Routine has always held a certain attraction for him, a sure place in his view of how his ideal days should be. Ideal, however, seems perpetually elusive. So although the pattern that his current days have settled into isn’t exactly as he had planned, he is satisfied that at least it is that.

Because he has a definite liking for the language, but now more because of the location of his to-be grad school, he learns German with an increased appetite these days. He builds vocabulary, reads simple essays, listens to street conversations. Increasingly, he tries having conversations in the language, between himself and himself in his head. Manchmal kann ich es fast komplett verstehen, aber meistens ist es fuer mich einfach zu schnell. Sometimes, I can understand it almost completely, but mostly, it is simply too fast for me. It is one of his sentences that he is particularly proud of. In almost all of his mental conversations, he imagines himself telling this to the other him.

In the evening, he goes for a run. Seven rounds on the running track in his housing society. He increases it by one every week. Every time he is about to finish a round, his mind sheepishly suggests that it is enough for the day. Doggedly, he continues; completes his target. He is in his third week streak now, discounting Sundays.

Increasingly, he has allowed himself to objectively think about the relevance of such institutions as religion, marriage, money and sex. He has pseudo intellectual conversations with his friends, but they often leave him exhausted, inexplicably ever more confused. Trapped within the confines of his thoughts, he feels suffocated. He doesn’t have enough knowledge, not enough perspective to reach a satisfactory conclusion.

To view the world from angles and positions that his own mind has not yet been to, he reads. Un-voraciously, un-spectacularly, he reads nonetheless. His emotions sway according to the authors whose works he holds. Wodehouse’s rustic humour has him in splits, Murakami’s quiet cynicism fills his chest, Rushdie’s delightful metaphors satiate his literary lust, Lahiri validates his lingering omnipresent vulnerability.

When he’s not reading, he is listening to talks by long bearded spiritual gurus. Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, Sadhguru Jaggi Vasudev and Osho are in his YouTube playlist, for now. His friends often ask him this and it has occurred previously to him as well – as to why should all of them have grown beards. It’s a question of mere superficial significance, of course. What they have to say is of far greater value. Not all of it makes sense to him, but it certainly and endlessly opens newer doors for him to explore and meditate upon.

He wakes up late these days. Much too late for his liking. This fills his chest with a strong disappointment every morning when he sits in his bed just after waking up. As he stares at the long risen sun out of his bedroom window, he resolves to change the routine starting that day. Later, late in the night, when sleep eludes him and he is engaged in a book or a video, he fails to feel the same angst for change. He falls back onto the older routine.