Friday, August 12, 2011

Silvassa and the Art of Doing Nothing

In the recent movie Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara, Arjun is very scared to enter the deep blue ocean as he does not know how to swim. Laila , his diving instructor helps him to come over his fear and Arjun manages to dive deep to enjoy the glimpses of underwater wonders. When his friends tease him and ask him what was his learning from the whole diving experience, Arjun says 'just inhale and exhale'....

Arjun's sarcastic yet real words made me think hard about the crazy times we all live in. Our lives are constantly oriented towards 'achievements'. As if every action that we do has to have some concrete outcome. We live our lives bordered by ideas
such as 'one should utilize every living second meaningfully and constructively' in order to be truly successful. This is almost considered as a ground rule for life and if we do not produce an 'output' then the whole act is equated as a waste of time'.

These days, we are all rats in the race. Our time is 'money' and spending time 'doing nothing' is probably considered a modern day sin. But there are also lots of people who believe that ‘ doing nothing’ is also an art.

I got a first hand experience of why 'doing nothing' . Last weekend, I visited Silvassa , a quiet capital town in the Union Territory of Dadara and Nagar Haveli, sandwiched between the states of Maharashtra and Gujrat. It was an unplanned trip by me and my husband H and an escape route from the stressful work and lifestyle.

We left Mumbai on Friday night and unlike other times where we would drive ourselves, we hired a driver. When we drove past Andheri and Goregoan through the jampacked traffic and reached to Dahisar , the official border of Mumbai , I looked back at the city and sighed with relief. I thought the next two hours would be full of fun with me and my husband sitting behind and talking till we reach our destination. But the real fun began when we crossed the Ghodbunder road and the rain gods started their weekend fun.

I had read Silvassa is just 2.5 hours away as it is around 180 k.m. from Mumbai. When we pulled over at near a Cafe , assuming that we had reached close by, people in the Cafe they told us that we are still 150 k.m. away from Silvassa. When we were on the NH 8. , hoping to reach to Silvassa quickly it started raining so heavily that we could hardly see the road before us. The visibility of the road was extremely low and at one point of time, Sunil , our driver barely managed to save our car from falling down from the bridge. To top it all up , we did not have any idea of where exactly we were. Finally, after 2 hours of maddening rains we reached the town of Silvassa and managed to find our resort.

The next morning , we both woke up to the sound of rains. As I got out of bed and stepped in the balcony, I realized that our room was overlooking the Daman Ganga river. Daman Ganga was flowing with full force with its water in shade of dark maroon from the silt and mud it had carried the entire night. Between our room and the river , there was nothing else except a small garden with tall mango and ashoka trees. We spent the next one and half days in our hotel room doing nothing significant. We sat in the balcony and looked at the rain without any purpose. We looked at the dark clouds and smelt the scent of wet trees. We skipped showers and lounged around in our home clothes…We laughed, shared our thoughts and also enjoyed silence together. We had not carried a camera to click photos, there was no rush to finish food in given time, no rush to wake up and go out for sightseeing, no compulsion to dress up, no pressure to make anyone else happy.

Now I realize how essential it is to just 'be' and not do anything for a while. Throw away your 'to do list' , books, music players , camera and cell phones. Just sit and relax. Stare at the sky, rivers, trees, people , ocean.....just do nothing more than inhale and exhale for a while and feel the change !

(image from here)


  1. Very nice Amruta...We tend to get lost in the small 'to do lists' all the time...For me its difficult to cut out from them even when holidaying...but i shall remember your post whenever i m on a vacation and try to just "BE" !