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Archive for September, 2010

A friend was going through a very tough time recently. She put on a brave front and tried to keep it all inside until one day she could take it no more and burst  out with it to me. Clutching the phone so close to the ear that it hurt, I listened going increasingly numb with each passing second. She went on for what seemed like an eternity. I hadn’t uttered a single word through the entire conversation. Well, not really a conversation, more of a monologue. After unloading all that had been clogging her mind and eating into her life for so long, she hung up and I was left still clutching the phone tight to the ear, helplessly wondering if there was something I should have said to make her feel better. Something wise or witty. But well, as it was, I had not known what to say and she had hung up already. I felt stupid, lousy and totally not fit to be an agony aunt. A couple of days later she called back again.

“Hey…” she started, “I just hung up the other day. Didn’t even say bye…”

“Well, I didn’t even talk, for starters, so don’t you worry”

“Yeah, that’s what I called about. Thanks for listening Mi. Honestly. I’m so glad I spoke to you. I’m so glad ‘I’ spoke. For once I wasn’t listening to advice or being judged or getting scolded. I spoke. God knows after how long. Thanks for that. Really.”

I opened my mouth to say something, stopped, opened and closed the mouth two more times like a fish, and closed it shut again. Now was NOT the best time to tell her that I had actually been quiet and listened so much not because I was patient, understanding or sensitive but actually because I didn’t know what to say, how to console or what advice to give. Looks like my ignorance actually paid off and she felt much better after that monologue. Later rewinding that conversation, I understood that whatever she had said was absolutely true. Sometimes all you want is for people to listen to you. Just listen and not judge the situation, judge you, judge everybody around. I’ve felt the most relieved after long monologues with friends, after swearing, bitching and endlessly cribbing about how unfair things were, after dumping out all my angst in all possible ways, but mostly I’ve felt the best when they’ve just Listened. Listened and probably squeezed a hand or given a big hug or whispered a ‘it’s ok, this will pass’ over the phone. But what matters above everything else is that they listened. So maybe the next time someone comes to me with a problem, I’ll not be constructing soothing replies and tactical agony-aunt advice in my mind while pretending to listen to what they’re saying on the outside. Maybe I’ll just shut everything out and simply lend a ear. Because some things are best said when they’re left unsaid.

On a totally unrelated note, I realised that I’m so sentimentally attached to a lot of things in life that I’ve been using some stuff for years and years. Like, while combing today, I just realised that I’ve been using the same wide toothed pink comb for the *gasp* past eight years. I am not kidding. I’ve misplaced that comb many times, felt miserable thinking its lost but have always found it under the bed or below the medicine cabinet. It always comes back to me. And I don’t even feel like I’ve combed my hair if I don’t use THAT particular comb. How weird is that!  Ditto with Jemi, the stuffed pillow JP gifted me on a birthday couple of years ago.  I don’t sleep hugging stuffed toys or pillows (eeks!!), but if I don’t see Jemi propped majestically on the study table as soon as I wake up, as soon as I enter the room and as the last thing before I leave home in the morning, I end up feeling queasy all through the day, until I’ve seen Jemi in her usual place again. I get completely psyched out of I don’t find the particular pair of earphones I’ve been using for the past five years or if  that tattered bag I bought when I started college can’t be found when I look for it. It freaks me out that I’m so attached to these ‘things’. They’re not expensive, they’re not the best but somehow the memories attached to such stuff makes them all the more precious. I guess everybody has some stuff which brings back memories of fun times, of laughter and happiness, of friends and family, whenever they look at it. Maybe an old comb, a favorite dress, an autographed book or an old birthday card. And such things are treasured not for what they are but for what remind you of. Oh, and what do I say,talking and thinking up stuff like this, I freak myself out most of the time!! 😀

*Dedication Update*

This post is dedicated to Kavitha who I think is the only soul in the world who wants to read me and bugs me to death to write. Even if its nonsense. Thanks Kavi 🙂

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