The little things

I’m all about the little things in life. Whether it’s the small talk with the cashier/server at the canteen, the daily phone calls with my mum and sister, or some stupid joke I manage to crack in German over lunch with my colleagues, I derive enormous pleasure from tiny everyday things. They ensure my routine never bores me and that a smile is permanently plastered on my face.

While in my head these instances seem like the treasure trove of anecdotes to share with friends and family, my audiences are usually trying to figure out what exactly is so special about the fact that someone I greet at work every morning had a conversation with me about how moody our lift is. Then again, as I write this, I guess I can understand their apathy. It’s true. I talk just for the sake of talking.

While my life is graced daily with innumerable such simple daily pleasures, there are still some small ones that I’ve pursued all my life but have continued to elude me to date.

It all started last week. I was sat at a meeting wondering why time passes so slowly when you’re attending one. I glanced at my watch, my laptop screen, the projector screen, at the colleagues who were discussing some work that had to be done and back at my laptop. As my eye roved over the entire room, it happened to fall on the pen in my hand. A second glance confirmed what attracted the first one. It was happening! Finally! After months and months of using the same pen, the ink in the refill was finally getting over.

Now while this should count as a daily pleasure, I have never, in all my life, in 19 years as a student and the last 1.5 as an employee, seen the refill in my pen empty just as I have never used a pencil/eraser until it’s so tiny, it can’t be used anymore. Because somewhere along the way I lose them. ALWAYS!!

So as I sat there in the meeting, the biggest of balloons swelled up in my heart. The day I waited for my entire life, just a few days away. I’d done the impossible. I’d managed to use the same pen until the ink in the refill had come down to just a few pages of writing. So every day I came to work looked at the pen and tried to estimate exactly when the party would be.

And yesterday, with the day ahead of me filled with meetings, I was especially excited. So as the day wore on, I made meticulous notes at every meeting. Making sure I brought it back with me at the end of every meeting. It was going great. The ink was emptying itself out of the refill on to the pages before me. And then it was time for the last meeting of the day. We drove to the meeting centre and I sat down for what would be an hour of new information to me. The new subject matter required more concentration than usual but no note taking. So I sat at the back and followed the topic. Sorting out all the information in my head. At the end of the meeting we headed back to our office. Listening to my colleagues as they discussed what tasks they had ahead of them.

Back at my desk, I pulled out my diary to update my to-do list before I left for the day. I reached for the pen but my fingers grasped at thin air. Without too much thought, I dove under my desk, where I normally find a lot of my stationery disappears to. But I re-surfaced empty-handed. When my bag also yielded nothing, I sat back slowly and let the disappointment sink in. I’d left the pen at the other office. There was no way of getting it back. It was not to be.

Disappointment quickly made place for anger. At my carelessness, at my absent-mindedness. After months and months of using the same pen, I lost it when it mattered most. It’ll take months and months to get back to where I was. So I sit at meetings now, with inky hands holding a new full refill pen with leaks ink profusely, back to square one.


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Manasa Manjunath

Automotive engineering from India living and working in Germany. I write about things that pique my interest. That's basically everything from food, books and cars to current social and political issues.

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