John Donne once wrote, no man can be an island, all to himself. I wonder, it’s been a while since he wrote it, and perhaps with evolution, humans have learnt the art! Sometimes feel like a live example myself! An island, surrounded by a million other islands, all keeping to themselves, not their blooming flora but their gloomy thorns.
Sometimes, I wonder what good technology has done us! It’s given us new ways to be in touch with the people far away but in some ways disconnected us from the people right next to us. The observation strengthens further when I travel by the elite metro train everyday to work. Several people around would be conveniently self occupied with the radios/music players within their cell phones, somewhat disconnected from their immediate surroundings. I once happened to share a cycle rickshaw with an old gentleman, and was myself islanded with my mp3 player at that time. A few hundred meters down the road, it almost felt insolent to be listening to music in that situation. I took it off, didn’t manage to make much conversation but at least would have seemed less of an uncaring high flying modern day youth!
Not that my concern or a conversation in a five minute ride would change many things for someone, but somehow the whole thing felt a bit disconcerting. So while we didn’t quite learn smiling and waving to strangers on the street from the westerners, the signs of a growing need for individuality have now begun to establish their place here as well. Wonder if that’s also accompanied by a newfound sense of loneliness in the middle of a sea of familiar faces. Or are we just alone, but not lonely yet!
The means of communication have connected us far and wide, and led to the birth of a whole new breed of relationships. Online social networking has played a role in many a friendship, date and even marriage. (last I heard was an extra marital affair and a subsequent murder) but is it more like we disconnecting ourselves from our immediate surroundings and looking for a human bond in the world of strangers on the internet?
It’s turned to become my own way of being, inspired from the Tenessee William’s ‘streetcar named desire’ to have depended on the kindness of strangers and then eventually, with Munna’s inspiration, to be the kind stranger myself!
Have been evolving and learning new meanings of human bonds as I go on meeting more strangers. What relationships might mean, what they might not mean. Have shared bonds that have lasted some passing moments on a bus stand or a railway station or an airport.. some through the course of the journey.. some just for the duration of an exchanged smile.. some for a few weeks.. some months.. some years.. and some.. which will last a lifetime! They’ve each affected and shaped me, and were important in their own ways!
Having internalized objectivism to a good deal, the whole concept of social needs, dependencies and bonding intrigued me for a while. I would apply too much of my head into anything and everything. And then a little knowledge of psychology, gathered from sources including coffee table books, combined with a bit of dispassion learnt from the Geeta, made a heady cocktail and for a long time I would pride myself on being an island who was capable of handling and resolving all his issues himself.
Realized it at some departing times, with people who’ve been really close that the prided stoicism has actually become a part of me now! I don’t feel too strongly emotional about most things.
In a way, it’s helped me tide over some otherwise difficult situations but I wonder if this is also reducing my capacity to feel the human bond, or actually diminishing my feel and experience of being a human and being alive. I’d like to believe otherwise, because now I can be free. (a lot can be elaborated about this, but keep that for a personal conversation, not a blog)
Never mind, as a habit, I apply too much of a head to everything!
Do tell me if it’s just me or is there someone else who’s felt pulled in different directions by the head and the heart.. and suffered because of it. Of course, it doesn’t matter who you are, coz I’ve always depended on the kindness of strangers.
Not taking anything away from my most cherished friends and family, I’m an island and it’s my own doing. I’ve enjoyed being one. It’s yet another paradox when I like to refer myself as a wandering sailor who keeps anchoring for short durations on several islands. However, if you see closely, there’s a convergence.. the whole sequence of meeting and bonding with strangers.. and still not being held back but moving on.
May the insanity and the wanderings never leave me! Though it would be good to someday anchor on an island! Forever.