Sunday, October 25, 2009

Some Friendly Calls

These are pressing times, and indeed, some times are pressing enough to make one feel pressed hard to work … and writing takes a step back. So are these times now as I make my way through important areas of life at work.

‘abey saala, where are you?’, inquired the friend on my phone … he was just about looking enraged as I remained lost for him for quite some time.

‘nothing yaar’, I remarked, ‘just tight with work … bus’ was my reply.

But his voice made me feel a bit of comfort, even if it started with some profanity. And markedly enough, such are the ways friendly guys often get to address each other. Boys seem to be so used to it that these have become powerful as friendly salutations.

During our times, we never dared to use obscenities in front of women … not even from the same class in school. But then, this ‘saala’ remained a great favourite among us. No wonder we tried to make some girls comfortable with this one word, no matter how difficult it was to do in our times!

Life has come full circle … and now girls seem to have allowed the entry of such words. Well, may be some of them. Friendly calls, well, few have been pretty obnoxious to even wonder about.

When we were kids, I remember distinctly a sure way to greet parents of our friends was a discreet ‘namaste uncle’ or a ‘namaste aunty’. Nothing more, and they would sure give us a tight hug, or a sweet kiss used to be planted on our docile cheeks.

Addressing elder humans, I must agree, have been easier. But not friends, as they grow pretty interesting at times.

Some time back, here was a guy, though known to me but writing to me for the first time. His was a business mail which started of rather, well, not the way we were used to reading the first mail.

‘hey, remember me?’, and I was quite taken aback!

Was he calling me from among a crowd? I wondered. My limited knowledge of the English language didn’t help either. I was disappointed, why would I even respond to such a mail?

I was probably wrong. Not knowing really that this salutation would soon become one of the more comfortable ones in the professional world. Though I felt a bit lost at first, gradually the ‘hey’ didn’t remain just a shout … it became a loud call … something I was asked to hear.

In the web world, when I was new, there was quite a bit of confusion when I first read someone comment on my writing as ‘dear, loved your writing …’.

‘Dear?’, I said to myself … ‘why would I be dear to her?’ But that was three years back.

This lady (a big girl now) remains a great friend of mine … and indeed she can be called dear today. She is a dear friend, and remains dear with whatever she stands for in life.

‘Dear friend’ is a salutation that we often use in writing, and so the word ‘dear’ now seems closer to me than it was before. Now I use ‘dear’ freely, without any sense of gender or any discrimination. A harmless address, the ‘dear’ seems a comfortable call for me.

At least, I can put to text some additional affection to my friends who richly deserve it.

I can’t end without this episode from my school life. Here was this very good-looking girl, Priya, who we naturally loved to play with. We were in Class three, and happily enjoying the first seeds of the flirted life!

Priya was a darling … and honestly, we were quite baffled with her baby beauty. Those plump cheeks, all pink … and the wonderful black hair neatly tied with ribbons. That day, I decided to call her and play hide and seek. Oh well, she initially agreed … and then in the midst of play, I dared to seek out those who were hidden.

Among the bushes in the far corner of the school ground was Priya, hidden among the greenery. When I went to seek her, she was caught absolutely unaware. With a sudden jerk, I screamed from behind on seeing her in the bushes. She was shocked … and within seconds, started to cry loudly. Out of fear, I supposed.

Honestly, a not-so-fair guy has never looked decent among the bushes!

She got really angry on that day. Poor me, for no fault of mine, she also started to dislike me afterwards. Those junior primary days, I thought love and hate were just four-letter words. But the wiser disagreed. This friend, a hunk by the name Bharat Bhushan, advised

‘Ulloo ke patthey, why do you always indulge with snob girls?’, he retorted, ‘they are not fit for you, you understand? … just remain with those who are good sport’.

The offensive word translates to ‘son of the owl’. Still on that occasion, when I was totally confused as to why Priya had started to hate me, even the ‘Ulloo ke Patthey’ gave a lot of encouragement!

To this day, I abide by those words of wisdom.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Emotional Icons

He was brooding … and all through the chat session with me, he kept complaining that he didn’t feel like writing again. The symbol :( was all over … and I could sense that he had developed a feeling against writing.

I wrote – ‘we can’t live if we don’t express, can we?’

He seemed to agree. On the same note, I wrote again – ‘to write is to live this virtual life, isn’t it?’

This time he smiled … and soon this happier icon emerged on the chat window – :)

A smiley needs no introduction. Nor does the sigh … emoticons are friendlier these days. When these were introduced to me a few years back, I had initially frowned. Not knowing whether a person can really show such emotions virtually.

To this date, I have smiled, frowned, sighed virtually … and every time I do that (at times they are reciprocated by another virtual person), I feel extremely curious.

Did the person actually do ‘that’ while she (or he) was typing those words for me?

Pure selfish thoughts, but I feel for that moment when a person punctuates words with that exemplary symbol of emoticon attached. Feels like a thousand words in addition to the text.

Emotions on Net aren’t rare … but when they come in the form of symbolic icons, I feel a change from the way I interpret the accompanied text.

Am I becoming a too addictive to cyber emotions? May be, I always was.

During an interesting chat, I prefer to tease with fewer words but leave a wink … the wink that has grown into a cult symbol now among friendly circles. They are so like the real life, where a ‘strategic’ wink adds more value to the prank … and delivers a sporting feeling within the conversation.

Interestingly enough, I like those who have made ‘wink’ a form of art while they text. Not sure whether some are shy in using that, though in India there were societies that once discouraged a wink, at least the physical one!

Do they still do so? I would never know.

An exception is when someone gets angry, there is a considerable lesser use of emoticons. I don’t fully understand that, but could be because there are fewer icons to represent the facial expressions of anger.

Frustrations can be vented, yet the use of emoticons could have made it even more meaningful. Just as there are no emoticons to show mental sadness … and for those darker times of gloom. Why would that be?

Years ago, a friend was devastated that the guy who she had loved had to leave her life. We had a conversation that lasted an hour … and she sounded completely distraught. A poet that she was, her words were deep and meaningful. At times she did stop for a moment to ponder on her life.

There was a need for emoticons … at least for the silent flow of tears that I could feel coming from her words. I felt as if she needed something more to express.

Alas, she could not. There were no emotional icons to deliver the punch in her sadness.
Her heart was heavy, the mood sullen … yet such emotions were limited to using only words. Nothing more added to the meaning.

Looking back, I like to ask – are emoticons only for comfortable times?

This may not be true always … but emotions are well expressed when they are dark and deep. Also when they hurt the most, and in case they hurt our own self.

The question is – whether someone would like to use icons even during sad times. I am consciously open to a debate, though there isn’t much to suggest why they won’t. If they could give a big grin or stick their tongues out in jest, why would they not silently post a symbol in case they fall short of words … when they just feel too heavy inside to write something meaningful to convey?

To this date, I feel for the lady on that day. She remained unexplored on emotions!

Ending on a happier note, I must mention this young friend of mine. She is an angel, a person who had a not-so-happy past as a child … but has definitely expressed her emotions to me at times to free her soul. Needless to write, I have tried my best to give my full support. The other day she was so happy after I wrote her a mail encouraging her to never look back at her life.

In that happiest moment after reading my mail, she felt ecstatic. And in response, she wrote only two lines. She wrote,

“thanx a ton ….

Muuuuaaaaaahhhhhhs … and loads of ‘em for ya”

Virtual kisses! Don’t they give the feel of the same moistness as they do in real life?

Thursday, October 1, 2009

The night I wanted to die

She wanted to sleep with me, it was I who refused.

Why? I don’t know. May be since we weren’t married yet.

“You’re a kid”, she said

“But I don’t like to be too adult” (I intended the pun)

It was at the Flagstaff hotel, near the Grand Canyon, Arizona. Double bed, three-star – Courtyard by Marriott was the name.

“Do you ever feel like making love, dear?”

“I do. But not the way you think I should”, I replied

“Honey, I want to feel your warmth”

“I can feel it, but then I can’t sleep with you”

“How do you feel?”

“From your presence, the soft presence … your touch … so warm”

“Like me touching you?”

“Yes, or when you gently touch your lips with mine”

“Still you won’t sleep with me tonight?”

“I don’t think so … don’t quite get the zing”

“Why the hell?”, She seemed frustrated.

“’cause I feel it will get too body-body … and there will be no warmth left after to enjoy”

“You are such a freak!”

“Yeah, miss, I am … and you’re in the company”

She went out of the room on that chilly November night. Standing on the balcony, she took a strong puff from her cigarette.

As if she vented all her anger on the butt.

I remained unfazed. I wasn’t aroused … the whole sleep feel put me off.

Hours later, she came back. I lay still in bed, dreaming of the deeper ravines we visited that morning. In one of those darker corners of the canyon, amidst the coloured rocky layers on the walls of the gorge, I felt as if we lay still.

She had clasped my lips with hers.

We lay there. Lifeless.

I enjoy death … or being dead. I kept thinking to die on that day. No passion touched me, no erotica … I felt like a soul floating amidst the Colorado River bed … unhindered.

Do saints feel like that?

She touched my back … softly moving her nose on me, and caressed my body with her lips.

“That’s you ... so much you”, I mumbled

“Do you like this?”

“I do, don’t mind you sitting by my side the whole night”

“But you don’t like me to lie by your side and sleep?”

“Ah, why don’t you understand?”

“I do, I do … it’s you sometimes who miss my beats”

“I am sorry, deeply sorry … I mean it”

“You don’t have to … just sleep tight”

She got up, and quietly went to sleep in her own bed.

… … …

That night, I really wanted to die. Amidst those deep dark brown ravines.

It’s another story that I failed in death.

Can’t we just die on purpose?