15 Aug 2011

Life Within The Four Walls

This post has been published by me as a part of the Blog-a-Ton 23; the twenty-third edition of the online marathon of Bloggers; where we decide and we write. The theme for this month is FREE. To be part of the next edition, visit and start following Blog-a-Ton

Your whole life can be packed in a single room. Within those four walls you can measure expanse of your knowledge, and within those few meters between floor and ceiling, depth in your understanding can be gauged. It is nothing less than incarceration, an imposed limit on your physical space to allow you to wander more freely within your mental space. Even I went through this stage when I decided, like many other brave souls before me, to sit for the civil services examinations.

Immersed in studies within the three dimensions of my room, I soon became oblivious to the fourth dimension of time. The chirping of birds followed by sound of gong emanating from a neighboring boarding school used to intimate me that it is dawn and I should be going to sleep.

My day started with the shouts of my mother followed by incessant thumping on the door to wake me up. The poor creaking door had to go through this ordeal everyday till I finally got up and unlatched it.

In those days, I preferred to stay in my room with innumerable inanimate things accompanying me. The only live things were the lizards on the wall and my reflection in the long mirror on the right corner of the room.

I was envious of the lizards because they could traverse more dimensions within the room. For them the room was infinity, an end in itself, but for me it was just a means to an elusive end.

The 6 by 6-foot bed felt like a mother’s lap since the day it got a new pair of mattresses. They were expensive but were needed to cure the constant pain in my back. Despite many rebukes from my father, I continued lying on the bed to study, while the uncomfortable chair that accompanied the study table stood vacant and listless.

I was very fond of the study table which took up most of the space opposite my bed. It had retained its woody smell despite thick coats of varnish and was the only link to nature in this lifeless room. Though seldom used to study, the books with their different-colored bindings decked on the two shelves of the table, were a constant reminder and motivation to keep studying.

The night lamp on the side table became an innocent accomplice in my contemplations. As my thoughts meandered through the unknown reaches of my consciousness, I kept switching it on and off subconsciously. Every other month its bulb had to be replaced, tormented by my thoughts and actions.

On the far left corner of the room, by the curtained windows, stood my personal computer with all its paraphernalia. The dark monitor of the computer always stared at me with expectant eyes, which were only a reflection of my own eyes, waiting to be switched on. But it had already been replaced by my new laptop which lay regally on one side of my bed. The computer reminded me of those days when gadgets were much larger and the life was much simpler.

My mother had the nagging habit of opening the curtains whenever she got a chance. I somehow felt more secure in the darkness and dampness of the room. The sunlight that came through the window seemed to me as an unnecessary intrusion into my own space. The pale-looking curtains became focal point of this unspoken jostle between me and my mother as we tried to outdo each other every day.

Two years had passed in this room when the result of my second attempt came. Keeping the laptop aside, I looked up at the ceiling with moist eyes.

The worn-out fan was revolving as usual, emitting the ugly noises. There was certain movement in it but there was no displacement.

Then my eyes moved towards far corner of the wall where it met the ceiling. A trapped moth was struggling to get free from the cobwebs that had formed there.

The following day, I took a broom and removed the cobwebs from there.

The following day, I opened the curtains to let the slanting rays onto my bed freely.

The following day, I unlatched the windows to allow fresh air into the deoxygenated corners of the room.

The following day, I decided to let go my ambition and venture out to find some work.

Image Courtesy:
My camera (clicked in November 2007)

The fellow Blog-a-Tonics who took part in this Blog-a-Ton and links to their respective posts can be checked here. To be part of the next edition, visit and start following Blog-a-Ton.


aativas said...

Finally Free.. that is good indeed!

Someone is Special said...

Let to your ambitions? It is a good decision because at the end of the day we need a job but at the same time try as many times as possible to achieve your ambition.. Good luck for Blog-a-Ton. Free... are we?

Someone is Special

Anonymous said...

To me, chasing an ambition sets you free. The excitement, novelty and challenges it poses on its journey is exhilirating. It allows to live passionately in every moment of chasing those ambition. It doesn't matter whether one achieve or not, it's the journey which sets you free. Vipul, I'm sure you must have felt free in your spirits in those two years even though you were trapped in your deoxygenated dark room. I like your description of room and the simile you have used "moth trapped in the cobwebs". Excellent post !!

Pri said...

sigh!! reminded me of my med school days...
Your post reflects your dedication towards your ambition in life and sweet is the freedom indeed, that comes with fruit of success.

very well written! :)

you can read my entry for BAT-23 here...


CRD said...

Hey...you study lying on the bed? Me too :P And yeah...not just my dad, but my mom too rebuked me for the heavenly posture. I got some doze about spondilitis or something like that.

All the best for the contest. :)

Here's my entry
Them Slaves


T F Carthick said...

Welcome back to Blog-a-ton, Marshall. Feels funny welcoming you to your own site. Nice post. Could relate closely with it. My IIT JEE preparation times were very much like your civil services preparations. Except that no cimputers those days. Otherwise it was all the same.

You can check out my entry here In search of freedom

aludarm ;) said...

very nice anecdote..short,sweet and crisp...:)

Sadiya Merchant said...

aww. i feel really bad dat u had to let go of ur ambition :(
in fact i wrote d entrance exm too bt dat was jus cos my frn pushed me into it. n it really aint a cakewalk dats fr sure!
nw i find it ironic dat sumthin i took so lightly cud mean so much to sum1 els.

ur version of free was more d compromise, n less d feel gud kind. or maybe its jus me. uhh nt sure! :-)

Vikram Pyati said...

I can totally relate to this. From my own experience I can tell that on the one hand letting the ambition go can be a liberating experience, but on the other, it can really dent your confidence.
But I guess that's where the attitude and "ability to bounce back" matters.

A very good read !!!

D2 said...

Nice to have you back, Marshall. I could totally relate to this from my own IIT-JEE preparation days. Of course, I was never as hard on myself as you seemed to be.
But yeah, life in a room can be quite terrible. Excellent read. Loved the detail that you put in so meticulously.

Aashish Sood said...

very nice narrative and a good attempt to get out of the rut of self imposed inhibitions...


Do check out my entry at Free? To do what exactly?

Wandering Thoughts

Brijender Singh said...

Kya baat hai Marshallji !

Aapne Bhartiya Prashasnik Seva ka imtehaan diya hai?
Yeh to bahut achchi baat hai, par afsos bas itna hai ki aapne azaadi kuch jaldi maang li nahin to aap zaroor utteern hotey.

Aap itne samay ke baad fir se likh rahein hain, padh kar achcha laga.
Asha hai ke yeh guftagu aur chalegi,jab aap hamare jaise tuchch praneeyon ke liye kuch samay nikaal payenge.

Abhi ke liye ijaazat deejiye
Seva mein,
Aapke aabhaari

Ketan said...

Well written...

Are you trying to study again...

nidhi said...

well could relate it to my IIT-JEE preparations..but whenever i used to have time, i used to play and roam around ....loved it...nice to see you are free :)...very well written..
good luck for BAT

the critics said...

The following day, I decided to let go my ambition and venture out to find some work.

that is really sad:(

many here wud have experienced what you have written there, well me i am still not in the verge of let go off my ambition ...hope the d day never comes...loved the post enjoyed reading it.....

here is mine
The search for eternal freedom – A Dragonfly’s curse

Miss D said...

Now that I would call the true taste of freedom!
That freedom that you yourself let into yourself, that freedom when there is no bondage of responsibility and duty.

I loved the detailed imagery.

Unknown said...

No doubts many of us have been through this phase, I can recall the time when I was preparing for IIT-JEE when I thought working in solitude would enhance my focus and there would be less divergence. Hehe, glad that you are free now.
Here is my entry for BAT: What being Free meant for her

Vipul Grover said...

@Savitaji.. yup, as they say, what happens, happens 4 good :)

@Saravana.. But sometimes the will succumbs and beyond tht evry attempt trns futile.. its gud 2 step back at the right time :)

@Binzy.. Well, i cant say tht those two years got wasted.. tht journey definitely taught me a lot.. thnx 4 appreciating the post :)

@Pri.. True, in my case fruit of success just eluded me.. nevertheless, freedom was sweet in the end :)

Vipul Grover said...

@CRD.. i js didnt gt the doze bt i blive i actually got spondilitis or sum lesser cousin of it :p
Keep reflecting :)

@The Fool.. Good 2 c u back on my blog.. well, i blive its evryones tale bt preparation for civil services is bit more unnerving thn IIT because as age catches up, many othr tensions strt creeping in.. like ur frnd who strts working and having dinners at costly restaurants and u hv 2 chk ur pockets while accompanying him :)

@Aludram.. very nice comment..short,sweet and crisp... :p
welcum 2 my blog and keep reflecting :)

@Sadiya.. Naah, its alright.. importnt thing 4 me was to atleast giv an attempt.. unlike many othrs who js steer clear bcoz of the fear of failure.. i am happy tht i m not tht kind of failure who fail without trying :)
thnx for 'empathising'.. thts what my blog is all about :p

Vipul Grover said...

@Vikram.. u r spot on dude.. evry xpirience in life shud add 2 ur confidence and not dent it.. failure is needed in life 2 learn d real meaning of life :)

@D2.. thnx buddy.. gud 2 b back :)
maybe evn i was not tht hard on myslf as i made it look or i wud have given the remaining couple of attempts too :p
thnx 4 noticing the detailing.. this in fact was my attempt at descriptive writing :)

@Ashish.. thnx a lot.. keep reflecting :)

@BS.. Aap aaye humare blog par, khuda ki kudrat hai.. kabhi hum aapke comment ko, to kabhi aapki ganj ko dekhte hain.

Shayad aap sahi keh rahe ho ya shayad humne sahi kiya ho.. kya pata, kya hota.. zindagi to chalne ka naam hai, aur theek hi chal rahi hai :)

Vipul Grover said...

@Ketan.. No Ketan, I am not preparing for civil services now.. bt yeah, i hav joined a J-school :)

@Nidhi.. I blive i'v made it look too mundane.. evn i roamed around and played during tht time..the room symbolises not js tht physical boundary bt also the mental boundary :)
Keep visiting..

@The Critics.. Evn i hope u nvr let go ur ambition.. all the best 4 it...
thnx 4 appreciating the post :)

@Enchanta.. u r only scnd prsn who hs mentiond the detailed imagery.. i m happy i was succesful in my attempt at descriptive writing :D
In long run, it is js about shifting frm one phase of life to anothr.. frankly, cn v evr get free??

@Animesh.. welcome to this blog buddy.. i m sure, v all have been thru sch phases in life.. thnx 4 empathising.. keep reflecting :)