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May 01, 2005

S and the Rainbow Principle.

He told me about the rainbow principle while munching on a McDonald's sandwich and balancing his cellphone cradled between his ear and neck, or so I presume. We always underwent a role reversal when we had one of these long telephonic conversations; he talked and I listened. For once, I was talking to someone who had things to say that kept me so engrossed that I did not interrupt him with my non-sequiturs.

"Ramya, its like this, you can go on thinking about the little things that annoy you, or you can learn to let go because its just not worth the amount of time you are investing on it..." and he would break off to answer a call on his other cell phone (he had one for his work and one for personal calls) or to tune his guitar. In that way, he was distracted, but inspite of the numerous breaks, the train of thoughts that he was attempting to impress upon me, was never interrupted. We would talk for hours together, late into the night, on lazy afternoons, early mornings...time was not a factor that played a role in our conversations.

I received a phone call one Saturday morning and all I could hear was A.R.Rehman's music in the background, studio-effect, and then it stopped and I was pleasantly surprised to hear him sing "Minnale, Nee Vandadenadi" almost as melodiously as the original song was rendered. I was happy that he had taken the time to make me smile that particular day; he had rememberd my favourite song. He had an amazing voice, we both knew that. He had once told me his sister thought that he could sing as well as UnniKrishnan and what was surprising was that the revelation did not have a touch of vanity about it and I did not find any reason to contradict what he told me. He often talked about his concerts. To me it was a life, fascinatingly different from mine; sometimes I imagined myself watching his concerts, proud that he is my friend, at other times, I imagined being on his troupe, travelling to places, vicariously living the life that he lived and gradually he donned the role of a protective, philosopher-friend for me.

"I thought you were quite arrogant, the day I first spoke to you on the phone...", he said. I frowned, but was amused, "You know? The bossy kind?" he added for clarification. He finished by saying "...but you turned out to be very different from what I thought that day..." We both chucked delightedly...for our own reasons.

"The world around us is a rainbow", he would say, surprising me by jumping into a philosophical discussion, from a vantage point that I did not have the privilege to observe from. We were in the middle of a conversation revolving around how he expects to feel about his imaginary significant other when he plunged into this disconnected line of thought. "We should place people we know in different concentric semicircles of the rainbow" , he continued pensively. "For instance, casual acquaintances and colleagues fall in the semicircle farthest away from the center, my next-door neighbour falls into the adjoining closer semicircle...finally, my closest friends, wife, parents fall into the semicircle nearest the center, my heart."
I pondered about this for a few moments, when he continued "How we react to what people say should be determined by where they fall in this rainbow. If a driver on the road, screamed at me for cutting him off and if I am dwelling on his enraged, uncivilized words more than the few moments that it deserved, I am wasting my time."
I opened my mouth to interrupt, maybe disagree, when I realized I did not. I had wasted many an anxious moment, replaying casual but hurtful words thrown my way by people who would hardly cross my path again and much as I tried to distract myself, I could not.
He broke into my thoughts saying "Now, if your best friend said something to you that hurt, its still worth thinking about it, same holds true for compliments and praise...". I smiled. Profound, yet obvious. I just did not think of explaining it to myself, as he did.

S and I are now busy with our lives and do not have the time to talk, as we did...but, as moments progress to minutes and minutes to hours, interspersed with the clicking of my wall clock, I hear the voice that taught me another of life's simple lesson.

5 comments:

SatheeshR said...

He finished by saying "...but you turned out to be very different from what I thought that day..."

RS,

Yep. Isn't it surprising how many a time we had thought of - if not said out loud - those very same words about so many people in our life ?! First impressions, first interactions... ah well, one never knows instantly if it's all factual or not ! But again, that's the pleasant surprise we would rather opt for than knowin everythin on day 1, rite ?! :-)

dinesh said...

Simple but profound, just like you said. Wish I could prioritize things and people that easy !

rajesh said...

Hi..
A really thought-provoking write-up!A few such simple yet meaningful utterances stay etched in our minds for a long time to come!
-Raapi

Prabu Karthik said...

Real gud one.

the trouble is the rainbow and the people occupying the rainbow are all in a state of conitnuous motion. moving closer to us and moving away from us.

We don't quite seem to learn the art of moving people from one circle to the other.

Also, we can't accept that easily when someone who is very close to our heart wants to pull away to a circle farther away.

Adhu therincha probleme illai.

RS said...

To Rajesh: thanks!

To prabu karthik: Nice, your touch of reality to a concept as idealistic as this.

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