Thursday, 14 February 2013

The Search for Silence.


Somebody mentioned that you value a place because of the people- that the people are important. True. People make a place.

I wish he was wrong. People mean relationships. Relationships of any kind, are so difficult to deal with. Constant negotiations. Fragile, fraught with ego clashes and crushed feelings.
I equate people with society. Social "norms" have led to the need to have a public persona, as close to "who you are" without letting go of the shield against being battered by the big, bad world. I see these 'ladies' and envy their grace. Arms akimbo just hasn't gotten cool yet. I guess I just don't get some of the stuff you gotta do to be "graceful". The whole idea of 'ironing' your hair. I thought irons were for clothes. And I've barely mastered the art of that yet! And so am stuck with being the recipient of 'compliments' like "your hair looks crazy". I call it a compliment because that's the only time anyone ever notices my hair!

Then comes the assortment of batons, wands, metal prongs and coloured bars that make your skin look "flawless" and your beauty, "natural". Somehow believed that kinda stuff came from eating right and being happy.

I know being happy today is tough. Especially when adverts are constantly trying to convince you that you can't be happy without so-and-so thing, which comes with 'new and advanced' technology or some crap. So either you are constantly buying the latest bling on the block or you're trying to escape it. Even if you try and escape it by dying in the heat in the soporific seaside state of Goa, being happy is still kinda tough when you are constantly trying to keep your temper in a deep, dark well of your mind instead of thinking about putting the person opposite you in deep, dark well instead! All this while you're trying to bring a basic shred of sanity in an already confusing daily life. Confusion breeds worry. Worry kills happiness. Unhappy people tend to rub off bad vibes on others. And happy people are usually too annoying to have around because I mostly fail to understand why they're happy. The reason why I have so many failed and forgotten friendships behind me.

The constant negotiations are overwhelming. Which leads to the "running away syndrome" as a friend lovingly calls it. It happens every time it seems like yet another friendship is gonna dive bomb. No, really. I'm not so sure why that's a problem. It's a simple self-preservation technique.

There was a story I'd heard. About two people. Who were great together. So much so that everyone told them so. Neither of them really liked the fact that they were great together. They spent all their time together arguing about how they were not great together, and all their time apart chasing other people. You see, they were both afraid of emotions. Emotions are like riding the roller-coaster. You know exactly when your seat is gonna loop out from under you, giving you that gut-numbing twisted squeeze. So when it was time for them to move on, move away, they both jumped at the opportunity. But you know how a roller-coaster is, right? You know you hate it but you still go back for a ride, just to check if you got over wanting to throw up some. So once it was decided that it was time for them to move on, move away, she realized she was gonna miss him. And told him so. He said "Yeah, am gonna miss you too, bro."  

It's tough to have a fluid, easy-going friendship. Love has become a commodity, and like every other commodity, when they start stuffing it in your face, it is simply the most frightening thing on this earth and you never wanna be caught anywhere near it. Everywhere I go, love is depicted and highlighted in so many different ways. And you become more self conscious as you go. Driving a stake just that bit deeper into your already fragile 'whatever-it-is' state of being.  The flippant banter about a metal beast becomes a big deal because it matters to different people at multiple levels. It oozes machismo, and the thump is seductive. AND riding pillion is so easy. No awkward heights that stretch un-exercised hamstrings. No backaches induced by mindless bumping over the tyre battered roads. But. To be associated or be thrilled by such machismo in this fast-becoming-feminist world is shameful misogyny. Add to it a dash of already complicated stand-off between people trying to maintain peace in an already awkward friendship and you have yet another stretch of silence on the way home.

The bestest people I've ever met yet are dogs. They come. They drool. They hold out their paw. You pick out ticks. They roll on the floor, grumbling under their breath while contorting to scratch that itch while you watch with great amusement. All this in the middle of a another perfectly maddening day at work. You eat. They watch your food. You feed them. You sit on the sand together. Silence. Solace.


Don't get me wrong. I do like some people. For rare lil bits of time. The few who let me be awkward and silly and serious and giggling, all at the same time. There are some who can tolerate me for their versions of rare lil bits of time. There's this one friend, with whom my relationship can best be described as The Lady and The Tramp. This friend is all clean, conscientious, fastidious, health freak. The Lady. And I am confused and conked out. The Tramp. And then there's the Giggly Girl. And a coupla other random flotsam jetsam people I collected while escaping from every city I felt I might fall in love with. The TV girl. The wannabe-lawyer. The killer of poachers. The paper-waali. Midnight bike rides. The business hone-wala tycoon. The hippie girl. The crazy firang. The lil brother. Yes, I do have some cool friends. But I have cooler dogs.

I always imagined that one day I would find the one job I simply love, and then I would do that forever. I found that job. I know now that I can't do it much longer. I need to escape again. Too many memories, too much disillusionment, and too much familiarity. My directional dyslexia[1] is so well known. Now I can guide people across Goa. That just ruins my reputation! I managed to salvage it a couple of times by getting hopelessly lost when getting from A to B - but failed to uphold it entirely because we reached our ultimate destination eventually!! And it is no longer holds the same fascination as a year ago. A year ago I had friends. We would chill and talk about our existence in this universe or argue the merits of 'gora' boys over Indian men.[2] Now it's about random messages via social media about how much we miss each other. The new friends here are prototypes of the old ones gone by. So the weird Brit accent to the very very Indian English "Come na" is so welcome to my ear that anyone speaking that way is like a long lost friend. And I've begun accumulating a lot of 'friends' now who believe that "I have a friend who lives in Goa" automatically means "she is a free guest-house & guide combined".

Most days I wake up feeling old & stressed out - which is kinda lame for a 26 year old who gets to travel across the country and meet crazy ass people every day. I don't want to meet those crazy people anymore. Am too disillusioned. Now, I more than happy to scan through uber-popular social networking sites to be able to look at photos of all the dogs I've had the privilege of meeting. I am beginning to believe again it's time to run. And I know, no matter where I go, there will always be some over friendly, and usually wet or muddy, dog, waiting for me to get there, just waiting to embark on the food-filled journey to track down the ever-elusive silence & solace and reclaim it once again.




[1] Stole this wonderful phrase from Arundhati Roy's 'Walking With the Comrades'.
[2] Indian men are nicer, their accent is easier to understand, but they don't know how to approach women usually. Gora boys have weird accents, but ultimately go away, saving you the trouble of battling off clinginess or 'what will happen to us now' fears! 

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