Thursday, April 05, 2007

Feeling lonely

Came home today to what is the beginning of a long weekend and for the first time in my life perhaps, felt lonely.

Wanted to go out for the evening, watch a movie, have dinner, perhaps catch up over coffee … but there was no company.

Rather ironic given that I have always loved solitude.

Back in school, I looked forward to the Durga Puja holidays. It would generally be for about a week or so. Not enough time for me to go home and come back. So, I’d be the only one in the hostel. Sometimes there would be a few others. However, my block would generally be empty.

It was a nice feeling - getting up to a crisp October morning, knowing that there was nothing to do the whole day. The mess would also be understaffed over the holidays which meant that you couldn’t be late at meal times. So, I’d get up, brush and reach the mess in time for breakfast.

Once that was done, I had pretty much the rest of the day and the school building to myself. I loved walking down the empty corridors. My favorite block – I don’t remember the name any more – was past the school clinic, behind the parking lot for the eighty or so school buses and in front of the one of the school fields.

The class rooms in this block were nicer than the others. They were built like terraces – as in an amphitheatre – with the board at the well of the room and benches leading all the way up to the top.
The classes would always be locked during the holidays. I found one whose door could be opened despite the lock by pushing against it, and once inside, you could push it closed again and it appeared to be locked from outside.

I remember spending a lot of time there, reading various books and once in a while, studying. This is where I acquainted myself with Richard Bach, Robert Pirsig, Gibran, Carlos Castenada and Feynman to name a few … some of the others, forgotten because I did not concur with them.

I also remember a family of kites nesting in a tree near that class room. It was quite fascinating to watch them bring rats, squirrels and god knows what else to feed their young.

Eventually, I would drag myself back to my room for a shower and in time for lunch – which at times would be better than usual since there were so few of us that the cook could actually afford to experiment with Quality for a change.

The nights would be awesome too. By October, it was cool enough for the grass to have dew or frost … not sure what … but the grass would be wet by the time dinner was done … so you could walk bare-feet in the field by yourself and come back to the room.

The room would be cool, and it would be quiet too … and all the lights would be off for a change. The only sounds would those of the ceiling fans and the tinny music from the water purifiers attached to the water coolers.

The memories, sweet as they are, are not the point why I started writing this post. This “feeling lonely” thing is a whole new experience. It is a good thing and a bad thing. It is good because I am experiencing something new. It is bad because I always felt that if you are centered in your self, at peace and happy, then there is no such thing as being lonely. This therefore probably indicates that at least one or more of these is missing in my current constitution.

I have decided against trying to go hunting for a problem and fixing it though – the typical engineering approach to all of life – fix it. Now that finally, I am feeling this elusive feeling, I might as well learn about it and about how to deal with it before moving on.

Luckily for me, the entire carpet did not get swept out from under my feet in one go … and some things still work … As I cooked dinner tonight, I felt the magic of the experience (I have already ranted about my love for cooking in a few previous posts I think). As the familiar sounds, sights and smells started to embrace me, the stillness that it restored was almost palpable.

Have waxed eloquent for long enough – time to check what the food tastes like… stillness of the mind is incidental to the act … what really matters is the taste of the food :)

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

just so much cotton

was channel surfing over the weekend when I came across some mushy movie starring the same guy from serendipity ... and probably along the same lines too ... the name eludes me at this moment.

anyway, I was watching it ... cant quite call it that ... just that I had nothing better to do ... when I suddenly realized that the movie was filmed in Chicago ... and that made me sit up straight ...

later, as I walked out to buy myself some death-sticks, the thing was still on my mind - my reaction to the sight of Chicago. I spoke about new york once, in one of my previous posts and now, I realized that Chicago is probably as important to me.

The interesting thing is that I haven't really stayed in any one place for any length of time. As a result, though there are a lot of cities and towns that I like, there is no one place that is really really special.

"Home" is wherever my parents happen to be at any point in time ... and for a long time, my "place" would be wherever my rucksack happened to be lying.

At the end of it though, some places have touched me and others haven't.

Was trying to make some sense of this. Was wondering, how the relation works. How a place can leave a mark on a person ... and conversely, how a person can leave his or her mark on a place.

As I was walking, the wind picked up a little and some dust and paper scraps were blown around my feet. An analogy came to mind.

We are a lot like little wisps of cotton ... some wound tightly into balls, some just wisps that may come apart at any moment ... a few, somewhere in between a ball and a wisp.

And we go about life, wind blown. The balls not going as far as the wisps ... and as we touch things, we invariably pick up some stuff and we leave some stuff behind. The cotton analogy can go on and on ...

The conclusion though (keeping it short) is that when a place or a person really beckons, it is perhaps not so much about how attached you are to this place or person - it is about how much of yourself you left behind when you collided last.