He felt as though someone had physically jolted him out of his deep slumber. It was the alarm on his phone, ringing incessantly and formidably; with an unusual sense of purpose. Every cell of his body urged him to snooze it and go back to sleep. But he knew he had no choice.
His firm had flown him down to Singapore on a consultancy project for one of their biggest clients in South East Asia. He landed at 10 PM the previous night and got no more than 2 winks of sleep.
He groggily looked at his phone, it was 4 AM and he had to be on a yacht in Keppel Harbor by 4.45. He knew that meant 4.44.59 to Singaporeans. He was to be whisked away to Sentosa, a beautiful island nearby, which his client was planning to transform into a luxury getaway resort. He used to find these kinds of projects very exciting, but that was 3 years ago, when he still had the energy and enthusiasm to live out of a suitcase.
He rubbed his eyes and pushed himself out of the cozy hotel bed. He felt like a reluctant kindergarten kid. He just didn’t want to go! He dragged his feet to the plush bathroom and started brushing his teeth when his phone rang sharply, making his woozy head hurt. It was his chauffeur, reminding him that he would have to be downstairs in 7 minutes, if they had to make it to the harbor in time. He grunted an ‘Okay’ and hung up. He then powered up his I-pad to cross check the distance to the harbor. Damn, his chauffeur was right.
He finally hit the panic button and half ran to the shower but stopped in his steps and grabbed the I-pad again, he checked the weather in the Islands so that he could dress accordingly. Before he could close it shut, he had 2 email notifications. One was from the client, with 3 new documents attached. He quickly downloaded the docs, determined to read them on the yacht. The other one was from his boss telling him that he was expected to do a brilliant job on this project and that he had to fly to Spain the following day to meet a textile client. He gave a courtesy 2 line reply and turned off the I-pad.
He was dressed in no time. As he knotted his tie, he simultaneously started to pack a day bag. He grabbed his laptop from the bed side table and checked the battery backup- 7%! He cursed under his breath; he forgot to charge it over the night. What was he to do on a wretched boat for 2 hours without his laptop? He decided to console himself with the I-pad and put it next to his bag.
By 4.12 he was downstairs, where the chauffeur was waiting to drive him away. He munched on a nutri-bar and read the news on his phone while he drove past the beautiful sky scrapers of Singapore. He checked his newsfeed on Facebook and sent a string of unrelated stickers to his girlfriend with a short ‘I miss you’ message. He checked every single one of his WhatsApp groups in spite of having no new notifications. This cab ride was making him sleepy; he started rummaging through his bag for his ear phones when it suddenly hit him - he had left the I-pad next to the bag and never put it in.
Oh lord almighty! What a waste of 2 hours this boat ride was going to be. He made a mental note to be more careful from the next time. He did have his phone for company though.
They reached the Harbor by 4.46. It was a small white yacht, with a wide deck and shiny railings.
The crew of 3 was expecting him and they welcomed him with broad smiles. The minute they left the harbor, he descended below the deck to one of the two cabins on the yacht. It was fully furnished and had an inviting recliner sofa. He took a juice box from the fridge and settled down into the sofa. In spite of being somewhat sleepy, he felt restless to be sitting idle. He switched on the T.V and unlocked his phone screen. He felt an incessant need to check his mail. That’s when he realized, he wasn’t going to have any signals in the middle of nowhere. He swore out loud. This was so ridiculous. He had no laptop, I-pad or phone. Just bloody ridiculous!
He slowly walked up to the deck. The sun was just beginning to rise and the breeze was not too cold, not too warm. He took off his shoes and sat down on the wooden floor of the deck. He wished he had a camera to capture this.
The sun rose a little higher and he watched the sky change color. In a fleeting glance, everything looked orange but he could notice a multitude of other shades, which lay hidden amidst the majestic orange. All the shades- from the palest of yellows to the brightest of reds.
The clouds seemed to be playing hide and seek around the rising sun and he could hear the chirping of the birds. He diverted his attention to the waves playfully hitting the base of the yacht. The sound of the water was strangely calming. He closed his eyes and let the sounds fill him up. He had not felt this peaceful in a long long time.
The cool salty zephyr washed over his face. He felt the shackles of the mails, the likes, the documents, the tweets, the notifications and the e-commerce discounts let go of him.
He didn't need any interruptions while he was on this intimate date with Nature. He wanted to soak in more of this unadulterated beauty. The vast expanse of seeming infinity reminded him that he was just a small part of something mighty.
For the first time in days, he felt free.
And boy was this freedom sweet.