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Saturday, March 21, 2009

A Walk in the Rain ...( OR, How Mistaken Self-Perception Can Freeze Your Sorry Ass)


It was raining when I stepped out of the office last evening. Not hard, just a windy spray.
My first thought was - the autowallahs will charge double... and then, another tiny voice outshouted the first- you are a writer, a romantic, a born poet, of course you'll walk in the rain, you'll walk to the bus stop and take a bus, and feel the rain invigorating every corner of your tired soul...
So that was that, and the professional-with-a-poet's-heart turned her face heavenward, smiled and the black-blue sky, and began her walk in the rain.

Except, it was windier than I thought, and very soon the gentle hum of the drizzle turned into the roar of a downpour, and i was drenched through my thin summer-y kurta. The roads had water-logged, and walking was replaced by wading. The slush of garbage, usually at home on the sidewalks, had taken the opportunity to discover what the middle of the road might be like. There was no bus at the bus stop, and I had to wait a good quarter hour for one to come along, meanwhile the wind numbed me to my intestines. The bus was very very crowded, everybody was wet, and the smell in general was that of wet underwear and rotting vegetables. The bus belly-crawled through the city, picking up other hapless individuals in drenched throngs, and I was so late that I missed F.R.I.E.N.D.S, and what more, the calling bell gave me such an electric shock that i was thrown backwards.

This got me thinking. There is often such a gap between what we like to think of ourselves, and what we really are. Sometimes we fall through the gap, sometimes we leap over it, but its there and very often we don't even notice.

I, allegedly an agent of chaos, like to think of myself as someone who is neat and organized, and so I bought myself a really groovy planner (the first 28 pages of which I've already filled with equally groovy sketches).

A very dear friend of mine, a gentle Rabindrasangeet person whose only exposure to music in the English language till last year was, for some reason, Seal's
Kiss From A Rose, suddenly saw himself as a hard rock addict, and took it upon himself to progressively listen to all ... err.. music? under the hard/metal/death genre. I suspect its for the same reason that at the age of 28, he has begun experimenting with cannabis and woodstock like concerts (free booze dope & sex, folks).
But even as he head-bangs wildly, something inside nags him constantly- what would ma-baba think if they knew?

Another very close buddy, a self-proclaimed misogynist, went through a heart-ache and suddenly began to think of himself as a suave lady-killer. He began socializing, turned into quite a party animal, and was thronged by women of all ages who promptly fell in love with him (women love misogynists). Unfortunately, he is still women-shy at heart, and would probably have be shunted to an asylum somewhere if I weren't there to save his neck.

Another friend, who was very much a Saas-Bahu lover, suddenly began to believe herself a cultured intellectual, and made a project of going to see all the famous plays that were going around in her city. Sadly, a conversation with her made it very clear that she couldn't make head or tail of what the plays meant, and was for most parts bored. But she still goes. It's how she sees herself, see.

An inflated self-perception can take you higher than you were ever destined to go (I cleared CS, didn't I?). A deflated one might hold you back your whole life. A wrong one, however, just keeps you miserable, directionless, and continuously at odds with your real self.

Or, in my case, very very wet.


PS- my apologies to the aforementioned friends , who I know will recognize themselves and be vehement in their disagreement of my analysis. You guys are probably right. It's time I stopped seeing myself as a scholar of the human nature.



Amritorupa Kanjilal also writes at Rivers I Have Known: Books, Reviews, and More. Please visit her there!  

41 paper boats came floating back to me:

sawan said...

me first???

sawan said...

wow. that was one good write up!!

u drenched urself in rain?? how i envy u :( i thought we wud have a good rain too, but there was lightning, thunderstorm, heavy wind but no rain :(

the rest of the post was quite insightful. as i said, good writeup.

Aniket said...

Well... there are good days and there are bad days. I decided to get wet in the first rains too! And I decided to take a detour and drive home in rain on my bike... and wow... did I love it!

I felt so good I wanted to just drive for hours... and guess what I didn't even catch a cold. :-) :-) So dun give up by one let down... I say you step out the next time it rains too. You may never know where it may lead too... :) :)

As for your friends... I too shifted to rock culture a while back, started watching plays (Manav Kaul's plays are a treat to watch) and meaningful movies... But I still listen to Frank Sinatra, Enya or the beatles, when I feel like it. And I do watch the odd senseless action flicks occasionally. So people change, but some connections to the past still remain.

SUBHADIP said...

I should say Amritarupa that this post according to me is the best from you!Your walk in the Rain really depicts the Poet within you and oh..what neat description of a rainy night..its brilliant..and your analysis of different people and their different nature are also astounding..just carry on writing..its an experience ..a journey

Quaint Murmur said...

This is a wonderful post. Very true, too. In the end, who we are usually is dictated by what we think of ourselves more than what others think of us.

I love the idea behind the post. And well, even if it wasn't the experience you desired, you took the plunge; because your romantic, writer-poet soul wouldn't have let you act otherwise. And you wouldn't have this brilliant post then, would you? :)

Sakhi said...

That was a nice one!
I loved your walking in the rain...coz I love to do the same. Whenever I am in my native place I make it a point to drench in the first rain as we don't get enough rain in Dubai...it drizzles rarely. We had one today morning. I even make my l'tl one to run around in the rain. Granmas in our place tell that it's good for immunity!!!
And about change...yes, change is the only constant thing that doesn't change, right?

Yayaver said...

walkng in the rain is most poetic mood of mind.Sometime,the rain drop hit hards and the feeling of nostalgia and beauty of nature appers in front of your eyes.Seems glamorous in head but sucks if catch cold.

Mistaken Self perception is sometimes result of vanity and over confidence .It helps a lot when u are in distressed mood. But i hope your friends have a goood change of mood and lifestyle. Afterall a little bit of experiment with life is necessary to make it worth living.

Nice post about self perception.Just wanna say looks and talk could be deceptive.

rahul said...

very nice descriptions of the various personalities and the inner dichotomies they have!!

laddu said...

even i love walking in rain n d best thing i can do in rain is to zoom on bike....
very well written....:):)

chirpy-paaro said...

Nice post..

People always try to change and there is a time period during which everyone gets a weird perception about them...

When I came to mumbai it was a total culture shock... I got to know that pani puri can cost 60/- a plate which i could get in Jaipur for only 7/-. When I was changing or rather adapting at many a times I felt that I was faking...but yeah I had to. I never had a Italian dinner and first time when I ate with 10 people..I was almost about to puke..but could tell anyone..
Slowly with time, developed the taste, got the feel of things around me.. And now I feel so different then what I was 2 years back.
So dear its just the time that creates a perception...

Al Walling said...

first time here.

liked it.

WILL be back.

^_*

Priyanka Khot said...

Hey Little Girl,

Thanks for the visit, the poem and the comment. Loved your anecdote and the philosophical twist you gave to the incident as well.

Will surely be back.

Happy Blogging!

buno mainak said...

he pita,era jane na era ki korchhe.tumi eder khoma koro.
r borsakale narigon ke besi kore vijio....:P

Little Girl Lost said...

bokom
bheja bolte thik kon sense e bhejar kotha bolte chaichis tui? :D

buno mainak said...

tui mone harpic de :P

Little Girl Lost said...

han, she to borsha kaal nanan jayga-e ditei hoye...

Creation said...

Although, I haven't really read any poem by you... This post is enough to let me know that there's one hell of a poet inside you.
Will sift through the older posts on your blog as soon as I'm done with my first-year exams...

Keep blogging.
Cheers!
:)

Al Walling said...

hey. ur newest follower! :)

dodoisland said...

You are right about self perceptions..some do it out of real feelings of internal conflicts of not finding their real love, happiness particularly one with whom you cannot talk in your own wavelength...other do it to try and atleast raise themselves to the level that may intiate the dialogue...the later fails and will generally comes across like a jackass.. but he/she is in love...however best way to live this life is like a toss of a coin ...that if its head..I win..if you get tails...i still win.. sunshine and rain come as package..never ever forget..good and bad...sweet and bitter...good times and bad times..happiness and sad moments...its always package deal

Vesper said...

What a lovely, insightful post. A pleasure to read. You're right, what we think of us or how we want to think of us is very different of what we really are. I'll always be a romantic at heart, no matter how harsh or how cold the rains of reality...

Mukund said...

very well written... have just read this post of yours but will surely come back to read more...
I am following you as well...

Jennifer said...

First of all, your writing is so vivid and full of interesting images. I love reading your posts!

And second, what a great point. How many people are stuck, trying to be what they think they should?

Very insightful. And I hope your friends aren't upset. :)

Tan said...

Amritarupa?

That is a good name ... put a shoutbox in your blog, where I can come and shout ... Hope to visit you more often!!

Scattered Thoughts... said...

first rain.. again I envy you.. please send some of that to us :(

Scattered Thoughts... said...

oh.. am I sounding like a jealous freak ?? damn.. I dont care.. I so love rains

Cosmic Joy said...

Loved this post. Especially the words "There is often such a gap between what we like to think of ourselves, and what we really are. So true, and yet we never realize it.

MAN IN PAINTING said...

Excellent write up.
wonderful blog.
loved every moment here.
wishes.

Barry said...

Very true and very perceptive. Our self image guides us and raises our face to the rain.

ARUNA said...

wow, good write-up.Very neat description infact.

SUBHADIP said...

Thanks a lot..tumi amake to ak birat 'Compliment' dye dile..satyi jadi amr lekha Bibhutibhusaner mil paoa jai tahle I wd be really proud of..at present I am in discussion with a publisher about a book of my in print..tmr ki mone hoy..my writings are really worth publishing? satyi katha bolo kintu..Tmr favourite author ke..Bibhutibhusan is one of my favourite..

Arnav said...

True
People change with time and thats the best part of us we Adapt and learn .. the transitions you mentioned are important and is possible only if allow ourselves to experiment with life..
So I personally feel we should not limit ourselves to things are to be done "the way it should be done" - instead we should go ahead and take the liberty to experiment in, well ! almost everything :)

Little Girl Lost said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Little Girl Lost said...

aniket, i'm glad you had such a nice rain experience. and your case is different. you sought out new experiences to have those experiences. not to be cool or intellectual, right?

Aniket said...

Yeah, that's there.

Coola and Intellectual to main bachpan se tha. lolzz

workhard said...

Cool post.. I guess its all the influence...

Poetry

Mads said...

it was kinda long but girl, u write well :D

i liked the concept..and u described it well through ur friends...
really nice post.... :D

ShantanuDas said...

I am not a poet so cannot discuss poetry for hours.. i just like if it is good. and admire poets.. because poetry comes out from the mind.. But I cannot expect a poet to admire or like me! After all they are from a different world.. we do not exist in theirs..
:-)

Cool Breeze!! hmm

ShantanuDas said...

Hmm WET underwear? whose men's or women's?

Hmm!!

Just came back again to ask that missed question that is now bugging my mind because of you!!

So let also add what is obvious.. I have not yet seen any poetry from you so far in form of poems exactly... but your prose is perfect!! You are missing ur correct Profession.. it SHOULD have been something to do with writing.. .. u will look like that MONSTER web Site advt.. they will show you writing Poetry or prose on your FILE COVERS at an office & u sweating away at it..

Accha so besides Poetry u like to sketch too ! hmm

Do pls give me the address of Woodstock like Concerts at Jaipur.. or are the only by inviation only? then maybe u can get me an invitation too! hmmm. am interested in the freee booze.. not sex...[ no charm in that- if free-- the prize is more meanigful if the fight was tough !!]


What a flow.. what a beautiful manner you have arranged your thoughts - converted them into words and resulted in the climax at the end " ..or, in my case, very very wet"

I can only say after this that again YOU are MAKING the same MISTAKE of wrong self perception.. You are not supposed to be a CS..but a WRITER!!

Funny life.. ! is it not so?

"An inflated self-perception can take you higher than you were ever destined to go (I cleared CS, didn't I?). A deflated one might hold you back your whole life." -- And a CORRECT ONE actually keeps you in place.. there is a difference between holding you back and keeping you in place.. holding you back is applicable when you are meant to go higher.. keeping you in place helps you to be happy.. In the other two happiness element is missing.. [like see? how you hate everyday meeting that Monster? it happned only bcs u cleared CS or even attempted it!!]

"The slush of garbage, usually at home on the sidewalks, had taken the opportunity to discover what the middle of the road might be like"-- This is the best part.. this giving life to an inanimate thing to express an observation has been the art of many good writers of the past (english or bengali.. am talking of past only- I am not the literary type so am not able to convey but once I too used to read literature and so was nearly one! and your writing is bringing back those memories inside me].

"r borsakale narigon ke besi kore vijio....:" I am lovin this chap! Shottyi to.. hmmm ~~~ :-P

still thinking !!! said...

‘Identity’ ta khubi chaper bepar bote.
In these times, most of us try hard to hurl ourselves into a fictitious persona, which is thought to be “socially acceptable”. No wonder many of us use the Jimmy Hendrix and Miles Davis as a lipstick to look more beautiful. Hence “Rock On” and suddenly Bollywood –ish India goes Ga Ga about “Rock”;

Ironically,they don’t care about the thousand of bands that died out of hunger
here in kolkata and Northeast …Frantic times indeed….

coffeeismypoison said...

This was a really insightful post...a walk in the rain always makes one think...deeply.
i wish i could get drenched...its so damn hot here!

coffeeismypoison said...

This was a really insightful post...a walk in the rain always makes one think...deeply.
i wish i could get drenched...its so damn hot here!