Last week someone asked me,
“Are you an impulsive person?”
I pulled from my stock of well-thought-out answers (there, doesn’t that already tell you what it is?) and replied that I made considered decisions, which included giving impulse some consideration.
This morning I thought about impulse. I thought of the two moments of impulse that frequently spring to my mind, at the word. Both culminated in long-term relationships; both came to disastrous ends.
But I stuck with another impulse, a newer one this time — the impulse to take a brighter view, a broader perspective. And I realised so many other things in my life have come out of impulse. Alphabet Sambar, my personal favourite thing of 2014, began on an impulse to tell the world that people who loved words needed nurturing too. My blog, the core of my existence today, began on an impulse to see my words on screen.
Many, many years ago a friend who is no longer a friend asked me to spend the next day with him. I protested that it was a Monday. He said,
“Take the day off. Call in sick and spend it with me.”
“But I’m feeling perfectly fine,” I protested.
He gawked and then with a look of mixed disgust and resignation, he said,
“Let me get this straight. You have NEVER taken a day off except for being sick?”
I shook my head. He turned away, seeming to have lost interest and faith in my ability to be human. And he told me to think about it and call him if I changed my mind. I went home.
The next morning, I awoke and got ready for work. I went to the railway station and I got into the train. Then I sat down in my usual seat when it hit me. I was the model of obedience, paying off my dues to long-forgotten childhood rules. No one noticed, nobody cared anymore. Except me and I was letting my life slip away. I got down from the train, seconds before it left and I called him. Unfortunately, he had already arranged meetings for the day.
“But,” he said, “I can be with you till lunch.”
Having followed an impulse, I decided not to let it go. I went and met him. Then on further impulse, I took a bus ride down to Borivali and surprised another friend at work(something I’d always wanted to do, but just brushed it off as too silly). She only had 20 minutes to spare in the parking lot. But I still remember the day and everything that I did. While most of the other days I spent being obedient and responsible have slid by, unimportant.
The second half of this year has given me several reminders to be impulsive. Not a single one of those impulses has gone as expected. I’ve been sick through the two ‘vacations’ I planned and took. But then again, an unplanned coffee date turned into a warm, delightful friendship that I’m still in the throes of I’m-so-lucky-to-have-met-you. And another impulsive hello at 1 a.m. turned into this-is-s0-fun-and-magical-I-don’t-want-to-ruin-it-with-a-name. And a pair of boots in a colour I usually consider dull travelled with me in my head and made me go back and buy them. I’ve only taken them off to get to bed, ever since.
I’ve spent most of December struggling to keep my head above water, metaphorically (I am a good swimmer; duh). Health has slid, spirits have been flagging, energy, motivation, it all has sunk. But today, I let go and succumbed. And life, just like water embraced me and let me float. I spent a lovely, unexpectedly sweet evening. I was even nice to the dog that lay at my feet even though it smelt of doggie and fleas. An hour ago, I said I was going to shut down my blog. I opened Medium to clear my drafts (because you know I’m compulsively, scrupulously neat that way) and I found this post, half-written. I decided to finish it. On impulse, I’ve decided to stick with impulse. I’ll stay with red lipstick.
Who knows what tomorrow will bring?