Sunday, September 11, 2011

WHAT DOES IT TRULY MEAN?


Shooting at Sarai Ghat for India's Got Talent
It's amusing how distances take a different meaning in different geographics. Like how travelling half an hour is very far away in a small town or city but is casually dismissed when mentioned in a megapolis like Mumbai where one hour is considered the minimum time to cover a reasonable distance. This rang true when work got me on a short trip to Guwahati a while ago; a chaotic city not unlike my hometown Dhanbad but with the advantage of being accessorized by hills, the mighty Brahmaputra river and a lazy something in the air.


After a hectic day of shooting in the tea gardens, at Sarai-ghaat & around, a sleepless night followed making the rounds of the now absolutely still city to meet my mates. Even though it barely took 30 minutes to move about, time seemed to have painfully stopped in it's tracks, to put it mildly! Nevertheless, I was looking forward to seeing my friends again, some of them schoolmates I'd spent 8 years of my growing-up life with. One would expect sentiments running high, hugs galore & nostalgic stories of the good ol' days. But there was to be none of that. Instead, the air was thick with a "sizing up" that does not & should not exist in friendship. A thick & impenetrable wall reared itself between us that heavy artillery wouldn't get through! I was baffled, to say the least. We promised to keep in touch & meet the next day, but we knew in our hearts that it was not to be.


On the other hand, I later came across a couple of acquaintances who I'd hardly interacted with before and who I am great friends with now. I later went on to make the journey of a lifetime to Nagaland with them, twice. More on that in another post. This unexpected change of dynamics put me in deep thought & introspection about the real meaning of friendship. I'm no philosopher, but in making great friends out of none, and strangers out of some old friends, I guess distances took a different meaning in my life as well. It's aptly stated that the mere time spent together can never be the true measure of friendship. Either there's a spark, or there isn't. We're either meant to ignite, rekindle or stub it out. Sure gives a whole new meaning to the erstwhile jingoism & marketing heavy Friendship Day, doesn't it? And makes you think, who are your true friends, really?
Making great friends out of none: Kasturi & Ritika
*****
The world is as we see it. As children, we're imaginative, outrageous even. And as grown ups, we become smarter but tied down by conventions & the supposed right thing to do. As the flight back home took to the skies & distanced itself from terra-firma, the sun became a hot, bright ball someone tossed into the sky & forgot to bring back; set against the dirty slate of a sky full of dark clouds. Feeling the warmth of this most beautiful sunrise ever, barely a 100 feet above the gloomy clump of ominous rain clouds got me philosophical. The clouds are akin to our troubles; worldly troubles that should be beneath us but bog us down instead. And the sunrise is eternal hope; the burst of optimism we need to look forward to if only we could look beyond our "clouds" that are literally & metaphorically obscuring our sight. The bright yellow of the sun is not merely light, it is a gift of a smile & many joyful, positive thoughts.
Image courtesy - http://buyousef.net
Seat belts strapped, the descent into the destination city mimics a sinking feeling. The pessimist equates this to drowning in life's quagmire once again, but the optimist believes we shall fly again to watch the sunrise. The day we absorb that thought in our person, life will truly be worth it.

****

9 comments:

  1. this post takes me back to our conversation by the riverside when we all went picning(ing)... and somehow i am very happy to see my name here... YOU KNOW WHY!!!! sending tight hugs and more love!!! :) chang write more coz you write beautifully... i wanna more of such posts coming :)

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  2. Anonymous6:48 AM

    Meiyang

    Thanks for posting. A nice descriptive article.

    The second paragraph speaks so true about sustaining long-time friendship of school days. I experienced the same two years ago when I returned to my alma mater in India after a few decades hoping to find traces of my roots. To my surprise, I found three batchmates and others that I knew for 8 years of my childhood days now working there. Regretaby there were no embrace or hug galores and no high sentiments when we met again at first sight - probably due to long lost of contact and possibly not recognizing each other. I quickly took a few snapshots of our meet which was least cordial or warm. Then it was me, an introvert during school days, to break the ice and spread virus of laughter, past pranks and nostalgic stories of the good ol' days. We parted with words to keep in touch but we knew in our hearts that it was definitely not to be. As I had a tight itinerary of my visit in India, so that's how we left again.

    I like the last paragraph of your description and heavenly picture of the bright yellow sun ball and dark clouds in skies bordered with amber streaks from your cabin window.

    Looks like you have having fun. Cheers.

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  3. This blog put me into deep thought, i wondered if the same would happen to me and my friends... in few months, i'll be changing my school and i am wondering now that just like the first few lines of your blog suggest, will i lose contact with my best buddies?? I pray and hope not.

    Your lines: "the sun became a hot, bright ball someone tossed into the sky & forgot to bring back; set against the dirty slate of a sky full of dark clouds. Feeling the warmth of this most beautiful sunrise ever, barely a 100 feet above the gloomy clump of ominous rain clouds"

    "The clouds are akin to our troubles; worldly troubles that should be beneath us but bog us down instead. And the sunrise is eternal hope; the burst of optimism we need to look forward to if only we could look beyond our "clouds" that are literally & metaphorically obscuring our sight. The bright yellow of the sun is not merely light, it is a gift of a smile & many joyful, positive thoughts." were the best part of this blog.

    Now i can call myself an AIR CONDITIONER of Chang "THE WRITER" and a fan of Chang "THE SINGER".

    Keep writing these lovely literary pieces. I love spending my time reading these as many times i can.

    Thanking you,
    Shreya.

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  4. * Dear Anonymous, crazy_shreyzu : Thank you so much for your appreciation. I guess all of us go through these moments in our lives when we're at an absolute loss, which is why you could find a resonance of it in this post. Let's hope we will be able to hold our near & dear ones closer irrespective of the time & distance involved :)

    * Dear laptopper, at your request I am not posting your comment which includes your personal details. I am glad to hear of the love coming in from your family & would like to extend my love as well. You can write to me at my Twitter account at www.twitter.com/meiyangchang & I'll try to correspond as much as possible.

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  5. Dear Chang,
    As usual beautifully written..Just wanted to comment on your posting about your meeting with your old friends...I
    have had the same experience with a lot of friends from my highschool years, now that people can find you so easily on Facebook and other social media...The initial response is good but things die down after a few chit chats about where they are now and what they have been up to there is nothing left to say. But Then there are some friends no matter how many years it has been it's as if you were never apart. I guess those are the ones that count.
    Then there are some people you meet only once (or have not even met but just know through emails) and there is this indescribable bond. :)

    Hope you are doing well and hoping that you will one day write to me..
    Your greatest fan and friend
    Rupal

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  6. Dear Chang,

    My name is Nandita Roy and I am writing to you in connection with a project. We are doing a collaborative project with a team from Taiwan and we are about to shoot a documentary on the Chinese people in India. We are currently doing the basic research. I am writing to you here because your email id is not available online. Kindly let me know how to contact you for this project.

    Thanks.

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    Replies
    1. Dear Oshtorombha,

      You can write to me at tomeiyangchang@gmail.com and we can take this forward.

      Cheers, and good luck with your project :)

      Delete
  7. The friendship thing in there just puts so many questions in my mind, like 'Is friendship overrated?' leading to, 'If friendship eventually wears off, why is that friendship always wins over love?' and then leading to 'If friendship fades away in the long run, and still beats love at some point, does that mean it is overrated too?'

    This post just blew my mind! Keep writing more about friendship, and love, since you have the best of both worlds! Cheers! Would love to hear from you! :D

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  8. Each friend represents a world in us, a world possibly not born until they arrive, and it is only by this meeting that a new world is born. -- Anaïs Nin

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