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Sunday, February 24, 2013

Thoughts~#3: Conversations Happen

Often when I see people around me connect with each other over a conversation, I wonder, how much there is to a conversation. I have had some interesting ones with complete strangers, people from several walks of life; on a variety of topics.
At times, I thank the Almighty for this. Such conversations teach one a lot. After most such, I have stopped to pen my thoughts down.  At times I forget to do so, but the “image” etches itself in my mind, and heart…so somehow, I have always been able to retain moments from every such.
And I think, it is not easy to talk, and then to be able to speak, and to eventually connect with someone. Conversations don’t come easy…and oftentimes, you have to make them happen.
An interesting article in the newspaper today made me think on this.
How far people go to connect with others around them? See this: 100 conversations over a 100 cups of tea
Some of us are configured in such a way that a conversation is something we may not relish. Acceptable. Consider these though. Everyone. 
Letters are a thing of the past now. The written word on the brink of extinction. I shudder to think on this line. While letters were more about connecting, electronic mails are all about curtness. How well can you snub the other; perhaps how well did you show the other person his/her place. Irksome, to my mind. Opinions differ, perspectives change. I’d be glad to hear back from those of you who have had great experience or fond memories from these. Often one experiences how the written word alienates you; the spoken word can too, but the degree varies.
Language is not a barrier. You know it. I found it while undergoing my Initial Learning Program at my organization. The woman in-charge of washing dishes all trainees ate out of was a native of Kerala, in India. She would stand each day, behind a counter-the service window, just her hands visible to everyone who passed by to hand the finished plate over for washing. Not quite liking the work she did, I would bend down, and look her in the eye, smile and say thank you, every time I went to the service window to keep my used plate. She would smile back and shake her head, side-to-side. This went on for 25 days. We used sign language to connect. No words, beyond thank you…any other, in our own languages; and a lot of smiles. She treated me to a piece of cake from her meagre salary even as I vehemently refused. To cut the long story short, all of that was a conversation. Language and education, notwithstanding.
Chat’s not helping us either. No formal closures on chat (Google, Yahoo!, other such); unlike a conversation. Don’t you see that happen as the new normal now? Perhaps you do it too. I consciously try not to fall prey to it.
Have you ever stopped to think, that a ‘chat’ is a conversation. Imagine. You are speaking with someone, and suddenly, the person just gets up from the chair, and walks away.
The electronic word and world have taken a toll of sorts on possible conversation and on that which happens.
These above have had some bearing to different levels, on our capacities and abilities to converse with other beings, and people. A conversation is imperative to man’s survival. With the art (and beyond) of conversation soon vanishing, we may live to see a day when we want to connect, but can’t find the means. Where a conversation becomes an art/thing extinct. Where people don’t “see” its importance, and therefore cease to connect for a conversation over something big or small.
Reminds me of a few lines from RN Tagore’s poem, A Broken Song~ where there is no love, where the listeners are dumb, there never can be a song.

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