March 29, 2010

That's a different story altogether

There was a time when letter-writing caught my fancy and I was so fascinated and kicked about it. I really loved writing letters, long ones, on the pin-pages torn from class notes. That was class 8th and 9th when I used to write letters to Akshay Chandrasekhar. Not love obviously! Gay, you say? I did not know so much then, in fact the first time I came to know about homosexuality was after class 12; also, I discovered that making gay jokes can be considered cool sometimes. But unknowingly in 8th I called a class girl "lesbian" and the next year she left school! That's a different story altogether... so where was I? Hmm, ah, letters...

I had this kind of feeling that the best way to converse with people who are distant or even near, is through letters. So, I was like this grandmother who refused to use the grinder for making dosa dough because she believed that using a stone and manually grinding prodcued better dosas and finished her daily dose of exercise as well. Grandmothers are smart aren't they? They'd tell their sons or daughters: "I will not be going for my daily walk today... I've made dosa dough..." That's a different story altogether... so where was I? Hmm, ah, connecting...

Well yes, letters were awesome but the responder need not always feel so. My letters went to increasingly more number of people: Lionel, Dhruv Sharma, Jay Shankar and it continued to Akshay. The following were the recorded responses:

People

Response

Lionel

2 for the 2 letters I sent

Dhruv

1 for the 1 letter I sent

Jay

0 for the 1 letter I sent

Akshay

One 3-page letter for every two 10-page letters I sent!!

I had once written a 31-page long letter to Akshay, about which he also doesn't know because I did not post it. That's a different story altogether... so where was I? Hmm, ah, responding...

Since there was minimal response towards letters I felt a little hurt that there was no proper repsonse. Akshay, in fact even mentioned on the phone that it is better to talk since he had exams and he couldn't spend time writing letters. I hid the tears from my voice and wondered if I didn't have exams. It makes me think even today sometimes, am I the only one having all the time in the world and the desire to reconnect?
That's a different story altogether... so where was I? Hmm, ah, parting...

So I stopped writing to him, but I couldn't stop writing! So I started to write to myself! Every night at 10 PM after my dinner, I went to my table and removed the ink pen from the desk drawer and used to finish writing before my Grandfather came back after taking his dose of post-dinner tablets. Those diary entries are the sweetest of my memories. That's a different story altogether... so where was I? Hmm, ah, writing...

Soon, SMS came to play. I could reconnect and this time I could write through the phone and it was so simple, it was so conversational, I loved it. For a full month in the early days of tenth class I was spending every evening texting Akshay who was in Thane and promptly responded
. He is fond of technology I believe. That's a different story altogether... so where was I? Hmm, ah, SMS...

But like technology happiness comes at a price. At his end the bills that his father now had to pay because he was texting all day. Apparently he was not just connecting with me, unlike me who by that time lost out touch on all others, but a host of friends throughout the day. At my end the joy was short-lived because I had to concentrate on stuff I was hardly understanding at the early-morning classes of Bhat Sir.
That's a different story altogether... so where was I? Hmm, ah, technology...

So after that there was no texting, no letter writing. It was only academics and I thought the writing will sleep for a long time now. But little did I know that the love for writing was such that I was unconsciously writing without my knowledge. How, you ask? Through the running class notes that I had to write! You know when we love doing something, we
do it without feeling it and automatically assigning it the highest priority. That's a different story altogether... so where was I? Hmm, ah, notes-taking...

After 12th I made my first official e-mail ID and started giving it out to people. For a long time there were no mails in my inbox but soon I started receiving mails or what I thought was mails. They were actually IMs sent offline. Yet, I was instinctive and the writing opened up in mails as well. It was great to start writing mails and receiving some or the other reply. It was faster than letters, but it was easier to look beyond the words written in hand than the words keyed in.
How do we do it? That's a different story altogether... so where was I? Hmm, ah, instant messaging...

When I entered Pilani I knew that mails and SMS would be the only way to connect to people but I still couldn't gauge how connecting to lots of people and re-connect with lots more was to be easier. Following our Vice-Chancellor's advice I started writing letters to my mom and my sister and it was really a great feeling writing from such a distance to close ones. I was also about to write a letter to my brother but that need never came, because I was in a situation that I couldn't stay without talking to him everyday. That's a different story altogether... so where was I? Hmm, ah, Pilani...

The place transformed me. I suddenly refused to talk with friends, refused to write to anyone, refused to speak, refused food. It was only studies for a while and although I was not a topper by any means, I made sure I understood and worked hard if I didn't. Its not about getting grades and scoring above average, it is about getting the subject and learning from your mistakes.
That's a different story altogether... so where was I? Hmm, ah, transformation...

It was the sophomore year and for the first month it was no different than first year. At least to me, because I was still running around trying to join some club or the other, I once again wrote the EPC entrance test. Things changed however with my getting selected into the Computer Science Association. The mails we received from the seniors then, were so awesome. That's a different story altogether... so where was I? Hmm, ah, change...

I loved writing mails now, loved receiving them too and loved to poke humor, wit, management and leadership in between the lines. Did it come naturally? was hard to say. Was it original? was difficult to say it was; since they were inspired from other mails more often than not. Was it fun? You could've as easily asked, am I in love?
That's a different story altogether... so where was I? Hmm, ah, love, oh, oops, e-mails...

Starting from
reports of lectures to the minutes of meetings, of PS 1 industry-academia daily diary entries, of thoughts, of actions, of people, of rain, of life; like the way DiCaprio writes it all down in his Basketball Diaries. Some fans would know that my first post on this blog was inspired by that movie! That's a different story altogether... so where was I? Hmm, ah, starting...

So when I started writing this 'post' it was actually an e-mail in reply to a friend who quoted the previous mail as very heart-warming and creative. I got her reply so soon from such a distance; I got the replies of alumni sitting in various states of America, of documentary-screening channels from their centers in Delhi, of hundreds of messages that I am now storing in my phone which I usually would have deleted.
That's a different story altogether... so where was I? Hmm, ah, receiving...

The mails of today are the letters of yesteryear. So put in all the formality, all the love, happiness, hatred, wit, humor, sarcasm in your mind and let the words come through; because the words express themselves when you let them flow, just like your writing shows your mood, your feelings, etc it in your letters. That's a different story altogether... so where was I? Hmm, ah, letters...
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