Of Lists and Many Decisions

Of Lists and Many Decisions

These days, I find people saying that every day is just like any other day, which, I agree with, except for my to-do-list-obsessed self, every day is a list of 10 things to do before I go to bed. You know, like one of those “Things to do before you turn 30” articles, I feel like my week is divided into things to do every day and things to be done by the weekend. While this allows me to function like a sane human being, this push to get things done constantly also leads to some questionable practices.

Like last Wednesday, for example.

I had over 7 things piled up in my list and it was already half past 5. Too much of my time was spent staring at my laptop to make sense of the words in front of me but, as always, there was an itching need to strike off every word on the list. Finishing other work that wasn’t virtual and striking them off the list, I sat in front of my laptop again, suddenly motivated to do what I had been doing all day – write, read, edit. And I edited, and edited, and edited until I was sure my eyes were devoid of any moisture and my behind had become one with the warm wood chair.

Next thing I knew, mum was yelling from downstairs. Attacked by “would you look at the time?” and “you haven’t eaten a morsel in over five hours!” I managed to finish whatever I had to before trudging downstairs to eat ‘dinner’ at half-past 12. Yeah, all plans of a “healthy lifestyle in lockdown” clearly have not survived after all these months. Yet, I was happy because the sense of satisfaction and accomplishment I experienced after crossing the items on my list was incomparable.

You’d think that after spending a total of over 10 hours all day in front of the darned screen, I’d have dropped unconscious once my head hit the pillow, but no. Maybe the 3 cups of coffee I chugged like water in the evening had a role to play, but you won’t find me admitting that anywhere else. I thought then, what better time than midnight to watch (or, in this case, rewatch) a zombie flick? I was sure I’d fall asleep ten minutes into the movie.

So, after promptly adding in rewatch #Alive in my notepad, I settled in bed to watch this Korean zombie apocalypse movie that trashed all the apocalyptic survival strategies I had devised years ago.

Seeing that I, unfortunately, hadn’t fallen asleep yet, my genius brain had another goal at 2 a.m: write a review. After the 90-minute movie ended, I waited for a few minutes to see if sleep would finally grace me with its presence, but that was not to happen. So I rolled out of bed to sit down, yet again, in front of my laptop, not before scrawling Write a review in my notepad after striking out the previous entry.

I started, hoping to write a decent review –

#Alive: Cannibalism and Isolation

October 1, 2020

Korean, zombie, chaotic destruction – reminds you of the graphic visuals in Train to Busan. This zombie flick released during the pandemic, however, is less of the rampant running chaos, leaning more towards the isolation and struggle for survival in distressing times. Distressing for the main characters and an anxiety-inducing ride for the viewers, thanks to the blood-hungry cannibalistic non-human creatures lurking in the streets.

but having had no experience whatsoever, my hopes started to waver,

A laid-back gamer, played by Yoo Ah-in, and his survival-ready neighbour, played by Park Shin-Hye –  

steadily petering out by the minute…

are trapped in their homes, cut off from seeking help as the apartment complex –

…before completely abandoning me.

Ugh, I cannot do this, I groaned, pressing my palms into my eyes, ignoring the scrawled entry in my notepad.

Maybe, my brain and body had collectively decided to shut down if that was what it took for me to finally sleep. When I picked up my phone to check the time, I was greeted with an old photo of a cafe’s pretty window a friend had clicked ages ago – I cannot remember the last time I saw the inside of a cafe – and the time, of course. 3:17 a.m. *sigh* I had had enough. Scratching the last entry, I tossed my phone aside and I pulled the sheets over my head as I waited for sleep to finally come.

So when I dragged myself out of bed three hours later, nursing a pounding headache and bloodshot eyes, I knew that I had nothing to blame but my stupid decisions – piling fifteen things to the last minute, downing 3 cups of coffee, watching a gory zombie movie past midnight. No, wait, the biggest reason – my mild obsession with striking off items on my to-do lists just to bask in the sense of accomplishment.

To change that, I swore to myself to reduce my to-do lists to only 5 things every day, to stay away from my laptop all day and give up coffee. But no, I ended up doing the exact opposite the rest of the week, thus remaining a zombie until the weekend rolled around.  

Would it surprise you if I told you that I add sleep to my to-do list every morning now?  


Udbhavi Balakrishna
Udbhavi Balakrishna

Udbhavi writes short stories, poetry, and her thoughts on society and culture.

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