Notes From The Overworld

A couple of days ago, I completed a year at my job. Unremarkable, perhaps, but for two facts taken in tandem – I am now 29 years old, and this is my first real job. Oh sure, I have been paid a stipend for teaching in grad school, I washed dishes in a cafeteria for minimum wage, taught kids at summer camp, even made a few bucks my freshman year fixing people’s computers. And I got myself through my last summer in the United States by playing poker (nothing on the level of some on this site, though). But this is my first salaried-with-benefits, qualification-based, full-time job. I started it a month after I moved back to India, which makes a month ago the anniversary of my return, and it’s an occasion. 

Or is it? I never thought that I wouldn’t get through a year. Perhaps it more a celebration of staying in one place for a year than having a job, perhaps the occasion is the validation of my commitment. But I love my job, it pays me handsomely, I get two-day weekends (very rare in India). I would have been a fool to leave. 

What, then, makes it something I (or people around me) need to make a note of? Anniversaries are nice, whatever the reason, because they give us another mark on the life-chart I am sure we all keep; we collect dates and durations as, perhaps arbitrary, indications of progress. Still, I don’t think that’s what it is. I get the feeling that it is linked to my larger, trans-continental, move; it is symbolic of a level of “success” in satisfyingly transitioning not only from one culture to another but also from debauched student to proper adult. And as soon as I type that, I laugh out loud. 

Most of my money has gone toward a tricked-out PC, 50-odd DVDS (The Criterion Brazil kicks some serious ass), 20-odd video games (Oblivion kicks some serious ass), eating out, beer, assorted electronics, and around 300 cheap books (I’m talking 90 per cent off list price). I’m not boasting – I just think, for me, that’s the whole point of having a job: being completely immersed in what I want and being able to get it. I’m swimming in materialism, indulging my desires, and dying of glee. 

Oh I believe in what I do; I believe in education, publishing, editorial responsibility and all that. But at the end of the day, I am yet to move completely into the realm of “responsibility” as seen by the world I live in – being unmarried, kid-less, mortgage-free allows me to extend my student sensibilities and aesthetics into a sphere where I can always get the things I want. 

Shameful? Definitely. Perhaps one day soon this will change. For now, I am happy with the thought that what society (specially Indian society) demarcates as desirable and what satisfies my hedonism can, actually, be reconciled with such little effort. 

Now if only this fucking job would give me the time to play Oblivion.

10 Responses to Notes From The Overworld

  1. anirban says:

    Heck! I never really saw things that way. A job is something that you get paid for I’m so deep into materialism I’m not sure there is anything to life other than pirated clint eastwood dvds and a cool comic book collection.

    ‘sides… you gotta play GUN every now and then…

  2. krystal says:

    Good to read this.

    And live it while you can. Life is too short, and oft-times meaningless, to do much else then revel in it.

  3. Kris says:

    2-day weekends are RARE in India? Workers of India, unite! And demand a weekend. Cause there’s no such thing as a 1-day weekend. That’s just a day off.

    Krystal had some Nietzsche-o’s for breakfast this morning! I mean, not that life isn’t meaningless, maybe, or short, but, you know . . . well, I’m gonna go and cry for a while now.

    Eat, drink, and play Oblivion, for tomorrow you may have a job (which really IS just something you get paid for) that gives you a half-weekend, or none at all.

  4. dbay says:

    Thank you, unions, for the 2 day-weekend in the U.S. It used to be much much worse. But that doesn’t prevent me from calling the 2-day weekend one of the world’s most uncivilized approaches to leisure. Three days should be the minimum. Five frickin’ days in a row every week for the rest of your life until you keel over and try to enjoy life on the $200 a month your 60 years of social security taxes have brought you for retirement. Oh wait, never mind, social security will be canceled by then.

    Who needs Nietzsche-o’s? (Very funny though, Nietzsche-o’s.) All so uncivilized. Don’t even get me started on the 8 to 5 shit.

    Maybe it’s all the rain lately?

    Aakaash, congrats on your year at your cool job that you love!

  5. Aakaash says:

    Doesn’t someone here or a person someone here knows play video games for a living? Or is that just the delirium setting in that makes me think that?

  6. Kris says:

    Nietzsche-o’s are from an old SNL skit, old like I was 14. Not OLD old when John Belushi was alive and Dan Akyroyd was funny. Old like when Dana Carvey did President George the First impressions and some of us were in high school.

    3-day weekends should DEFINITELY be the minimum. In my current job, I work Fridays from home, which isn’t exactly the same as a day off (well, sometimes it is) but just typing on your kitchen table instead of in your cubicle, I’m convinced, adds years to your life.

    What am I going to do if I change jobs where I (god forbid) go into the office on Fridays? I shudder to think. I am irretrievably spoiled now.

  7. krystal says:

    Yeah, but I tried Kierkegaard-e-Os and they weren’t very good.

    Kris, that is when SNL WAS still good. What happened there?

    Don’t get me started on the 8-5, M-F. Perhaps that’s why I seem so dismal in my outlook. I’m that rat on the wheel. Though, lately, I’ve found some reprieve by getting involved in Project Land of The Living. A co-worker and I are trying to get started a documentary on the homeless in Jackson. I’m not exactly with her on the religious aesthetics that she’s injecting into it, but I guess I’m quite fond of situation ethics after all. The end result (years down the road) is meant to be a Self Sufficency Center – and ends justify means most times out of ten.

  8. Kris says:

    Yeah, Kierkegaard-e-O\’s are just too sugary. I think I outgrew them.

    Wow. That is amzingly cool, Krystal, that you might start a documentary of the homeless in Jackson. It would be great to have a meaningful job, but for a lot of people I\’m thinking, me included, the meaning has to come from outside. Creating something that helps other people definitely counts. And if it\’s art, too . . . well, then you\’re just being greedy.

    Keep us updated. And remember, in a documentary, you can always edit out the Christianity later.

  9. Aakaash says:

    Krystal!! That sounds awesome. I am very very jealous and happy at the same time. I have often edited Kristianity out of stuff, I am sure you will have no problems with that. Please keep us updated. Is there anyway to upload video to this site? What’s the bandwith situation like? How exactly does YouTube work?

  10. klamm says:

    Well, I should say that I have really no creative control over this thing. I’m acting in an administrative way in the process – personal assistant kind of stuff. Though I wish it were otherwise. The whole project is in it’s infancy – just getting with the videographers for a budget proposal. Then we have to get funding. I will go on a scripted interview soon to add to the treatment that we will give with the business proposal. It will be with a Vietnamese man who has had his tongue cut out. Nobody knows why or how or why and how he ended up homeless in Jackson, MS.

    I will definitely keep you all posted. There will be a religious slant, and that is okay. Every entity in the area dedicated to the homeless issue is a ministry endeavor, so there is no evading it. And the lady I’m helping sees this as her calling from God. She needs my help because she’s not very good at seeing the details – I happen to do it that for a living. I contribute that to the project.

    But I believe in the work. We’ll see what happens.

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