Monday, November 5, 2007

Conversation - Asking & answering life’s questions

Unlike many of my friends, I am not passionate about sports or music. Mildly interested maybe, but no passion there. Books, films, clothes, history- yes these are special. But what I enjoy the most is basic, intelligent conversation. Inside my own head, but better still, with another person. It fuels my thoughts, gets my mind whirring. It’s the one thing I crave for – genuine conversation. Not to be confused with chit chat or idle banter or sweet nothings or small talk. I mean genuine, wholesome conversation. Like a full bodied cup of coffee. Drenching your insides with something strong and fragrant and powerful. Filling your senses, waking you up. Reminding you – I think, therefore I am.

So, conversation… I look for it everywhere. Sometimes it’s one off. Someone who is randomly interesting, but not lastingly so. Sometimes I go back for more. Other times, I know I should not, because it will dilute the spur it gave to my mind, if followed by insipid, tired, dull talk. Sometimes I find it in the least expected places and people, and sometimes the sureshot ones disappoint me.

Conversations for me are soul food. I live for that moment when I can connect. I live so I can feel deeply and think clearly. It’s when I experience flow, that fleeting time, when hours seem like minutes; those moments that make life worth living. Conversation does not have to lead to anything or give me a definite ‘outcome’. It is pleasure for its own sake, not for what it can lead to.

Some interesting tidbits of recent conversations
“I don’t want to be 60 and realize I never lived”
Said so often, but practised so little. I want to prioritise. I want to learn. I want to be there for those who need me. I want to love and be loved. I want to build something big that outlasts me. I want to be useful for more than just me.

“What do you want to do with your life?”
One of those basic existential questions. Tough to answer, impossible to avoid. So life, my biggest resource, getting spent every second… how can I channelize it so I am happy? How can I channelize it so I can give back. I know I have so much, how can I use my life to actually say thank you to God. What should I do so it’s worth living?

“One half of the world doesn’t know how the other three quarters lives”
Beautiful. What a way to put it – not only do I not know how the other people live or think, I don’t even know who or how many there are. Just a reminder, that no matter how broad your horizon is, you are but one person. You have but two eyes. How very arrogant it would be to think you know all.

“Atypical at home, atypical abroad”
The story of any of us. The little bit of outsider inside each of us. Like me, I was the advocate of women’s education, of having a choice whether to and whom to get married to, remarriage for those who are no longer with their partners, relationships beyond hierarchy, respect for the individual and such other ‘avant garde’ ideas. Now that I am away from my own country, I am always thinking and sometimes talking about respect for elders, a ‘right’ age for marriage, the meaninglessness of relationships without commitment & respect, importance of social safety nets & even near vegetarianism. I am atypical everywhere. A part of society, but a little alone. That is why this sentence struck me. What a thought – atypical everywhere.
How perspicacious. How discerning. How ruthless. How true.

So conversation it is. Are you the next person who will set this mind in motion?


Artemis Fowl III said...

wonderfully written bhavna... the general idea is excellent... :-)

i have one point to make. dont your think there is a seeming disconnect at places? for example, at one place you said, you dont talk for reaching an outcome... but at another place you talk of the importance of wisdom of the talks that affect things with an outcome, like marriage.

one philosophical thought here, with your permission... everyone atypical has so many else similar to him... doesnt it strike you that still such people are the ones who are also lonely?

i wish i had a writing ability like yours bhavna, then i could also write as well as you do and maintain my blog

Bhavna said...


about what you are saying about disconnect... maybe i dint write as clearly... i meant that conversation as a medium is fulfilling for me even if there is no outcome... marriage is another issue, it's sometimes the content of certain conversations with friends...
for example, if I am talking of marriage with a friend (marriage being a thing with an 'outcome' as you put it) we dont have to agree on what we think or arrive at some common conclusion or consensus... just an exchange of ideas and learning what my friend thinks and being able to share my own thoughts with him or her is what i seek from a good conversation...

i hope im not sounding cryptic & roundabout...

Srivats said...

conversations are very often vapid. I try to avoid them. Conversations over the phone particularly, sometimes. you find yourself playing roles. imo there are two types of interesting conversations. 1 The serious talk over a long walk or when there is a particularly burning issue to discuss. with a good friend. 2 when with the right group of friends and either humour or the natural chemistry in the group takes over.

Vikram Mall said...

Hi Bhavna

Nice to see you write so beautifully again. All conversations need not have an outcome. For instance, you find the psuedo intellects who pride in the cliched statement " I will always be a learner...the forever student"

Helloooooooo....when will you share what you have learnt. Or are you only going to to be sucking out everything without payday.

Of here is my take on this. Youy can always learn but once you start to teach your learning has new perspectives and is richer as it is fuelled by thinking minds...besides yours.

Same for conversations...

It's been a month since you posted. There are people who check to see if you have written or not.