Archive for March, 2007|Monthly archive page

Lift Conversations?!

Well, the title in itself is an oxymoron. Invariably, there are no talks or conversations while in the Lift. Innumerable number of trips in the Lift have left me with a conclusion that there invariably is some treasure hidden somewhere in the Lift which people are looking for.
I was 10 years old when I first got into a lift which was in one of the offices my uncle once took me to. Lifts back then fascinated me. The whole idea that I need not exert any effort to move up 5 floors coupled with the curiosity for lifts back then was extremely wonderful. Lifts were not as common back then as they are nowadays and the rarity made it a thing to boast about with your friends.
Time passed and I encountered physics. With physics, the inevitable happened. Newton’s laws and Acceralation due to gravity was awed. The effects of these on Lifts was even more fascinating – interesting problems emerged, and with almost every problem on lifts I used to imagine myself in the lift trying to solve that problem – did my weight increase or decrease,
is the lift moving with constant acceralation or constant velocity and the associated solutions. It was great fun solving them as well as served as an enthu factor for getting into lifts again and again.
As time progressed, lifts became more common (and with it, my vocabulary of calling it an Elevator :)). I then began to notice strange things happening. People in the lift almost never talked to each other unless they were closest of close friends. Whether it was claustrophobia or something else, I do not have an idea. People absolutely normal outside the elevator behaved strangely in the lift – staring at walls, looking at the celing, observing their shoes and rarely observing people around in the lift. A strange sense of silence prevails before the hustle-bustle of the floor begins again. I seriously couldn’t (and still don’t) understand as to what people look at. Are they trying to find some hidden treasure on the ceiling or between the walls? Are they trying to observe the formations of dust on their shoe and deduce ‘The Dust Theory’? Are they looking at their watches continously and trying to calculate whether time slows down due to relative motion of the lift against the speed of light? I mean What???
And then there are categories in Elevators. Fast and Slow elevators – the slower the lift, the more tortous it is. Slower lifts are a bane on organisations (my previous organisation had one :)) and their people. People get frustrated waiting for these lifts at each of the floors only to be tortured much more in the ‘Field of Silence’ inside. As luck would have it, I was in the lift with the CIO of that particular organisation one day. Strange situation – I didnt know whether to smile, to talk, murmur – so what did I do? I stared at my watch for an awful loonnng time, spoke a hello, how are you? and looked hard at the ceiling for a virtual crack in it. He got off the next floor and I heaved a huge sigh of relief!! So much, for the slowness of the lift.
And then there are elevators with capacity of 8 persons or 16 persons – invariably during lunch time, you would find more people in the lift than on any given floor 🙂 And god save you, if there is a power cut and no backup available for the lift. Or even worse, the lift gets jammed (experienced it twice). Given the modern world of steel covering and alloy covering, voices inside the lift do not reach outside – all that would be left would be prayers to God, if he can get a peep into a stuffed lift that is!!
Having said all the above, with skyscrapers shooting up in almost all parts of every city, lifts are a necessity rather than a luxury. Lifts have undergone a massive makeover – from typical iron-grills to metal doors and fancy gadgets. However, in my 14 years of experience in these lifts, people have never changed. They never talked inside lifts always looking for the seemingly invisible particles that would make their day. I hope one day, they do find it and prove that they were not wasting time inside these lifts in the ‘Field of Silence’.

Cherished Conversations!!

This post has been pending since long. The initial draft was around 2 months ago…but then in the melee of situations, it has been delayed. Apologies.
There are moments in life when you pause and reflect, reflect on situations you want to live through again, given a chance. As mentioned in my previous posts, situations typically are filled with conversations – verbal and non-verbal. Although every conversation is important, there are some conversations which are very dear to your heart. It took me long walks in silence
and a lot of introspection to come up with five conversations which I would want to live through again, relive them irrespective of the situation. Quantifaction is a necessary evil because of some constraints (like space, time, my patience and well..your patience :))…so here we go, a post to cherish for myself (not necessarily in any order) –
1) Conversation with K at Andheri Railway station at around 9 in the night – We were chatting off to glory about family, career, friends etc etc in the midst of peak Mumbai traffic, unmindful of the frenzied atmosphere around. It was a talk interspersed with lot of noise around which included the innumerable local trains, vendors and the public. I guess we ended up talking for a couple of hours because by the time we came out for dinner – all restaurants were closing down for the day. We slept eating little dinner but having had the satisfaction of talking your heart out.
2) Conversation with D at Malgudi – Lunch – Now, this is some fun discussing it. We just didnt have any idea of the time or the people around. We went to Malgudi because I insisted on having a good Andhra meal and decent ambience. We went there in a very sober manner and the moment we started having a conversation over lunch, we started laughing – for just about everything and anything. The waiter gave us a surprised (or was it astonished??) look but we cared less. If people had objectively judged us, we were insane – it was just one laughing riot. It was a typical case where you talked everything and anything, content being immaterial but your stomach aches because you laughed your lungs out. We happened to meet many times after that
again, but never again was it so much fun, frolic and laughter.
3) Conversation with R, P and C at R’s place – This happened way back in Engineering (way I that old now?? was kindaa 6 years back) when we were to do our first technical paper submission. ‘I and R’ and ‘C and P’ were to do a paper. We met at R’s place and till 12 in the night, everything was going as per schedule – we were working very seriously on the paper. Then came the tragic mistake – C acccidentally fell asleep (This was inspite of paper presentation the next day). Very normal, we were very tired working throughout the day and it was but natural to fall asleep (I can’t stop my laughter as I write this right now!!). But then P had different ideas – he took a pillow and a blanket, woke up C and asked him to sleep COMFORTABLY. Now this was it – I and R burst out into laughter and probably kept laughing throughout the night (we incidentally did not sleep through the night due to the presenation) because C got up (recovering from the sarcastic shock he got :D), went into the verandah and practised entire night – I and R laughed our lungs out – and whenever we happen to meet
(either of us), that incident pops out and again we burst into fits of laughter.
4) Conversations with C at lakeside – Now these are conversations where you meet the other person and even if silence prevails for the entire time, you can just walk away and feel that you have had the best conversation. Not sure whether it was the ambience of the lakeside (waterbodies usually tickle my philosophical bent :-)) or the person – conversations ranged
from the usual banter to very serious topics – but everytime you have a conversation, you feel better. Guess I would call this a cherished time than a cherished conversation as we had innumerable number of conversations, each one better than the previous one. The content of conversations ranged from daily mundane affairs to serious decision making and the fact that the pattern of thought was similar made these conversations all the more worthwhile.
5) Conversation with T, J and D at Pilani – Another laugh riot, this time at a place completely foreign to us. T was in ‘form’ and J was adding fuel to the fire. We had a silent dinner (and very little) and initially thought to spend some time together before we crash to sleep. What started as a banter of imitations of professors in our college led to humor par excellence. Each one of us were bursting with tears at the end of it, which was at 4 in the morning 🙂
As can be deduced, essentially almost all of these conversations are less about content and more about the relation, the sync (frequency match – language of P :)) and things you can relate – which makes each relation stronger and better. As someone said, people may go to different places, time may take them away from you but what remains are converstaions and memories that would remain for the rest of your lifetime – to bring a smile to your face whenever you are down, to make you laugh better when you are happy and make the journey of life as memorable as it can be!
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