Experience of leisure
I was looking forward to this break from work. I had a lot of plans in terms of catching up on pending chores, going out as a family to the outdoors and spending time in nature.
Just the day before my leave plan I was chatting over the phone with my friend when a small grass particle fell into my eyes. I cleaned my eyes and rubbed them, but the discomfort didn’t go away. The next day I visited an ophthalmologist promptly who gave me a detailed vision of how the 30clock side of my pupil has gotten erosion because of either grass or rubbing and how I would need to be with an eye patch for a minimum of 2 days.
I came back home feeling disheartened that all my plans went for a toss and here I was, can’t even see properly and couldn’t do anything around the house much. This exhaustion took over me for the next couple of days. I felt useless, restless for not being able to get my break and just being restricted to the bed and basic activities. Somewhere by the end of the 2nd day I started realizing that I was experiencing the distress due to the ableist ideas of leisure and holiday and how much it was taking away my own experience of that moment.
I sat down with myself wondering how ableist, normative ideas around work, leisure, relationships, gender, love and success are marginalizing so many people’s individual experiences. My heart ached as I resonated with a lot of my clients who struggle every day with the normative ideas around these themes and how it becomes impossible to be even present to their own experiences when the discourse is so heavily present around them.
As a resistance I started connecting back to my experience of being at home quietly in a mildly lighted room. I called back the little joy that I felt when my partner made my tea, when my child and I bonded over silly guessing games and how I thoroughly enjoyed quietly lying on my bed listening to the rant of father & son and not having to interfere in any way. This sure was some leisure. I recollected the ‘Ek Tinka hein bahut tere liye’ poem from my childhood days where the poet says that just a straw of grass was all that was required to ground him. Now I am ready to open my eyes to light. I am opening my eyes with a new perspective and a hope to celebrate the experiences of individuals which are otherwise oppressed by the dominant discourses.
-By Sridevi Kakuturi