Code and musings by Darshak Parikh

Commute Transmute

Before the pandemic, I have had myriad forms of commutes. I have had five-minute walks and 45-minute city bus rides. I’ve listened to music, read eBooks, played games and taken naps. And I’ve also spent time contemplating. What I have seldom done is drive my own vehicle: an activity that wouldn’t let me do most of the above.

And yet, few people get to do these things any more. Our commuting time has gone from minutes to mere seconds.

At a first glance, this is a good thing, especially for those who drove to and from work. You avoid the traffic and the ensuing weariness. <cough>Bengaluru</cough>

But I have felt something different while working from home. When I start my workday, I don’t immediately get in the mood to focus—something which is amplified by the leisurewear and the lack of coworkers and workplace sounds. And when I’m done with work, I still keep thinking about work even as I lounge on my couch.

The commute was a time my brain used to prepare for the environment at the destination: focus at work and relaxation at home. And now since that time is gone, I had to find a replacement, so that’s what I did.

In the mornings, I take a bath just before starting work. In the evenings, I take a walk either indoors or on the terrace. Both activities allow me to be alone with my own thoughts, giving my mind enough warm-up and cool-down time.

Who would have thought to replace the time spend on the road with that in the bath or on the terrace?