The infamous thing i swear by, and claim to be the be all and end all of all of existence, the very reason for being, the antidote to every problem, the source of all joy and inspiration is conversation - preferably dialogue :-)
Why so? I mean, yeah it seems intuitive that a good conversation could be fairly enjoyable given the time and mind space. Heck, throw in a couple of drinks and people could even loosen up, let go of inhibitions and really enjoy themselves! But is it too much to believe that conversation can be much much more than just a way to waste time?
The answer can be found when you see conversation in the various dimensions it exists in and the special responsibilities it assumes at various stages of our relationships.
- Catalytic – The sparking of chemistry with another human being and thereafter finding their friendship or love.
Remember how you felt when you first met that person and spoke to them? I still remember my first few conversations with Shamu, with Kunal, with Sohit … I remember thinking, this will go somewhere good someday, and it did. That thing they say about the ‘spark’ – it’s completely spot on! Sometimes, you just know.
Catalytic conversations are those that foretell the beginning of something completely brilliant right at the start .. here on, things can only get better …
- Consuming – staying up and talking for hours, maybe until daylight breaks reminding you that sleep is a necessity, perhaps until the charge on your phone dies out, sharing anything and everything, agreeing to disagree and laughing about those disagreements :-), creating memories for the years to come when you’ll look back upon that one conversation and smile in contentment at another milestone your relationship reached
Because once we started, it was always tough to stop, it was almost magical how words just flowed and one sentence led to another.. then another… then another .. until the watchman came and put off the lights outside cause it was morning and we’d been talking all night, or until dad woke up and complained about how I’d been on the phone for more than 2 hours already, or until I realized I had a stupid lecture to run to and that even with only one bunk left, I was considering bunking nevertheless!
Consuming conversations are those that make a fire of the spark, the energy and enthusiasm they generate in both minds is fuel enough to keep them burning stronger.
- Confiding – starting to trust another person with your fears and desires, dreams and nightmares, trusting them enough to tell them about the highest and lowest moments of your past and present life
Cause only a few people inspire trust that is enough to break barriers of the mind that hold us from indulging and divulging. And it’s only when you’ve bared your soul enough that you can open doors and start to build the bridge that connects you to someone else. Cause only if you trust someone with the secrets that reveal your weaknesses, can you trust them to love you despite the same. Cause trust is like the foundation that holds it all together at the bottom.
Confiding conversations take you past introductions and information into the world of insights on another person.
- Curative - words of kindness, appreciation, comforting, reassurance and encouragement that provide sustenance to the soul
Cause it takes something special to know when to listen and just be there, to know when to look beyond reason and cold logic and blindly support the other, to do not what’s right, but what’s needed, to nourish another soul with kind words and soothing reassurance, to inspire confidence through your almost blind belief in their goodness, their abilities and reinforcing your love and support for them. Even if it means saying it a million times, even if it means missing a meal, even if it means losing precious hours of sleep – cause they need to know they matter. And not just through the rough times, but also through the cozy times, cause it never hurt to tell someone they are wonderful and mean so much :-)
Curative conversations vary from simple maintenance sessions to serious troubleshooting, all to one end – keep the engine running smoothly at all times!
- Candid - knowing when to be brutal and honest, knowing when to give unasked for yet critical advice, knowing that everyone else will sugar coat, but you will not, and for that you will be thanked someday
Probably the most painful, yet most appreciated are candid conversations. Only someone who loves you deeply enough can muster courage enough to face potential wrath at being candid. Only someone who cares tremendously about your long term well being, will put you through a few hours, maybe days of teething pain trying to overcome your weaknesses. And yet through it all, you will hear advice – not affront, facts – not judgment.
Candid conversations are probably the toughest bridge to cross, yet each time they occur, they strengthen the relationship a little more.
- Cosmic - the rare almost magical ability to complete each others sentences and read each others mind
Yeah, today, Sohit can finish my sentences for me. Sharmili can anticipate my responses. Kinky can just look at my face and answer my question without me having to voice it even. Nayak already puts in caveats such as “and before you answer with a …, consider this …”. And today, I can figure out if these people say “I’m fine”, whether they’re really fine or not. Admittedly I may not know what’s bothering them, but I know there’s something I don’t know. Cosmic connections are the most magical of all, cause they let you know you’ve actually invaded that person’s mindspace so completely that you almost reside in it when you feel like :D Nothing can beat the cosmic connection a mom can have with her children but this is probably the ultimate high that any relationship can ever reach.
Cosmic conversations are hardly conversations to be fair – Ronan Keating probably meant this when he said “you say it best when you say nothing at all” :D
- Connecting - simple everyday conversations that serve as conduits for information to flow both ways and keep you in touch, not because they’re essential or required, but just because they enable reaching out and feeling the others presence
Let me not undermine the importance of simple, uncomplicated info exchanges. Each chance to talk to another person is a chance to understand their context a little better, to sense where their internal radar is pointing and to understand what makes them tick on a day to day basis. Don’t ever take a ‘How are you’ or a ‘What’s up’ too lightly! It may just be your chance to make another person see a little more of who you really are and what you really do. This is probably the simplest, yet the most meaningful kind of conversation cause it tells you that someone really cares enough to know what’s happening in your life, no matter how trivial it may be.
Connecting conversations are like sustaining Tarps, they don’t necessarily bring in additional sales, but they prevent a current business from starting to tank :D
- Cathartic - the confessions of confused minds that finally bring clarity and take relationships to the next level
I don’t think any kind of love can ever function without a healthy dose of blame and complaints. The idea is to bring them out in the open and talk them to death until you can reach a point where it’s easy to laugh at them vs. keeping them inside and letting them suffocate your relationship. Admittedly, none of us fit perfectly into each other, admittedly I’ve had my share of horrid disagreements with the people I most love. But it was probably our cathartic conversations that saved the day for us. Had Sohit not taken the initiative to clear my misunderstandings, had he not walked around campus for 3 hours telling me why things happened the way they did, I’d have continued to hold so much against him. That one gesture saved our relationship and possibly propelled it from an acquaintance into the strong friendship it is today. Had shamu not told me I’d let her down and failed to be there for her when she needed me most, she’d not have come back to being the sister that she is to me today.
Cathartic conversations are like spring cleaning – painfully exhausting and tough to do, but the outcome is lesser dirt, baggage and more space and fresh air. Need I even say what this can do for a relationship?
And that was my rant on conversations. Cathartic to say the very least! :P