To stumble and fall is commonplace. To haul oneself up again, and then actually smile, even laugh, as one staggers on, is nothing short of heroic.
12/31/2014 12:00:46 PM
|written By : Mitra Phukan|
A few recent chance encounters, a few random conversations. Somehow, together, they have added up to an insight about the kind of people we are. No doubt the insight is very personal. Nothing is written in stone. Still, as insights go, perhaps this one is also worth something, and therefore worth writing about and sharing.
Encounter 1: This takes place at a lovely early winter garden party in town. The flowers are out in full bloom, the grass is carefully tended. Women are dressed in beautiful silks, the men in suits that make them look so much more handsome than they did in the sweaty summer days. There is live music coming from one end of the lawns. Conversation is “cultured”, beautifully phrased, and quite civilised.
Suddenly, a wrong note. Though many of the people present here are “movers and shakers” of our times, nobody is talking about the problems that beset us on all sides. It is recognised by almost everybody that this is not the milieu to do so. This is a “civilised break”. It is an oasis in the desert of problems all around us. But this does not mean, of course, that these people are oblivious or indifferent to them. It is a gathering of people who have seen and done much, and are, to a great degree, moulders of opinion and of action. This graceful interlude is not an abdication. It is just a recognition of the fact that there is a time and place for everything, and this is the time and place for elegant pleasures. Good conversation swirls around, references to the best music and art of contemporary times abound.
But one man, youngish, not yet middle aged, seems to feel the need to make his presence felt. In that gathering of people who have seen much more of events than he has, he feels bound, for reasons best known to him, to start talking about the “bad times” that surround this little capsule, so carefully nurtured till now by both host and guests. His voice, harshened by too much liquor, rises in a tirade against it all. The fragile capsule shatters. The carefully nurtured atmosphere is gone. Sighing, the other guests move away, have their dinners, and go back to the worlds that they had been hoping to leave for a few more hours, at least.