Tuesday, July 29, 2008

A conversation

I was sitting opposite her, at the place we always hang out. She was right, we have hung out together since a long time now... enough years to wipe out my memories of how she once looked.

I don't know what it is about the people whom we enjoy conversing with. What is a conversation? Is it the case that if two people can speak the same language, they can communicate? Does the comprehension of a common language suffice to communicate? Or do we need to go beyond and say that not just an understanding of the words, but also an understanding of certain key terms is necessary to communicate?

It is strange. When she uses the word crazy, she means open-minded. When she says open-minded she means courageous. When she says 'going beyond words', she means 'thinking about your words for more than 30 seconds'. When she says 'I adore him', she means... well, I don't know what she means.

When I find that her 'dictionary' is different than mine, I get more cautious - I try paying more attention because I am trying to understand what she means, and not the meaning of the words she uses. And this task requires 'going beyond words' in my dictionary.

It is intriguing that probably very few of us share a dictionary, or have even a significant intersection set. Yet, we find someone's conversations more gripping. Why? I get a feeling that I am never sure of what the person means. I understand some parts of the conversation... but conversations that require the use of abstract terms that have open-ended definitions make me uneasy. It feels that I am not getting anywhere. To have any such conversation and render it fruitful, one must define the protocol painstakingly.

But in spite of being unsure of what we discussed, I enjoyed it. And THAT'S the surprising part. I really dont know what she said... yet it seemed to make sense at some level. How can we make sense of that which we are not sure we understand? See, therein I have already worded a contradiction.

Phew! It was fun... yet I agreed to a lot of what she said. Does the years of proximity also help in understanding her?

There were moments when I felt pangs of an never-felt-before disturbance... like I would never understand her and no one would/could understand me... coz although we all speak the same language, we don't have a common pipe for thoughts. Thoughts are personal.... we can share them only by means of language.. and if how A describes a thought is different than how B describes the same thought, they will never know that they meant the same thing... coz it has 2 different descriptions.

Gosh! Feels like one has to be careful with words...

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Dreams people see

I am going to go to the same class tomorrow... that I have always dreaded. Dreaded coz I was afraid I'll get picked out of the many to be asked a question (if I was unlucky, it would be a 'simple one') and I'll fail to answer... I was afraid that I would not understand what is taught and feel a sense of guilt. I was afraid that I would soon realize how poor a student I am.. afraid that I would get bored... afraid that I would sense a helplessness too strong about the inability to change the situation. I was afraid that I would realize how I was stuck in a rut that I was not interested in.. not even if I win it.

I was too afraid.

Tomo the tables turn. I am anti-afraid. I have never been so confident in life... it is like finally doing something you have always waited for... something you always wanted to but didn't have the gut to.
It is like an author seeing someone read his book... or a musician playing to a live audience.

It will probably be the first time I won't pray. It seems that I can do without even God this time.

On second thoughts, I will need God the most.
*sheepish grin*

Sunday, July 20, 2008

A quick fix

What is it about writing that makes me sign in to this blog and start writing? Most of the times I don't have any idea of what I want to write. The other rare times, when I do know what I want to write about, I don't know how to.
The articles that I have enjoyed writing the most are those written when I am the most sensitive... either I have laughed a lot, and in a vulnerable-to-any-joke mode.. or more often than not, when I am deeply disturbed.

But most of the times I sign in blogger and stare at the editor hoping for ideas to flow and words to articulate them. It's when I am browsing through the labyrinth of my mind, looking for those thoughts - they would give me relief. It's like feeling freer... or like the feeling of having earned your bread, like having done something that makes you call it a day.. it's like talking to a shrink and feeling lighter after saying it all as is.

Whoa! Writing seems to be therapeutic for the mind. A happy realization for the day :-)

What is it about this song? Is it the tune.. or the lyrics? Or the current mausam and stage in life perhaps. It could be the dard in the voice... can't figure it out.

Aaoge Jab Tum... - Ustad Sultan Khan (movie: Jab We Met)

Aaoge Jab Tum Saajna
Aaoge Jab Tum Saajna
Angana phool khilege
Barsega saawan, barsega saawan
Jhoom jhoom ke
Do dil aise milenge
Aaoge Jab Tum Saajna
Angana phool khilege

Naina tere kajrare
Naino pe hum dil hare hai
Anjane hi tere naino ne
Waade kiye kaie saare hai
Saanso he leher madam chale
To tu kahe barsega saawan
Barsega saawan jhoom jhoom ke
Do dil aise milenge

Aaoge Jab Tum Saajna
Angana phool khilege

Chanda ko uta lakho mein
Hai zindagi tere haton mein
Palko pe jil mil tare hai
Aana bhari barsato mein
Sapno ka jahaan
Hoga khilaa khilaa
Barsegaa saawan, barsega saawan
Jhoom jhoom ke
Do dil aise milenge

Things are never where you look for them

Following interesting things have happened:-

1. I am back to making lists.. It has almost become an obsession to pen all the 'things to do' on anything ranging from the tissue paper (that's what we call the napkins in the restaurant in India) to last pages of books to random flying sheets of paper. Invariably I don't remember where I kept the list... Thinking of making a master-list of the lists' locations :-)

2. There are kabootars in my room. I keep wondering what these birds ever do. Mate and recreate and mate and recreate and peck! That sounds a very promising life, and suddenly all that gyaan of getting a human birth after 'chaurasi-laakh' janams doesn't seem justified.

3. There were cows on the main road. YES! They really were there... not in some far-ended suburb of Mumbai, but right in the heart of the city, on the main road in Bandra... and not one or 2, but three unforgivably unfazed cows mulling and chewing cud.. and in general doing what humans should.

4. The trains.... ah! The trains. I fail to understnad, or rather choose to fail to understand the obsession with the local trains. It is there everywhere in the train and in the travelers. Try as you might, but you can't escape it. I spent about 15 minutes shifting from the slow train platform to the fast one, then getting absolutely horrified by the vision of dupattas and their wearers precariously protruding from the train.. and so, stumped, I went back to the slow train to be greeted by warm greetings from the warmer people leaning out of the incoming train. Their joy on seeing us ladies was boundless.. so excited did they get that they extended their hands outfrom the moving train, only to welcome us...
Aargh! Finally I could get in. And I forgot that I was supposed to hold on to something when the train starts/stops. And ouch went the foot of my neighbour and I got a fitting snarl!
Whatever... the more I write, the better... but betty bought some better butter to make the bitter butter better :-)

WEll well... after coming back from USA, I was looking for Mumbai. I thought I had lost it... or perhaps lost myself. I looked for both - Mumbai and myself, in several places... in the paani puri on the streets, in the lost waves on Carter Road at night, in the mindblowing jokes of Jay, in the make-out sessions on deserted roads at night, in the longingness on Dadar bridge, in the old songs played on Radio Mirchi, in the talks with the rikshawallas... even in the never-failed-me local trains of Mumbai... but I think I was looking too hard. Things, events, people.. feelings are often misplaced. They are often not there where I look for.

Finally, I got up today.. on this lazy Sunday morning at 12.30 in the afternoon... had a very sumptuous meal and a gratifying fight - friendly and yet fulfillingly aggressive fight with Yamunabai, and then read the Sunday Times of India... read Shobhaa De's article which made no sense to me... and then read Bachi's article which was sooooooo interesting, that that made me feel that I have arrived.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

jaane woh.. ya jaane na

Two friends sitting on bandstand, in love and not knowing it until it is almost too late. That is essentially the story of the movie... a movie that entertains, that has nothing novel to offer in the plot... and yet... and yet, something about it touches you. Well, for most parts it is the humor, and the freshness (a word used by almost all reviews).

But the real review in her mind is so intense that she is scared to think. It relates way too much to some part of her past that she frantically shuts some portion of her mind.

In the process of shutting down portions of her mind, in the process of training her emotions, channelizing her zest and monitoring her unfounded fears, controlling her anger and keeping in check every extreme emotion... she has lost herself.
She is so much in tune with herself that she can order her emotions... typically she analyzes the situation and evaluates what her emotion should be.. and then turns on that emotion.

She is not sure if she is right in doing some things.

Does the raw, un-mediated emoting give one most joy, or is it the power of control over them that has the potential for greater joy?

She remembers her days on bandstand... with great joy. She remembers the tingling in the stomach when she walked down the Dadar bridge and saw him, the first boy she had really fallen in love with... and then the conversation in the train that left her speechless, and thoughtless... her input in the conversation which made no sense to her, then or now. And then the ensuing date at 9 in the morning, on bandstand. Ah! That was when she emoted... there was the thrill of being proposed! Dam! How much fun it was, how much excitement! It was a perfect day... too perfect... the sound of the waves, the wet breeze, the opening of the day... and sitting opposite to the best guy in the world!

She wonders if she'll feel the same again. Dam this maturity, this growing. She yearns to feel the excitement that she is afraid she won't.

Sunday, July 06, 2008

Who am I?

Am I the person who braved loneliness in the long distance trains,
Or am I the person who longs for solitude in the din of even friendly chatter?

Am I the person who thinks about the purpose of life, process of evolution,
or am I the person who gossips about the love life and potential success of Harman Baweja?

Am I the girl who enjoyed possessing 5 t-shirts for 4 months?
or am I the girl who took 15 minutes to decide between the right lip-balm?

Am I the person who craved speed on the highways?
Or am I the person who shuts her eyes in disbelief at an app[roaching low-speed rikshaw?

Am I the person who talked like myself 3 months back?
Or am I the person who is talking like myself now?

Well, that dont make no sense!

It feels like I am losing myself... I liked myself 2 years back, before I went to the US. And then I went to US and gradually changed drastically, and then I liked the changed me. And then I traveled, and changed drastically in a short while, and I liked the newly brought changes to the changed me. And now I am back to where it started... to India. And I think all the changes are getting reverted. I am talking just like I would, had nothing changed!

Can one revert? Isn't change somewhat irreversible and persistent? Or is the mind such that if it wants, it can display no effects of change, and yet live with the manifestation of the changes? I mean, do I have a facade that starts working autonomously, and in a way that interacts with everone differently?

Aaargh! I don't know how to phrase it... and that's perhaps because I don't understand it myself. I haven't had time to spend just with myself, talk to myself, have a romantic dinner with myself in a long time. And now, when I have stolen a few private moments and I try to assimilate the things happening, I feel that my newly found ideas, thoughts and philosphies are either slipping or getting covered by the sticky garb of phrases like 'daily routine' and 'social life of India' and 'family time' and such.

I don't want it to happen. I don't want to lose what I gained.

Even the writer's block has gotten replaced by a lack of desire to write well!