It’s the holy hour for me – the hour of Sabbath. The lunch hour is the most sought after hour for me when at work. It marks an adjournment of the spasms of work. As it draws close to me, it tells me, ‘Fear not, I am here.’ It reassures me that I can resume functioning again. Not because I am usually famished by then – I do get hunger pangs – but because I get a temporary hiatus from the people I work with, my workstation, my emails and from every other darned aspect of work that makes me hate punching the hours every day.
Unless I am enthusiastically engrossed in some work at home, which is a very rare thing to happen between me and my work as I loathe letting work shape my moods, I am usually out at the time I feel is right – to step out, breathe some fresh air, witness the world that exists outside the four walls of work and the changes that have manifested since I walked into office that morning. I find eating alone very depressing so I usually take a friend out with me but I don’t make it a condition that I must be accompanied always. I prefer to rather be satisfied with my lunch hour in solitude than be kept waiting for a friend who doesn’t happen to share the same thoughts as I do about this precious holy hour.
Stepping out with a preferred companion, who occasionally also happens to be my wife, or even alone has a few amazing effects on me. First, it unclogs my mind and gives me new perspective to my problems. Second, it dusts the cobwebs from the annals of my brain which the drudgery of work keeps unexplored and lets me draw inspiration from my past experiences and achievements. Third, it lets me look upon myself – walking down the street, sipping that coffee at the Bistro; it shows me my own self. Fourth, it tells me that ascent of the day is over, the hump of the day’s working hours has arrived and what remains to come is only the descent towards the day’s end.
I am very protective about my exclusivity over this holy lunch hour. In the past there have been several onslaughts on this hour in the form of business lunches and meetings that would overshoot time and leak into this hour. To shield myself from these, I do not define this hour in my calendar to a particular time. It could be any hour starting at the time when I am best assured I will not become anyone’s immediate need or concern. But to get out of work, I must, everyday. How else can I tell myself that I am beyond and greater than my work?