The Need To Pause and Why Entropy Always Wins

“How long has it been since you’ve taken a pause? Did something that you purely love, with someone you truly love. Besides work, of course!”, inquired my friend.

“I don’t know! I think I am doing fine. Why do you need to take a break when life is unfolding smoothly? Enjoy it! Go with the flow! And, how do you decide that you need a break?”, curious to know I replied with a question. Well, the ball was in his court now.

“I’ll tell you but first let’s revisit our favourite bar! Shall we?”, and he put his hand round my shoulder and we started to walk towards the place that started it all.

I have known Mr. Navy since I was 11 years old. We used to live in the same locality, study in the same school, take the same school bus, and had the same interest in socialising — being nice with everyone and still making no friends. But we had an unspoken agreement that we would greet each other with a sense of respect.

This respect gave birth to our friendship. One that was meant to last.

The summer camp of 2004 was a life changing one for me. It taught me the value of sportsmanship, integrity, and never to stop learning. Most of it was inherent in me but unaware of. He showed me the last one.

We used to practice in the same cricket class. He was the leading wicket-keeper and the most dependable batsman. I was the leading bowler and that was pretty much it. I admired his keeping and he respected my bowling. He never missed my bowl and I never missed his signal. Yet, it was his persistence towards his batting skills that left an impression on me.

Pause, observe, and hit for the boundary; his unbeaten strategy. ‘Unbeaten’ because I could never dismiss him with the stumps dismantled. The golden dismissal never happened to him. He kept on learning.

“Here it is! At last!”, his excited voice greeted the doorman.

“Welcome Sir!”, the doorman pushed the door open for us.

“Thank you!”, as I slid past the door.

“Two Bourbons please!”, he put his phone on silent.

“So, it is you who is in need of a break!”, I sarcastically commented pointing to his silent phone.

Our drinks arrived. A cheers and a sip of heaven later.

“Answer me quick: have you ever felt that you have had enough of discipline, sincerity, and you want to go all crazy or careless?”, he asked assertively ignoring my previous comment.

“No! I love my work and you know that! Being crazy or careless is not an option, altogether!”, I defended back.

“My bad. Let me rephrase it for you: have you ever felt the need to not pursue excellence? The urge to make it a little better has not crossed your mind. The desire to accept situations as they are, nagging hard. Ever?”, staring deep into my eyes he asked.

“Well, no! What’s the point living like a sheep without a shepherd? Aimless and pointless, isn’t it? There must be an order. Your skills to get through me are deteriorating, Captain. Your judgement will be prejudiced. Still wish to walk down that road?”, as I took another sip, looked with a smirk, and hinted a challenge though my tone.

“Sure! Just two more questions.”

“Have you felt that you trust yourself a little more than your closest associate? The need to just have a look whether things are going on fine or otherwise to be doubly sure. One bourbon might not bring brutality to your honesty, your character will, I’m sure!”, he taunted and signalled for another round.

“Yes”, I lit my cigarette and took a long drag.

“Yes, I have. Not because I don’t trust them. It’s simply because I tend to take my work personally. Own it. Treat it like my greatest pride and privilege”, slight anxious and impressed I responded.

“As I expected! So, my final question: has anyone ever tried to make you feel, like I had supposed you would for the above three instances, for themselves? The freedom to go crazy and careless; the freedom to be what one is with all one’s flaws; the freedom to trust someone as much as you trust yourself. Anyone?”, with a considerate tone, he probed.

“Ah, so all this was to peel off a slice of my love life! You should have directly asked. It would have saved the theatricality and we could have had a good game of bowling. No Sir! No one has made me feel so, or for that matter, tried to. If people and their behaviour are the reasons you take a pause, then I think you should tune your moral compass. People come and leave. You don’t speed down! Do you?”, I gulped the remaining drink.

“Well, you must. Entropy wins, remember? Disorder to your overall order will eventually arrive. And in that disorder you’ll have to find a meaning. It will arrive, eventually. What will you do? Where will you go? Who would you trust? Who would you go for help? Who would you lean on? Because your epicentre is just one entity: work and your self-consuming attachment towards it. So, when entropy will bend it and fuck it, what will you do Mr. Adhicary”, he paused and let it all sink.

There was silence.

The cigarette was burning itself with no aim. Just mechanically.

“Murphy’s Law”, I countered.

“Exactly! Will you take a pause or simply continue with the same unstoppable force that you are possessing right now, eventually converting into infinite momentum and heading straight into the heart of disorder and chaos?”, confident he made his point, he paid the bill and I decided we should take a walk.

“Go on”, I wanted to listen more.

“You never decide to take a pause. You take it when life demands. When its agents of change, demand. When entropy demands. When disorder demands. When order after the disorder demands. When you want to learn, you pause. You never learn while you’re moving. How can you? It’s all fleeting. You’re moving at a constant speed. No acceleration. Events, incidents, people, experiences, and life; they are fleeting”.

“Take a pause when a project fails and learn from it. Take a pause when a project succeeds and appreciate it. Take a pause when someone leaves and mourn the loss. Take a pause and welcome who’s arriving. Take a pause to revisit the memories. Take a pause to create a moment. Take a pause when a change happens. Take a pause when entropy knocks. Take a pause when life expects you to. Meanwhile, continue with the speed you have. It might be less but the acceleration will be high. For each time you’ll pause, a new energy will flow. One that will help you regain your speed quicker. And we both know, the longer the road the higher the acceleration and faster the car”. He lit a cigarette.

I never nodded in agreement with him. I never disagreed, either.

“I have been diagnosed with a rare form of pancreatic disorder. A maximum of 12 months unless they find a cure. I have my trip next month. I’ve cancelled. Tell me, old friend, enough of theatricality to explain how I decide when to take a pause.”

He looked straight into my eyes, not with anger, grief, or guilt but with the acceptance of the brutal savagery of fate.

I was blank. Not shocked. Blank. Entropy never hit me this hard. Disorder never slapped so tight.

“There’s an engagement in pipeline, a wedding, a bachelor’s party, and a honeymoon. Do you think you can take a break for any of these?”, he ended the conversation with this question.

I never had an answer to his question. But I knew I had to be with him and that entropy could hit any day. And when it does, I will have to take a break.

I’ll need to pause. Entropy shall always win.

I need to learn from the greatest batsman I’ve ever seen how he never got a golden dismissal.

I need to pause, now.

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