For the last three weeks, I have been completely cut off from the world. No WiFi. No data. No network. All I had was me, my laptop (with a hard drive full of movies and shows) and the people in my hostel. But let’s forget the people and the laptop for now.
For someone so…attached (not addicted) to the Internet and the things it provides, it was quite a shock to my system. I suddenly felt a void in my life. I had so much time! I never realized how much time I spent on WhatsApp, Facebook and Instagram. I just…spent time on it. And before I knew it, it used to be bed time, or dinner time or something else came up. These three weeks, I have been acutely aware of time passing by.
I learnt to be with myself. I have always been someone who enjoyed my own company, but it was never at this level. I always had a phone and I could talk to anyone I wanted. Here, I just had my thoughts to be with for most parts of the day. It was only during meal times that I would meet other people in the hostel. Even then, I didn’t feel very comfortable (new place, new people) and I would finish eating fast and rush back.
I really began to appreciate nature. It helped that I live in a forest now, with a very rich biodiversity. There are so many insects and trees here, some I have never seen before in my life! I actually enjoyed walking up early in the morning and go out into the cool morning breeze with just the right amount of sunlight. The sky is just turning light blue, and there are very few clouds in the sky. Birds are chirping away and the air feels clean in your lungs. You don’t feel like going back to sleep after that. I was never a morning person at home (barring one phase where I would wake up at 5 am every morning) and that’s changed over here.
The most intense thing I experienced here, though, was silence. One day I was walking back to the hostel from college, and I decided to take a different route. I could tell it wasn’t used very often, because there was literally no one there and the road was a dirt road. I could smell the mud and fresh leaves all around me. But most of all, it was so damn quiet! It’s not the suffocating silence. It’s a comfortable one. You can hear your heartbeat. I could never find that level of silence in Delhi even at 3 in the morning. Here, at 12 noon, there was not a sound. It took a while to get used to it, but now, I go there every time I feel like being alone.
It’s quite unfortunate that we are not allowed to venture out late at night. But the nights are still better than most nights in a metro city. The air pollution is much less here, and s lot of stars are visible in the night sky. If the light pollution could reduce, the nights would be much, much more scintillating. Even the roads that see decent traffic in the day here gets really quite at night. Many roads don’t have street lamps. So you get to walk in the dark (carefully. There have been scorpions and snakes sighted in the recent past) and see fireflies flickering away nearby. That is probably the most beautiful thing I have seen here yet.
Now, I have been reconnected to the world. I’ve got my WiFi, a good network and people to talk to. That’s how I’m sharing this post with you. But I don’t plan to forget the last few weeks. I will still venture out alone and pretend to be off grid again, if only for a few hours, because that experience was worth it.