An amble down the “communication”path again…

A week or so after my fairly long meditation on the need for non-verbal communication to become a key part of our lives, I feel vindicated. The reason – I happened to watch a charlie chaplin movie (payday) – and with practically no dialogues at all, the cast managed to get us “all in”. We laughed and delighted in Chaplin’s antics while the underlying theme tugged at our hearts. The movie (like all chaplin movies) is a parable of his day – and you cannot not be transported into his world and partake of it.

So I got busy trying to see if really there were other forms where emotions were conveyed directly – not through the screen of dialogue. Our national television provided the first breakthrough through a “kuchipudi” programme, which is essentially the retelling of a story through emotions expressed through a traditional dance form. All Indian classical art forms have a way of dressing up the dancers and having them emote through “mudras” – with fantastic results – you feel the emotion directly and immediately. For those unacquainted with this, think “mime” – its probably the closest cross-border cousin.

Come to think of it, “dancing” has always been excellent at communicating expressions best. From the modern discotheque to the gypsy dances to african masai varieties – all of them probably communicate expressions more clearly for the populace – the body does seem better at expressions without the lens of the mind.If you don’t believe me – ask a dancer what he/she was thinking during her performance and get a “thinking – are you mad?” stare from her…

Silence too it transpires conveys emotions very well. Its passive though, pervading the room with the existing context. At funerals, the silence is heavy with sadness. At the temple the silence is pregnant with devotion. With a loved one, the silence lends comfort.Think about it, its profound.

Which brings me back to the starting point – or rather just after that. I happened to rediscover an old favourite – an Eckart Tolle rendering of “Silence and Stillness” and turned it on – wondering if it would still work its old magic on me. It did, a kind of blissful silence (or stillness) descended upon me – his sonorous voice and the plentiful silences between the words were almost surreal. I moved slowly into a very agreeable mood, compassionate, understanding..you get the idea! Eckhart’s recording is a perfect blend – and I really can’t tell which was more potent – his words or his silence. Or perhaps they really aren’t two different things!

A productive day at the store…

This weekend I decided I would leg it to my favourite bookstore again and boy was it a nice decision. The were in sale mode and had stocked their aisles with some brilliant books – stuff you normally wouldn’t get to see – and at mouth watering prices at that. I dont know why – but i always find that the “sales” bring out the best books – its almost as if the bookseller (and dvd seller) had hidden away his jewels and is now putting them on sale only because he has no choice!

For starters I came across a manga on the current Dalai Lama – quirky, compassionate and typical manga stuff. Its probably the best way to know his Holiness up and close.

I also found Lynne Truss’ “talk to the hand” – a delightful rant against the rudeness prevailing today. It was available for just a song.

Ben Okri’s magical “Tales of freedom” beckoned from one of the corners – you dont pick books like these, they pick you.

At this point, I observed that all the movies were on sale too so sauntered over – and what a wonderful decision that was.

A Charlie Chaplin two-dvd set was available – you get to see the master parade his wonderful movies. On reaching home, “Its a dogs life” went straight into my DVD player – and I got to laugh and sympathise with the wonderful “little fellow” all over again. Endearing stuff.

Micael Palin’s pacific adventures, Hatari, Rainman, To sir with love – classic stuff all of them – all are now part of my collection. Yes, I am beaming.

What a wonderful evening its been, probably the best way to wish the summer adios….and usher in the spring!

Generational?

As I settle myself into a cozy living room sofa and switch on the entertainment system, a curious thought strikes me – what I am experiencing today is 3 generations of technology – consider:

– the furniture has more or less remained the same (yes I know different materials and styles are in vogue today but the underlying substratum is much the same). Made from natural material (teak in this case), it has survived in form and concept for so very long

– The tv and the radio are an improvement from our father’s generation. Its a credit that the concept of the tv (and the radio) has lived across generations (the form of course is different – the smart tvs (and internet radios) of today are very different from their monochromatic, bulky ancestors

– The ipad and the note 2 are strictly one generation (or actually a part of a generation) old. They weren’t here a decade ago and in their present form/ concept aren’t likely to be with us the next decade. Wearables for instance are catching up quickly – and in a world where you can enter and experience myriad worlds with just your glasses, they probably would take over duty from these devices which look so indispensable today!

Interesting when you think about it – and perhaps worth some exploration about this movement of the ages and the things we value over time. An equally interesting detour is to look at what has similarly evolved in our lives – take for instance:

values – they have not really changed over many, many generations. Shiva, Christ and Buddha continue to guide us (many times through the medium of our elders and teachers) on what to value in life and how to evolve. Values like integrity, honesty, compassion etc. aren’t going out of fashion anytime soon!

Society norms are often a generation or two old. Smoking was considered cool (even medicinal!) a hundred years ago – its strictly a no, no today in most public places. Slavery, gender inequality, racism and many such isms are no longer considered acceptable (thankfully!). Of course other “isms” have crept in which will go out of vogue in the next generation as people become wiser too!

Our jobs, workplaces and vocations are all probably part-generational. Twenty years back – “IT as a career” meant something very different from what it is today and I am sure twenty years from now it will be again very, very different. Computer (immersive) games fall in this category as well. Probably our work timings, work places, the things we read, the heroes we look upto will change to – who would have thought even a decade ago nerds’ stories would capture mainstream imagination in such a big way – remember the block buster movie (the social network) and a tome of a biography (steve jobs)?

Here’s a thought that lingers.

If the above were true, would we want to reconsider how we spend our time?

Would we want to spend more time (and emotion) on stuff that lasts a few years, a couple of generations or through the ages?

Or can we integrate it somehow that what we do today aligns to what sustains through the ages?