  loosing myself into that wonderful state of timelessness I experience sometimes when I am totally immersed into doing something I love.

By the time I leave Landmark 
 cerebrally satiated  it is almost 3 in the afternoon  yes – it is 3 PM – and – I am hungry.

After intellectual satiation  I am now in desperate need of gastronomic satiation.

So 
 I walk past Manney’s and West End and turn right on Main Street  cross Aurora Towers  turn right  walk past ABN Amro Bank  and then – I turn left on Dastur Meher Road – and I walk leisurely towards Sarbatwala Chowk – till I reach Dorabjee and Sons Restaurant.


A LEISURELY MEAL

I dive in through the low entrance of Dorabjee’s and look around.

The eatery is crowded 
 with noisy families bashing on regardless – greedily devouring the heaps food before them.

The mouth-watering aroma 
 and the sight of the appetizing food  creates in me such ravenous pangs of hunger – that I quickly sit on the only vacant table  and I order a Mutton Biryani – the signature dish of Dorabjee.

As is the hallmark of authentic speciality cuisine restaurants 
– the menu is select – just a few choice dishes a single page.

There is Sali, Curry, Masala and Biryani in Mutton and Chicken 
 Kheema, Brain, Eggs  and combinations thereof  cutlets in gravy  and a few Veg dishes  for appearance sake.

On Sundays 
 you can have Dhansak  maybe on your way to the races in the season. 
 
Pune may have changed – but heritage institutions like Dorabjee still preserve the flavour of yesteryear Pune.

I spoon some Biryani onto my tongue 
 seal my lips, close my eyes, turn my senses inwards with full consciousness – to imbibe and savour the unique medley of juices released by the succulent piece of mutton  the bitterish-sweet taste of the slightly burnt crisp fried onions  and the spicy flavoursome rice.

It is superlative delicious authentic cuisine at its best.

Dorabjee serves the best heritage mutton biryani in Pune – no doubt about it. 

Yes  Blue Nile and Good Luck serve good heritage Biryani too.

The fervent atmosphere of the place and exquisite quality of the food is such that one eats enthusiastically 
 with wholehearted zest and gusto  not apologetically and self-consciously  as one tends to do  trying to be prim and proper  in highfalutin fine dining restaurants.  

At Dorabjee 
 you can enjoy every morsel of your food with passionate ardour.
 
And  as I reach blissful gastronomic satiety  I realize that a well-filled stomach radiates a kind of spiritual happiness.


APPETITE FOR A STROLL

The ideal way to end this rich spicy repast 
– is to cool it off with a cold soothing Falooda. 

Falooda is to Biryani 
– what Mastani is to Mutton Kolhapuri.

So 
– I walk down Sachapir Street – I cross Main Street (MG Road)  and I head for Badshah on East Street – to down a deliciously sweet and chilled Rose flavored Royal Falooda.  

Then 
– I stroll down East Street to Kayani  to pick up some Shrewsbury Biscuits and Chocolate Walnut Cake – and – not to forget the inimitable Kayani Bakery Wine Biscuits and Cheese Papdi.

I stand outside Kayani 
 wondering what to do.

Maybe 
– I can walk down to Manney’s and browse books some more.

If Landmark has got the ambiance 
 Manney’s got the books... 

And then 
– maybe I can just loiter down Main Street admiring pretty looking things  till I am tired and hungry.  

Maybe 
 I will have some veg sandwiches, a chicken roll and cold coffee at Marzorin. 

Or – a macaroon at Pasteurs next door.  

Why not a Burger at Burger King 
 the original burger place of Pune  or a Chopsuey at East End  at the end of East Street...?  

Maybe Kathi Rolls at Olympia 
 Chicken Masala at George  Chana Bhatura at Monafood  Sev Barfi at Bhavnagri  Wafers at Budhani  or Sizzlers at The Place next to Manneys  or one more Biryani at Blue Nile near the GPO.  

The possibilities are endless...

Or 
– should I see the movie at Victory Cinema opposite  or at West End nearby...? 

Maybe I'll jump into the first bus I see 
 and let it take me wherever it goes.

How about going for a long walk on Laxmi Road into the heart of town...?  

Or 
– an idyll beside the river in Bund Garden  or Saras Baug  or Sambhaji Park...?  

Or maybe 
 I will just head home. 

Oh 
 yes indeed  the possibilities are truly endless!  

I am free to do whatever I choose to do... 

I can loaf to my heart's content... 

I can continue to spend a perfectly useless day in a perfectly useless manner...
 
And – I can relish moments of perfect leisure.

You can take my word for it 
– Dear Reader.  

There is nothing you will enjoy more than loafing. 

There is no pleasure higher than loafing.

It is only when you cease to do the things you have to do  and you do the things you like to do  and you want to do  that you achieve the highest value of your time.


FEAST OF LIFE

The freedom to enjoy life is the ultimate reward.  

Why should you defer happiness 
– waiting for some elusive abstract rewards...?  

What reward could be greater than a life enjoyed as it is lived...?
 
If you do not find happiness as you are, where you are, here and now 
 you will never find it. 

There is always plenty in life right now to enjoy for one who is determined to enjoy it.  

The feast of life is before you.  

Do you have the appetite to enjoy the feast of life...?

So 
– my Dear Friend – You must discover the Art of Loafing”  and you will redeem the art of living from the business of living.

The Art of Travelling, The Art of Happiness, The Art of Eating, The Art of Living, The Art of Loafing, The Art of Leisure 
 all inextricably intertwined  aren’t they...? 

To recap:

“It is only when you cease to do the things you have to do – and you do the things you like to do and you want to do – that you achieve the highest value of your time”

Eureka 
 Epiphany  I’ve got it:

The Aim of Loafing is to achieve the Highest Value of your Time 


EPILOGUE 

Let me end with a quote from the renowned Philosopher Lin Yutang on The Importance of Loafing: 

“The tempo of modern industrial life forbids idling. But worse than that, it imposes upon us a different conception of time as measured by the clock, and eventually turns the human being into a clock himself. Every American adult is arranging his time on the pattern of the schoolboy -- three o'clock for this, five o'clock for that, six-thirty for change of dress; six-fifty for entering the taxi and seven o'clock for emerging into a hotel room. It just makes life not worth living.”

~ Lin Yutang on “The Importance of Loafing”


Dear Reader: 

Do you loaf...? 

Yes...? 

Do tell us about your Loafing experiences –  especially your favourite and memorable Loafs. 

VIKRAM KARVE
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Disclaimer:
1. This story is a spoof, satire, pure fiction, just for fun and humor, no offence is meant to anyone, so take it with a pinch of salt and have a laugh.
2. All stories in this blog are a work of fiction. Events, Places, Settings and Incidents narrated in the stories are a figment of my imagination. The characters do not exist and are purely imaginary. Any resemblance to persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.

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