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‘You might just spot me as a spinning top’

Do any of you have such a hard time relaxing? Sometimes it’s as if I’ve been so busy that my body doesn’t know how to sink into chill mode when given the chance, writes Anoushka Shankar.

india Updated: Mar 13, 2009 19:55 IST

Do you remember those spinning tops children play with? Brightly-coloured round wooden toys balancing on a fine point, on which they’d spin and spin? I used to be fascinated by them as a child. Perhaps a little too fascinated, because on Monday morning, I think I turned into one! At 10 am, I found myself pacing around the room in a circle. At 10.15, I was still pacing, but somewhere in my economical brain, I had decided to make smaller circles and was simply going round and round as my mind raced through a potential list of things-to-be-done.

Do any of you have such a hard time relaxing? Sometimes it’s as if I’ve been so busy that my body doesn’t know how to sink into chill mode when given the chance. It’s still on autopilot, ready for stress and madness, not used to lying still, waiting for another 12-hour day to start. My brain keeps clocking things that need to get done, searching out things I may have forgotten and giving me guilt trips for doing nothing.

It’s awful!
It’s especially awful because it’s not often that an opportunity like this presents itself to me. My show here in Delhi last Sunday was the last for a while, and I was really, really happy with how the tour went. Now I’m home for the next couple of weeks with not much to do, just a little bit of work here and there and a lot of open time. But even though I got home at 2 am after the show, on Monday morning I couldn’t help jumping up and wondering what to do. That’s what you call addicted to work!

On holiday, it’s an entirely different ballgame. Being somewhere beautiful automatically takes you out of your own head, and it’s easier to shut off from work in new surroundings. I have no problem spending a day at the beach doing nothing but digging my toes into the sand, or just reading a book till I fall asleep in the sun. Oh! And I’m addicted to spa treatments. My friends make fun of my obsession with massage but I see it as therapeutic more than luxurious. It just happens to feel way better than a trip to the doctor’s, that’s all! I adore being buttered and scrubbed and rubbed into submission and stillness, and spa treatments definitely put me into a floaty, no-thought mode.

But how to relax at home? My laptop makes plaintive, mewling noises like a kitten begging for attention if I ignore it for more than 20 minutes. I have it on good authority that mobile phones automatically self-destruct in balls of fire if you turn them off for an entire day. And I’m just so afraid of forgetting the things I need to do that I don’t know how to ignore them when they attack my fragile brain.

So if you ever see someone wandering the streets of Delhi, dressed in multicoloured stripes and spinning voraciously, balanced on one foot, don’t be surprised. It’s only me in my new avatar.

First Published: Mar 13, 2009 19:52 IST