Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Silver Silence

I just sat there on the carpet. Quiet. Leaning against the Deevan. My head, cuddled in my own arms, rested on it. My legs folded. Lips curved into a smile. A thousand thoughts in my heart. No words on my lips. Just a smile. And a very special person, sitting very close by.

This was me. Two nights ago. It was me, unlike me. I am known to be garrulous. I am extremely (in)famous for elevating the levels of irascibility of people close to me through my incessant chattering. I enjoy talking. I enjoy talking because I enjoy sharing. Unfortunately, for a really long period in life, I thought talking was the only way of sharing. I could not have been more wrong. Someone very special taught this to me.

This special someone is a very reticent person by nature. As a child, it was this very trait of his which irritated me most about him. When I grew up, I realized that this reticence was perhaps a strength which accentuated his personality like nothing else. He is a person I am veritably, crazily in love with. And he is one of those whose love is accessorized by a silent sharing of thoughts. My extremely special bond with him is carved out of sublime understanding sans words. Of late, what I have begun enjoying the most about us is our silent companionship- the deep knowledge that we're around each other even if we cannot hear each other.

'Silence is Golden'-we've all read this note prominently displayed in our school libraries. (My college library did not have one, they simply chucked us out if we as much as uttered a word). However, the silence which accessorizes love is better described as 'silver'. This silence lingers around you, helps you realize the value of your company, makes the thousand thoughts scurrying in the insides of your heart come to a rest, and still, it never ostentatiously stares you in the face. It, as I said, gently lingers around you. It is a comfort factor. Anyone with whom you don't share a comfortable relationship, you would never be able to share fond moments of silence with. Silence, then, might irk, for you would, most of the times, will be lost in a guessing game.

Any relationship begins by talking, matures with understanding, and stabilizes at the point where two people can sit together, not uttering a word, and still be glad at the time they break away from each other for having lived, perhaps the most perfect and memorable of moments together. It happened with my two nights ago. I was, as I said, with a very, very special person. Just so the romanticism of the narration is not misconstrued, I must mention that this special someone is my elder brother, cousin actually, who filled that void in my life which did make me crib ceaselessly as a small girl. While I would be crying silently to myself as I saw other girls of my age being pampered by their elder brothers, cursing my luck for not having one of my own, this person was always around. Looking out for me. Watching over me. He just never spoke much. Dumb me, I construed the lack of words on his part as his absence. He, in fact, has had the longest, strongest, and fondest   presence in my life; more than anything, a presence which I can blindly rely on, a presence which dispels any insecurities characteristically borne out of extreme levels of attachment. I know he'll be there. And he'll be taking care of me.

He's given me everything a real brother could have and should have. That too, sitting at a distance. I, proudly commanded a tiny portion of his first salary. He, even before it was in sight, promised me the first gift he would give out of his 'own' money. He looks after all my needs. A single phone call, and they are all answered. He'll never question me. He's is subtly protective of me; I, aggressively so. I can't have anything hurt him. At times I wish I never came to know of things not so fine in his life. Yet, whenever he shared things with me, gloomy or happy, I could not help but feel a little proud. Of all the people close to him, he chose me. Call me thrasonical. I'd still feel equally happy.

We talk a lot on phone, but forget how to interact once in each others company. What cannot be found amid chatter, is comfortably perceived in silence. It is through him I categorically understood how we need silence to touch the heart of people close to us. Most special moments of my life flashed behind my eyes. The feelings generated by them wafted upwards from where they were buried in my memory. And I felt happy. And thankful. Thankful for many special moments life has bestowed on me. Most thankful for the one when I walked a long distance holding the hand of a very special friend. We were talking, and I remember nothing of it. I only remember how it felt. True, people will not remember what you said or you did, but they'll always remember how you made them feel. Feelings like this are best assimilated when your lips are shut and your heart talks. Those feelings shimmered like silver through my eyes. Once again, I felt infinitely happy.

Silence makes the real conversation between friends. Not the saying but the never needing to say is what counts.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Day One @ Work

No. Not quite. Not work actually. I just had a lengthy, fun, funny, and an extremely extravagant Orientation Ceremony with a company which after two rounds of extremely grilling interviews found me fit to be recruited with them. I have not the cutest of littlest of clues why they did that. My interview was nothing spectacular. Under instructions from my goddess-cum-mentor*, I only blabbered some confident nonsense. What I do remember as my high point during the interview was when I sang. Yes! I sang to grab what was for me the final opportunity to lend some measure of safety to my very uncertain future. Now when I look back and remember it, I am stunned at the choice of my song. It was the most poignantly romantic ghazal I could have rummaged for in my song bank. Good part- it softened the features on the hitherto wood-like face of my interviewer. Bad part- It still couldn't stop me from cursing those who now seem pseudo-angels to me.

It was fun- I called myself a cat and a parrot in the same breath during my introduction (under duress, I assure). Played games. Lost at them. Confessed to being a helpless nocturnal. Interacted with guys, after almost an eon. Sounds like a party right? It was kind of one. Except we were dressed in formals.
It was extravagant- The venue was Le Meridien. We were served food and lots of caffeine throughout the day. The ambiance cried out to be clicked and frozen in elegant frames. The smells, the color, the decor, the delicacies, all were in tandem- competing for attention, yet subtly bowing down to accentuate the overall effect.

We, a batch of 25 freshers, did not learn a lot about the profession, very little about the job we're supposed to do. All we heard was about the glory of the company (which honestly left me very, very impressed) and the majesty of the profession (which, again honestly, helped me clear my dubiousness about getting into this line of work). We met our seniors at work. We were assigned a mentor, who, I was happy to find out, is an alumnus of our college. The day ended even better when we were successful in persuading our very benevolent Managing Director to shift the date of joining till about ten days ahead. We felt like we were back at college, negotiating with our lecturer to cancel lectures, to grant an extra attendance or to not teach us during that lecture hour.

The day was perfect. I had my best friend to share my happiness with after the Ceremony got over. The morning was special. My mother, with whom I share a communication incapability, did the best thing she could to make sure my day went well. It was a huge day for her as well. For my father too. Two decent/smart-looking stalkers in a white Santro escorted me home, passing all sorts of lewd comments, which did not bug me much, since I was in the familiar comfort of 'my area'. Bidding them a final adieu, I was smiling while I climbed up the stairs to my flat, for I could not get out of my head a sentence I had uttered to a table occupied by all our seniors-at-work, addressing our mentor solemnly and the laughter bouts it had resulted in- "Ma'am, will the work require a lot of brain? Incidentally, I don't have one." No exclamations. It is a fact.

More seriously, our chief mentor reiterated a line about four times, using analogies of markets and trends to drive home his point. "We fear when we should hope, and we hope when we should fear." I liked it. The essence and applicability of this line goes beyond just the markets. Worth ruminating on.This thought closed the first day of its kind for me.

*this person, a lot many people close to me would know, is undoubtedly, Cheistha Kochhar. It was by sheer luck that I met her, and by a great blessing that I got to be friends with her. For a lot of my stability and all traces of confidence left and instantaneous solutions to what are for me life threatening situations, I will forever be indebted to her. Thank you Cheistha. I'll always marvel at the person you are.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Fearing Failure

It is all happening! I did plan to take up a job one day, and was excited for it too , but now that it is finally happening, I am scared. Yes, the most admirable of people around me find this fear irrational; somewhere, I do too. But I cannot at the same time deny the fact that when I woke up this morning, I felt a little numb. Sweaty. It had got something to do with a dream last night, a very unpleasant spectacle. I do not remember the content. I only remember the feel. I saw myself failing. The fear of failure lingered on even after I opened my eyes. Today too, like many occasions before, I felt doubtful of my capabilities.

This fear, its been a part of me for quite sometime now. And it is a new experience for me. Also, it is not the most unnatural of things for me to experience when I see almost everyone around me well placed in their life. Those who are not are at least sure of where they are headed. I am none. Not settled. Not knowing where I am headed. In school, I have given many speeches in morning assemblies about the crippling effects of this fear of failure, have quoted liberally the immortal line of Shakespeare- 'Our doubts are but traitors, and make us lose the good we might do, by fearing to attempt'. I was silly, all this while, not to have realized that this dubiousness, this basic lack of confidence I am allowing to take roots in me will lead me to the same state of detriment which in my innocent tongued speeches I had warned the students and teachers of my school against.

All this, I began pondering over while watching the last episode of Sa Re Ga Ma Pa Little Champs. Before I get to 'the' incident, a little word on the programme itself. If you love music, and if you love music the way I love music, there is no way in which you can miss this programme. The quality of singers and the kind of music put on display is stunning to say the least. People on that show- the judges, mentors and the participants- know their music so well that a single episode of it sometimes serves as a tutorial for training-deprived-aspiring-singers like me. Anyway, so the incident I was referring to was of a girl, who stopped singing midway. She said her throat did not feel fine. I know why her throat did not feel fine. Twice I have given up singing midway during my performances. On both occasions, my throat did not feel fine. On both occasions, I  sang much better than my caliber in the last rehearsal before taking to stage. The doubt about being successful as I ascended on the stairs to stage transformed into an insurmountable fear as I started singing. In the midst of a performance, I had no clue how to deal with it. Worse still, I chose not to confront my fear. I chose to keep mum about it. Shied away from telling people. And since then, it has only grown.

With whatever little experiences I have had in life, I know for a fact that the best of opportunities are shaped during the worst of problems. At my level, I did try my best to fight this fear. I went on stage to put myself to test more than I did before. Those who stood with me know that my knees shook till convulsive limits. Those who saw me from the audience saw a faced accessorized with the perfectly confident smile while addressing them. I do not know if I can call this success- the fact that my body shivers and my temperature rises because of nervousness while I am on the final leg of executing a long planned event, but at the same time, people who see my performing end up admiring me for some or the other reason. 'You mask your nervousness brilliantly with that smile'- that's how one of my friends puts it. This I do not in the least say out of conceit. I do say it out of genuine confusion.

I think all of us have our fears. Also, all of us have our independent mechanisms to battle our own fears. Prolonging them, ignoring them, confronting them, or fooling them- most of us choose from these. I, mostly, try to fool my fears. I think that is what most people around me do when they are not brave enough to confront and dismiss them. "Tell yourself you're the best"- Isn't that what all of us are told to use as a invincible antidote to fear of failing? People say it's evoking belief in yourself. I think it's saying the cheesiest thing to fool yourself. Its also what those who're the closest to you tell just after you've proven yourself to be the perfect loser. Support comes for you in copious terms once you fail. Or are fearful of failing. When you dazzle with confidence, people are with you, not to support you, but to celebrate you. Just to rephrase it- You're supported through your failures, and given company through your successes.

I know categorically, its support, and not company that I have yearned for in the recent past. I have never really gotten over my fears; but I have perfected the art of masking them at least. I don't know if this will help in the long run. Sagacious thinking says it won't. Fear and laziness, I was informed by one of my friends, have led to the greatest of inventions throughout history. There is much truth in this line. As much as fear in projected as an empowering tool for progressiveness in the above line, I know the kind of fear I battle is crippling. It hinders growth. Entering into an unknown world excited me always; that was till when I did not associate any probability of failing once I entered the unexplored. Its visions of failure which I need to dispel. Why they are there, I don't know. How to get rid of them concretely, no clue. Guess I'll fool myself a while longer.

PS- Having said, rather typed all of this makes me feel better. Even confident people fear failure. Its only about time. I think it'll go.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Fearful, Hopeful

There is only an extent till which you can fight, I often quote. Thereafter, even you are a staunch disbeliever in destiny, you cannot do much, but wait and watch as it plays its cards. I fought to the best of my abilities, and my fight ended yesterday. Good or bad, I can no longer influence the results. Regrets? They always remain. You always feel you could have done something more, something better once things are beyond your control. There remains some regret after every exam for not having studied that one extra hour actually spent watching tv, or talking on phone, or simply gazing into nothingness. I have no such regrets, except may be an abstract pain somewhere inside my heart which says that something more could have been done to ensure victory. What more? I have not the minutest of clues.

So, basically, I'm confused. Obfuscated, as I like to fancifully call my state. I am putting up a brave face, trying to chill, but in reality, I have never been this scared in life. Honestly, I have never felt so much is at stake. Yesterday's performance was based on two years of practice and preparation. The result will determine if I can progress to the next level or will have to repeat whatever I did in past two years. Till then, confusion and fear reign supreme.

And, what does not help me at all in this scenario is a basic lack of ability to pray. I don't know how to. I never have. I wish I did, for when there was nothing concrete I could do, may be I could while away time, praying. "It was fear which first created Gods in the world".I am fearful, but I can't locate an object to pray to. Blessed am I, that there have been so many who've put faith in me, who are praying for me, and who, rather selfishly, I am asking to pray for myself. I just hope I stand to justify all the love and astonishing support I have gotten in the past two years. I hope there does eventually come this day when I can rush to all my friends and sport the brightest of smiles which conveys just everything to them. If you're reading this, and have in any measure liked or loved me ever, spare a second or two of your praying time for me. As I said, I can't. And, for the first time not being able to is making me feel crippled.

Hoping the light spreads faster