Tag Archives: Conversation

#Ideastory: Play-acting

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Let us drift on an ocean of ideas and call it conversation
Let’s share an AHA! moment and mistake it for compatibility
Let us feel the camaraderie of fellow voyagers and call it love

I will if you will. Shall we call it a date?

Two To Tango, Two To Talk

They say that sometimes the time isn’t right..
But I wonder, will it ever be?
How long is long enough to know what the truth is?
When will it be time to turn the suspected into the stated?

Are you ever short of an answer?

More often than I wish, yes.

Is this one of those times, then?

Perhaps…except they don’t last long but I still don’t have an answer
But wait…it has been so long I don’t remember the question

Let’s start over
You ask the question (if there is one)
And I’ll come up with an answer…I’ll think of something
I always do
But only if you give me something to think about first.

Deal?

At A Loss For Words

What do you call a couple of conversationalists who’re afraid to speak?

“Lost in translation.”

I grieve for the words we’ve lost.

Tiny Tales: The Battle Of The Sexes

She looked younger in real life. Younger, not better. At least, in the photograph on the website she was smiling.

“Sandeep? Hi. Sharia.”

He was already on his feet, shaking her hand. Then he stopped, hoping it wasn’t too vigorous a handshake and that her fingers weren’t hurting. He settled his fears with the thought that a business handshake should be firm.

“Yes. Well, I have a copy of your resume here, somewhere.”

She was rummaging through the glossy leather bag now. He was unsure whether to sit or not. Then feeling foolish, he sat down. She looked up and in her soft tones, said,

“So tell me, Sandeep, why do you want to work for a women’s website?”

“Why not?”

She didn’t say a word but a faint ripple moved horizontally across her eyebrow line. It was the minutest of eyebrow-raises. The burst of confidence that had spattered across his insides after his first bold move dried up, leaving grimy marks on his self-esteem. He managed to stay silent even though his gulp sounded deafening to his own ears.

Twenty minutes later, the conversation had settled, just like the coffee that had sunk to foam rings at the bottom. She excused herself and walked to the door next to the counter. He watched her hips beat time to the clack of her heels on the wooden flooring.

What should he do now? Was he supposed to wait for her answer? No, she would probably need some time before getting back to him. It seemed rude to get up and leave.

The bill. That might be a good next step. Except should he pay or not? She was a modern woman and a successful one; the chief of a woman-centric business. She might be offended if he did so. But she looked like a classy lady. Even the heels of her shoes had no mud on them. She was probably used to a lot of attention and luxury. She looked…high-maintenance. And didn’t those women usually expect the man to be ‘chivalrous’?

He would probably write an article on the confusion around that word. That is if he could pass it through what might be a formidable editorial team. The entire team would probably be like her. The very thought made him feel a little sick. But the bill was still unpaid and she hadn’t come back yet. What if he was supposed to leave and she came back and found him still there? She might think he was desperate for the job, or a creepy stalker type or something.

He let out his breath in a loud whoosh and made up his mind. He stood up, stepped over to the counter and tapped on the marble top.

“Did the lady ask for anything else?”

The man behind the counter looked at him blankly and shook his head. From the corner of his eye, Sandeep saw the door next to the counter open. Sharia moved towards him, a smile suddenly lighting up her face. Suddenly she looked very beautiful, just as she had on the website.

“Welcome to Woman’s World, Sandeep.”

Conversations

Some conversations are traps, some are escapes

Some are tunnels leading into dark corners
Some are treasure hunts turning up duds
Some are potholes ending in pots of gold

Some are mere rituals
Some are verbal dances

But only sometimes, are they communication.

The Colour Of Nostalgia

“I miss the good old days when portrait painting was the only form of visual reproduction. But of course, you are too young to remember that.”

I read the words in a tiny glass screen in the palm of my hand. Not a muscle moved, not even an eyelash flicker.

You don’t show emotion, reading an SMS. And yet, those stark words behind a scratched window, no bigger than your palm, tie you to another person in another frame, another time. How can you not respond?

I wonder how to say it’s not déjà vu if you remind me of an emotion, not a place. And it’s not who you remind me of or when or even why.

It is that you do
and that connects you
to things
and times
and places
that you never were at,
through me.

It connects you to me.

I didn’t remember what it was like to feel this way and you reminded me. And all those memories that lined up behind the me that you know, of the me that you never did? How young am I if I can remember all that you don’t even see? Time is marked by the trails it left and not by how quickly it passed. And what else is nostalgia, but tracking those trails, with the imagination following them back as far as they go?

And all of that can be said in one look but not an SMS. I put down my cup and type,

“I have memories, alright. Sepia-toned ones.”

And underneath my words, a swirl of cream turns, speckled with tiny spots of coffee.

Tiny Tales: Bitter Coffee

The Corner Coffeeshop was open for business but its traffic was at a lull. It was too early in the evening for the post-work crowd, too late for the students and AC-enjoying unemployed to be hanging around.

Outside, the sun had gone down but that curious combination of atmospheric density and light’s acrobatic bending made it seem like daylight was still around.

Such were his thoughts, where another person would have called it twilight. He grimly thought to himself that she would have referred to Van Gogh’s ‘Starry Nights’ while all along he’d be thinking of the diagrams in the physics textbooks about light refraction.

He was already seated on the bar-stool near the window, his bag on the seat next to his, to save it for her. In front of him was a cappuccino. With deliberate precision, he emptied two sachets of sugar into the cup and tossed the empty packets into the dustbin near the end of the table. She preferred espresso shots but he couldn’t stand their acrid taste. But he didn’t want another lecture on calorie count either.

Outside, the object of his ruminations had just neared the door and was standing but not entering. Then she squared her shoulders, took a deep breath and walked in.

He saw her from the corner of his eye and put down his coffee mid-sip to receive her kiss. To his surprise, she turned, picked his bag off the seat and sat down with it in her lap. A second later, she seemed to have second thoughts and put it on the table.

Then she turned and said in a rush.

I need to tell you something and I need you to not interrupt. I’m going back to Delhi tomorrow.

But…

She held up her hand.

Don’t say anything. I’m going. The ticket is booked. And it’s one-way.

Her face was set in an immovable mask. She looked beautiful. But unrecognizable. Like a cold, marble statue that was displayed in someone else’s house.

When you called me here for coffee, I thought you were trying to rekindle the romance in our relationship.

Her stiff expression didn’t change. She hadn’t even put her bag on the table. He tried again.

I know we’ve been arguing. But we’ve been through worse stuff. It’s…what are we doing?

She wavered and in a slightly watery voice said,

You’re having coffee. I’m leaving.

Come on, you don’t have to do this. Let’s talk about this.

Let’s not.

she said. And those were her last words to him. He would think about that often. For such a talkative person, she was leaving him with so little. As if she didn’t want to spend another precious minute or word on him.

Across the street, she plugged her earphones into her ears and switched on the iPod. It wasn’t serendipitous, the song that came up.

Why she had to go, I don’t know, she wouldn’t say
I said something wrong, I long for yesterday
Yesterday, love was such an easy game to play.

She’d been listening to the Beatles all evening on her way to the coffeeshop. It helped her relax and focus.

He hadn’t said anything wrong. How do you tell someone that they had never said anything right in the first place? How do you explain that after three years? And how do you erase the memory of your own wrong choices?

You don’t. You just stop and turn away.

She turned the corner and stopped under the street lamp. She asked herself, shall I reconsider? and turned to look in the direction of the coffeeshop.

It was dark now and the bright lights of The Corner Coffeeshop were attracting their clientele in now. She couldn’t see him anymore, there were too many people around. Night had fallen.

Should I?

And in the same breath, the thought crystallized into realisation.

Let me not.

She took a deep breath and walked away.

Coffee was never going to be anything but bitter after this.

SMS

1:25 a.m. is more Saturday night than Sunday morning, no matter what the calendar says.

After a day of light drizzle or no rain, the clouds let themselves go again. For a few seconds all I can hear is the rain. Not the sound the ground makes as the water hits it, nor the metal and glass and concrete shrugging off droplets. Just the sound of the rain.

And perhaps because it’s raining, Bombay is quiet outside my window, even on a Saturday night.

I pick up my phone and thumb out,

I guess you are in sleepy-bye land. It’s pouring outside my window and so the road is quiet for a Saturday night. A good time to be alone and watching the world sleep. Know what I mean? Tell me in the a.m. when you are awake and I’m not.

When I talk, I wonder if the person listening, gets what I’m saying.
After awhile when I know they do, I listen appreciatively and in anticipation for them to validate that impression.

I savour their silence,
allowing me to speak
as I know I will
let them taste my silence
with their words, shortly.

So if listening in silence is really just giving the other person a space to speak…
what else is sleep
but giving them the space to be themselves,
without you,
examining the world around
and picking what they want to bring back to you…
…and letting you do the same?

Truly, my lovely solitude is sweetened by thoughts of you.

Friends Are For Telling Secrets To

I am there if you ever need to talk. And remember, I can keep a secret!

She smiled a warm goodbye thinking,

Yes, I would trust you if I had a secret
In fact I almost wish I had one right now,
Just so I could share it with you

What an appropriate welcome gift!

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