Tuesday, August 02, 2011

a bit of conversation

How much time did it take to make an egg sandwich? I shifted in my seat. It looked like it was going to rain. I had about four hours, and though I knew I would make it well in time, I was getting restless. Outside the kadai, a white dog settled down comfortably. Apparently, this was the same dog that had chased him a few months back. Didn't look capable of hurting a fly though, I thought to myself. Did I remember to pack my towel? I wondered if it had dried. This chap seemed rather nice. He was making conversation, and I tried to listen. I don't remember much of what he said - I think we just discussed various dog-chasing incidents. I'm gonna be late, I whined, half to myself. Relax, he said to me, not for the first time. I blushed, embarrassed, not realising that I was being so obviously fidgety and absent. And then-

"Do you know what Zen means?"

"Huh?" I sat up, suddenly hearing him clearly.

"Do you know what Zen means?"

Of course I knew. I had devoured books on the topic. I had read extensively about the philosophy - I had sat under trees discussing it with friends, I had spent late college nights reading about it. I had used words like nowness, awareness, self-realisation, consciousness and transcendence.

"Uh, Zen is you know... Zen", I said, gesturing emphatically (the same gesture one would use for 'world, universe' and the likes while singing school assembly songs). "I know the concept but am not sure what it exactly... "

"It just means being in the moment. In that place", he said simply. "So relax."

I was so taken aback I almost asked him how he knew this about me. Of course, the comment was just a casual, offhand remark on his part, but he just put into words what I read so many times, knew well, and struggled to follow.

I'm always thinking about a hundred things at once. I'm regularly accused by friends of zoning in and out of conversations. I'm always multitasking, and I'm almost always in a rush. To have an almost-stranger observe and squarely point out what he might not have realised he pointed out was quite startling.

Some things you need to hear find their way to you most unexpectedly. He really hit the nail on the head.

1 comment:

Tangled up in blue... said...

Some people just have a natural felicity with words..I must say, that is an extraordinary way to explain what Zen means, I wud have been overwhelmed with trying to encapsulate the enormity of it all in a sentence, instead of trying to capture its simplicity like that. So I totally get.

And yeah, it really is quite something when someone has an effortlessly amazing insight into your self, without even trying too hard, especially when you think you've been introspecting for days!