Monday, 25 June 2012

Notebooks & I

I carry a notebook around. I am also viscerally attached to my laptop of course, and do lots of stuff on it all the time but my favourite thing to do is carry a physical notebook with pages, around. One of my office shelves is filled with my grad school notebooks, still. I used to use the long spiral bound ones with the school logo embossed on it. Lovely, they were.

The stuff inside doesn't make sense any more but I am loathe to throw them out. I am more ready to throw out the several shelves of research article print-outs I have in the office. Yes, this was a time when one had to go to the library, pull out thick volumes, take them down to the photocopy place, fight with the machine, and so forth. Yes, we had heard of .pdfs, but just about.

In recent times I like the several-subject notebooks. I haphazardly allot sections to different things. My own doodlings and thoughts and analysis for new research ideas go in one section. Student's work discussions go in another. The rest have various projects and so forth. I also have a completely dedicated notebook for the course I teach, of course.

The course notebook usually gets filled to the brim and, there are spill overs. I hate when I run out of pages just before the final or something. So I have to take care to allot a book with enough pages, depending on the course. And no, I don't use last year's notebook too much even if I teach the same course (so sue me).

Currently, since there is no teaching, I don't have a course notebook in my hand. My fat research notebook I put away over the weekend, into my bag. I allotted a smaller, handier notebook for current purposes. Which involve the making of lists. And more lists. This time I chose interesting ways to title each list, unlike the last time. "Absolutely critical things I have to do" "Things that the movers are likely to lose" "Precious things" (the last includes a bite-sized bottle of smirnoff, for one).

The last time I moved, it was across the breadth of the country. It was a nightmare to say the very least about it. We had part of our stuff in our flat in Hiranandani. We had most of our stuff in the IIT flat in Powai. The contractor we had hired for fixing up the rental house in Chennai proved to be an ass, and it was unclear if he had finished our work. Dust was bound to abound.

We had a US trip planned some 4 days after arriving in Chennai. Oh yes, I had stuff in my office to be moved as well. And my husband was traveling a lot in those days. It was summer, and I didn't have a class to teach and I had gotten rid of at least all my master's students, but still it was a pain as I also had to do paperwork at work for various things related to my sabbatical leave.

I still have that notebook. Lots of things are ticked off in my really voluminous set of lists of things. I feel good looking at it, but also, scared. The sheer number of things involved is just ridiculous. I have some pet obsessions, which are not easy to deal with. Gas cylinder and washing machine set-up come to mind. Not to mention lines for hanging clothes to dry.

This time the pet obsessions pale in comparison with the larger set of things that are going to hit us in the face. The cement, dust, wood splinters, weirdness of the doors, the fact that the carpenters are probably going to be honorary family members for the near future, the unfinished basement, Oh I don't even want to think further.

Yes, we are moving. Its best that I check out of regular life for a bit and concentrate on that upcoming ordeal, and use my organisational skills to ensure the family is not too pained overall during this time... 

No comments: