Friday, March 28, 2008
You meet a person who has seen so many aspects of life which you never imagined in your wildest dreams...
You feel that you are getting yourself into a mess and know that it can't be helped...
You feel that you have just had a GREAT experience and have nobody to share it with or when you feel that words would fail to describe it...
You begin to doubt your potential and feel that you are expecting too much out of yourself...
You feel depressed thinking about your dreary existence that pales in comparison with your own vision of a rosy and adventurous one...
All the aforesaid things happen in the space of a single day,
Book tickets to go home for the next weekend,
Have a glass of apple juice and a 5-star and
Smile at a little girl struggling to balance her new bicycle and find that she is smiling back to you!!!
Are we ever immune to erroneous perceptions?
Aren't we forever falling preys to illusions?
What is a mirage, isn't it an inflated desire?
Isn't it a perception we wish, we had, but don't?
We are all parts of a minuscule portion of HIS illusion. We are all living a mirage with our day-to-day assumptions, conclusions, perceptions, confusions, petty fights, jealous thoughts, proud justifications and inflated accusations. If HE realizes that his mirage no longer fascinates or excites HIM, a minuscule portion disappears from the Earth's face...
Thursday, March 13, 2008
At the crossroads we were caught,
We weren’t sure if we were just students again…
Childish adults we were, united by a
Joyous warmth that made us smile…
After a good 8-9 months separated, we were all brought together thanks to our university scheduling our graduation day ceremony well after we had all started working. In this not so short time period, some of us had grown really long hair, some among us had changed a little perhaps due to the difference in our environments, but mostly I should say the experience away from each other served two purposes. It contributed to an enlargement of our ‘experience’ bank and drew us closer for the yearning to feel the various things that bound us together were still lingering fresh in our memories waiting for chances to break open.
The atmosphere at CEG was festive. It is easy to imagine that if one can visualize nearly 3000 young adults in yellow robes eagerly and excitedly trying to catch up on lost time. Most of our conversations were short for we were meeting a lot of people in the flesh after a seemingly long time. They were centered around how each of us was (the universal conversation opener, ‘How are you?’ will never lose favor even if it almost always doesn’t get a completely accurate answer!!) in new settings, how we are finding our work environment and how the new place that we have all moved into feels like…
That apart, the usual gossip and rumor mills churned overtime in the name of pulling each other’s legs. It was also an occasion where cameras of every hue and color were pulled out and used to their maximum potential. I was in a dream like state, listening faintly and lost in dreams of another time when we from MIT used to come to this campus for our placement. Those are memories wrapped in gold, whenever I think of those days, it seems as if all of them happened only yesterday and by a strange stroke of misfortune, I find myself far removed from them now. Time is a cunning worker, it lures us into believing illusions, it comforts us at times by transporting us to golden periods of our lives, yet the very same time when it jolts us back into reality wrecks devastation. It leaves us feeling like fools.
To me, memories of days spent at MIT are like this:
“I have just seen an interesting cricket match in the hostel. I have Mani and somebody else from my class close by my side. I see the afternoon sunlight filtered through the tall trees lining the stretch to the lecture hall from the hostel and lighting up the features of a beautiful girl walking towards us. The light filters through her hair and casts a thin glow in whose foreground the girl’s face gets poised in a seemingly eternal beauty.”
“I enter the gates of the college a little late and in the aftermath of the hurried running, my breaths are short and I gasp a little for proper air. Thinking of the lecturer’s face receiving my late entry, my legs shake a little as I run, but nevertheless I continue. I avoid any face during all this, some times a class mate from the hostel takes the same route to the lecture hall and I heave a little sigh of relief…”
“Two of my friends are walking just a little ahead of me very close together with one hand on another’s shoulder in filmi style. I am trying to walk along with them, but they always make me feel a little aloof and separated from the group. To join the conversation, I make a remark, it is sometimes acknowledged and responded to and at other times not, in typical fashion again. We are discussing things, about which we’d prefer to go on and on, but soon we reach either our classrooms or the veg mess where we prefer a drink of water even if we are not always thirsty!!”
CEG was like a stranger till the placement days but then it also became our pointless hangout post tests. A little seriously discussing the paper or hopelessly looking forward to the next company on the radar, the days were relatively event less if only there weren’t the CEG and AC tech girls always hanging about near the canteen.
Months later, these memories remain fresh… friends and classmates – I saw them again, said only “hi” to some, talked at length with some others, but the day in itself offered a different respite with its occasion and meaning. We graduated at last!!
This is an extract from Iris Murdoch’s ‘Under the net’, her first novel, produced like an outline without loss of what she most probably meant to convey. A character, Hugo is in conversation with the narrator.
Hugo: “There’s something fishy about describing people’s feelings. All these descriptions are so dramatic…If I say afterwards that I felt such and such, say that I felt ‘apprehensive’ – well this just isn’t true.”
Me: “But suppose I try hard to be accurate.”
Hugo: “One can’t be. The only hope is to avoid saying it. As soon as I start to describe I am done for… the language just won’t let you present it as it really was…if one said one was apprehensive this could only be to try to make an impression, it would be for effect, it would be a lie…one does make far too many concessions to the need to communicate.”
Me: “What do you mean?”
Hugo: “All the time when I speak to you, even now I am saying not precisely what I think, but what will impress you and make you respond…in fact, one’s so used to this one rarely sees it. The whole language is a machine for making falsehoods.”
Me: “What would happen if one were to speak the truth? Would it be possible?”
Hugo: “…When I really speak the truth, the words fall from my mouth absolutely dead and I see complete blankness in the face of the other person.”
Me: “So we never really communicate?”
Hugo: “Well, I suppose actions don’t lie”.
This little exchange affected me and my understanding of everyday existence deeply. We use words as if we know what we mean. But, do we? We only have to ask ourselves whether we’d be using the same words, the same expressions if the listener was different. For instance, if I went to a resort and had fun there, would I describe my experience with the same intensity and feeling to two different people even if they were both my friends? Rarely so. This being the case, why do we attach so much weight to what another person says? We take offense even at the most innocuous utterance and we are elated at even the most banal of descriptions depending on who the person we are communicating with is…
Words are nothing but simple tools which at times we mistake for complex entities by taking whatever is said to be “As it is”…
This extract made me hunt more of Iris Murdoch’s works and I have never been disappointed. If I can say that she was largely responsible for myself starting to write a diary collecting all the little dialogues and portions in whatever books I read which I like, I’d not be lying.
Planning to post more of this type in the future not confined to only Murdoch’s works…
Friday, March 7, 2008
When I return from work everyday, I see kids taking lessons from the house owner’s wife. Some of them smile at me and I smile back. There is this cute little girl and boy who raise their large eyes as if they are not enough to take in my appearance and I can’t help but smile at their expressions everyday. I feel welcomed in a manner much similar to how a person might feel when his favorite pet looks forward to his caress.
One day, the lady of the house wanted to ask me something and since she felt the kids might do a better job in conveying the matter in English, she requested the little boy to stop me as I was going up to my room. He called “Uncle, stop!!” For a moment, I was surprised but soon enough recovered. Yes, I have never been called Uncle by anybody.
Coming from this little one, I smiled at him and in his own sweet English he told me whatever was necessary to be told. I realized that some people do take me for an uncle. Had I grown old? Do I look like an uncle to little ones? I know that it is only “Uncle” that the boy had remembered to use but nevertheless, would he have used a different word? It is futile to think in these terms. The crux is that, words hardly matter for how many times do we ever attach any worthwhile meaning to them? Uncle or Anna, he is comfortable talking to me and looks forward to my smile everyday. That is more important and I am glad about that!!
Nowadays, he says “Hi, uncle!!” as I go up and I say “Hi” in return!!