In the End We all Remain Strangers

“There’s an opposite to déjà vu. They call it jamais vu. It’s when you meet the same people or visit places, again and again, but each time is the first. Everybody is always a stranger. Nothing is ever familiar.”

Do you remember at what point your now good friend stopped being a stranger?

Was it when you first called them bro? Or when the two of you were alone in a room? Or when the stare lingered one moment too long? Or when you didn’t have to force a smile on seeing them? Or when they knew exactly what to say to you? Or when you hugged them for the first time?

We all have different parameters and our  judgment depends on them. We all have stories to tell. However, there are two versions of the same. The first one is the original, the unaltered and the unadulterated version. The version that gives us the chills and is stacked at the deepest chambers of our minds and hearts. The other version is the one you rehearse. Add plots and subplots. Tell yourself the same story again and again until you remember all the details and the characters. The first version is only known by you. However, the other version is known to every person you call a friend.

It is difficult to open those cells where the stories that truly define us are stored. We ourselves, don’t traverse on those territories. We prefer to stroll on the paths known by us and others. However, at times, we do take the risk of exploring those uncharted expanses of the tales buried deep underneath and when we do, the words that come out are rusty and feeble. There’s a part that tries to hold us back, tries to close the doors but sometimes, we venture out with that friend and he becomes a part of the tale that is not only tiny but terrible. He becomes known to your saga and he conjures up his own judgment, his own version, but he never truly becomes a part of the story.

How do we get to know our friends? By asking them questions we think defines them. What is your name? Where do you work? What is your CTC? Are you single or committed? Where did you grow up? What kind of food do you like? How tall are you? We all ask the same mundane and piffling questions that everyone else asks and we end up knowing as much as everyone else knows.

We don’t ask questions that matter. We have learned from our peers and contemporaries the questions to be asked. We don’t cross the line  and if we try, we are  dissed and ridiculed. However, for some reason, the things that matter to us are always trivial. What car do you drive? Where do you want to settle? We are always content with having a standard and conventional conversation that leads us to expected conclusions.

We fail to explore  the fissures in the minds of people that are always oozing and fluttering with those unspoken words. We don’t ask questions that make people think or cogitate. What is one thing that is always on your mind even when you are surrounded with people? What makes you up all night even when you’re terribly tired? What makes you sigh? What makes you listen to that one song again and again? What makes you happy? These are questions people don’t ask simply because they don’t have standard answers and the answers to these questions for every single person would be different.

If at all such questions are asked and answered, a chord of unfamiliarity strikes us, as we ruminate and ponder. A part of the soul leaves in the form of words as the eyes blink, the thoughts wander and the face gets wrapped in smiles. The caricature of our being gets exposed revealing the thoughts, the feelings, the unspoken words and most importantly our soul. Alas! everyone holds the doors of familiarity.

We don’t talk about our aspirations or dreams. We don’t talk about our doubts or fears. We don’t talk about hate or love. We don’t begin from the beginning and we don’t stay until the end. We jump in at an awkward juncture and jump out at an even more awkward juncture. When the waves pull the sand from our toes, we realize we can’t hold our ground. We can’t hold on to someone by holding on to someone.

We connect, we love, we respect, but do we really trust? Yep! That’s precisely the reason why in the end we all remain strangers.

 

 

 

 

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Girish Dutt Shukla

Author of Maroon in a sky of blue

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