apartment in Bristol

I settled down in my apartment. If I were to imagine a perfect place to stay in, it would be quite identical to this one. I was in the top (first) floor, and my house has really huge windows overlooking a lawn below. There was plenty of light and ventilation, and a lot of greenery around. I could open my window to a chorus of a wide variety of songbirds. No sound of cars anywhere. This was quite incredible, because even if the house was a bit towards either end of the road would have meant a lot of noise. [Quite a striking contrast to the hotel I was staying in earlier, which was located next to a roundabout (circle). The room almost rattled with every car which passed the roundabout… which was every 2 seconds.]

This was a studio apartment which has one spacious room doubling as a bedroom + living room. It had a bed, cupboards, a sofa set and a chair. There was also a a small kitchen and a bathroom. The kitchen was well equipped, having a washing machine (+ dryer), microwave oven, electric stove, oven (which i have no clue on how to use) and toaster and vacuum cleaner and all utensils, lots of other stuff. Quite impressively, it had everything I would ever need, or would ever imagine I might need in the future. Also a lot of things I would never need too.

But the single greatest luxury in this apartment is that it has no television. Television is one of the biggest vacuum cleaners of time. True I can tell myself that I have will power and will have an organized life, its all a matter of maintaining discipline. I can tell myself that I will watch this movie for exactly 2.5 hours on this day of the week or spend 10 minutes on this news bulletin for only 10 minutes every morning. But over the past few years, I’ve seen that what really happens once I switch on the TV, my mind kind of “switches off”. I just keep changing channels one after the other. With such a lot of variety of programs on so many channels, I concluded that at any point in time, there will always be atleast one program on one of the channels which I “simply have to watch and cannot afford to miss”. So I was delighted to be freed from its shackles. Ive actually spent time reading books and talking advantage of the late sunsets and walking outside in the evenings.

How much of time do I have? This is a question that bothers me once in a way. “Time for what?” is the next question. Its an assumption that I always have that I am going to live for atleast another 40 to 50 years [except occasionally while paying for my Life Insurance Policy]. 50 years sounds like forever from this point in time. If time is viewed like distance, then that 50 years from now looks like something way beyond the horizon. My whole lifestyle is based on the assumption. Yet one look at it immediately reveals how flimsy and baseless that assumption really is. So to face the truth, I really have absolutely no clue about how much time I have. And I have no clue about what I must do within that time. Which in turn means, I have no clue about what constitutes wastage of time… and what constitutes a useful way of spending it. Maybe time spent in having fun and doing something you like is time well spent, and doing things you don’t like is wastage? That dosent sound right, nor do any of the other endless list of other questions and possibilities that follow that question.

It reminds me of Neo in the Matrix who says “I really wish I knew what I have to do”. I read somewhere that you must find out your life’s purpose, and then put in all your energy into fulfilling that purpose. I don’t know if there really is some such thing as a “life’s purpose”, right now Im still figuring out my own (I hope that itself isnt a purpose… it better be more interesting than that!!)

[Later discussed with Conan… he had some thoughts: “time spent doing positive things like helping people, etc is time spent well… other things are time wasted”. And he added a very important point… something that I do a lot… “too much of time spent on doing one thing is time wasted”]

[Later on, while waiting for a train I walked into a shop to buy a sandwich and saw some books there. I had a look at some of the books, one caught my eye titled “10 thoughts about time” (by Bodil Johnson). I flipped through it and was amazed to see one page where she had expressed exactly what I had been thinking about! Note (*) at the end of this entry]

So coming back to the mundane topic of television, in UK there are 4 tv channels which come without cable, just like DD. Two are from BBC and don’t have any ads at all. So how do they support it? The answer is quite diabolical… every UK resident HAS to pay a TV tax, 130 pounds a year… whether he watches those channels or not! Conan said they are quite dirty people, they keep sending red letters (critical priority letters if a red border is used) to people as if they are criminals who are trying to evade this tax. They assume people are evading it until proved otherwise! So that’s one more advantage of not having a TV, I’ll have nothing to do with these guys. Conan said even if people say they don’t have a TV, they search inside the house to see if it is hidden somewhere!

One strange appliance in my apartment was an electric shower. Now why the heck would anyone ever want an electric shower… cant people simply turn on and off a simple tap?!! I felt mixing electricity and water was pretty risky. But it turned out that the shower is actually a more refined version of the instant geyser we get back home, its not just a switch to turn water on and off, but also heats it. Pretty neat. And till now, no electric shock… so far so good.

Over the next few days, I got used to managing my house. I tried to create and incorporate environmental friendly ways of housekeeping. Here are some of the ideas, not very original though, just some things that I remembered which I had heard long ago.

– Don’t keep the fridge door open for more time than necessary. Hence know what you need and then open the door, and close it immediately afterwards.

– Any food that is taken from the fridge should be kept back immediately after taking out the required quantity. So if I remove a can of yoghurt, I pour what I need into a cup and keep the rest back immediately. This is also keeps the food fresh, thawing and recooling the food isnt healthy.

– Cover the vessels when kept on the stove, so that heat loss due to radiation is reduced.

– Keep the water flow from a tap to the minimum while washing vessels because otherwise most of the water just goes down the sink.

– Switch off every electrical appliance including lights immediately after Im done with them.


[Note (*): the below is from some weblog and after seeing this, I felt I should have bought the book after all.]

Ten Thoughts about Time
>I just finished reading a book by Swedish professor Bodil Jonsson,
>called ’10 ajatusta ajasta’ (‘Tio tankar om tid’, ‘Ten Thoughts about
>Time’). One of her aims is to provoke the reader to review how he or
>she experiences time. According to Jonsson, the fact that we feel in a
>hurry, i.e. short of time, need not be the case. In fact she says that
>’time is all we have’, nothing else. She makes a distinction between
>’clock time’ and personal ‘perceived’ time.

She also gives advice on how to gain more of the ‘perceived’ time, and for this she presents various methods. One of the methods is to learn to identify how our time nowadays is divided into small pieces by appointments, dates, meetings, scheduled holidays etc. In our childhood, on the other hand, we had long summer holidays without any definite plans, no dividing elements, which then resulted us experiencing the time as very long; actually experiencing more and in a deeper way. Getting more undivided time, which can be gained in various ways, is one of the keys to get more ‘perceived’ time. An example of her suggestions on how to get more undivided time, are mobile phone free coaches in trains, where one could experience an undisturbed, i.e. an undivided time period for the duration of the train trip. She says that she as actually proposed this to the Swedish railroads. Undivided time is also essential for the thought process; as she says: ‘Thoughts take time’ (‘tankar tar tid’). If you feel that you are short of time or not in control of it, try reading this book. I’ll try to implement at least some of its thoughts in my life.

11 Responses to “apartment in Bristol”

  1. Sanjay Mysoremutt » Blog Archive » time crunch Says:

    […] e probably won’t be too many blog updates till next month! Hmm… now I recall some more ideas about time long ago… Posted in work | By msanjay […]

  2. Los Angeles Says:

    MY friends was looking an apartment to Bristol and she yelled me that it is impossible to find an affordable and nice place in Bristol.. How did you find it? Did you use Internet to search for your apartment?

  3. msanjay Says:

    It is really tough to get a decent apartment in Bristol. I got a good one at a very good price largely due to luck, and thanks to a GMAC agent – who got in touch with local brokers as well as the internet, to finally shortlist some apartments and took me around.

  4. Susheel Sandeep Says:

    Wow…this brings back the memories of those good old days in Bristol.
    Even I was in Bristol for more than a year and came back to Blore cupla months back.
    Ya, i know how difficult it is to get a decent house in anywhere near the Gloucester road for a decent price that too!:O
    We somehow managed to get into a house on Muller road but could not stay for more than 6 months there. (Contract problem)
    I stayed in 3 different houses and a hotel over a period of 15 months..and i jus fell in love with this city.

    Share more thoughts about this city…

  5. Backup file Shruthi Says:

    “Television is one of the biggest vacuum cleaners of time.” – a masterpiece of a statement 🙂
    Interesting post!

  6. msanjay Says:

    heh heh at the time of writing that I’d never imagined I’d be having a web page exclusively for a television serial 😀 Anyway no doubt TV takes a lot of time, now I feel I’ve improved and am more independent of the absence of tv, now even though the TV is there I still don’t feel like watching it and am pretty much in control over time spent on it.

    Writing – blogging/emailing still takes up a lot of time though, as long as its a choice its ok, only when it goes overboard and messes up other things that this becomes a problem… there’s still soom room for improvement for me here! 😈

  7. Sanjay M Says:

    One of my photos got published in a local Bristol newsletter…

    Cotham and Redland

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  9. what time is it? | a common man ಸಂಜಯ Says:

    […] One idea that occurred is that time right now happens to be 12:34:44: 30/06/09 which will never happen again in my life either – heh heh no harm in noting that every moment is so precious! There was a nice book I’d come across in Bristol named Ten Thoughts about Time […]

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