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Piyu tagged me in this post, and it got me thinking. Everyone around wants to learn something. I will be honest with you, I have never really wanted to learn anything. I am not kidding! I studied what I studied because I first thought it sounded cool, and then I wasn’t allowed to quit. I could probably tell you things I have wanted to study – all “at that moment” sort of things. Journalism after watching Burkha Dutt (in her better days) on TV for an hour, policewoman after watching Udaan (the TV series I used to see when I was 6, not this recent movie that everyone’s raving about and I hated – horrible acting!), psychology when I could not for the life of me “understand” people. Then I realised I never really cared! English literature when I thought I read/ wrote something I loved. The latter was subjected only to my opinion.
I wanted to learn how to draw once. That was only because I assumed it would help me pass Engineering Graphics.Until of course this friend of mine I strongly believed should have studied design instead of the uninteresting things we studied but never learned, also flunked the paper.
I have had my moments – photography, guitar, singing (I daydream about being able to sing in front of a bunch of people and getting a standing ovation. That is exactly what it is – a daydream. You have to hear me sing to believe it. Photoshop, even. But I don’t think about it long enough. I once learned Kathak for some 3 years. Imagine! Quit one day because it was beginning to bore me to death. The fact that there were sudden rumours of my guru ji being involved in something illegal, made it easy for me to convince Ma. I had joined art classes, but that was only because my art teacher strictly thought I needed extra lessons to keep my brush within the margins. Even that was a tall order for me! I started playing drums in the school band. One week. Taek Won Do – 3 days. Singing. With harmonica, mind you. I never got beyond Sa. You can say that I don’t have the discipline to learn anything. I can try to sound cool by saying that the theoretical first few days of learning something bore me enough to quit, and it might just be true. No wonder my college years were such a torture initially. Because of my complete, unapologetic inability to sustain the first few days of learning. But then again, what does education have to do with learning? (And that I really mean.)
There are things I want to learn. I am not sure if one can. Like shopping well. I shop. Not too expensive, nothing extraordinarily cheap. Most of my clothes are quite nice too. But they are all the same. Similar colours, similar patters. Cotton and denim. That is it. And I won’t count the wedding sarees and salwaars, because they were all packed to perfection exactly one week after the wedding. There is hardly any variety in my wardrobe. I wish I could go on a shopping spree and find 5 pieces of clothing, all completely different from each other and from the ones I already own. Even if I buy a new top, it will look like one of the older ones. I don’t know how I always end up doing this! How can unlearn this?
My patterns of love, hate, and indifference are extremely erratic. If I am let down by someone I REALLY care about, I just turn away. Indifferent. But it is the non entities I lose sleep over. I just need to know they are alive. That is enough to irritate me. Turn me into a bitter person. Irrespective of whether that person is around or not. And there is a chance that these people neither betrayed me nor personally did me any harm. What the hell! Another thing that I need to unlearn, and learn the opposite of. Only I don’t know what the opposite is.
I want to learn how to really read something that is important but uninteresting. Rent agreements, bank letters, forms. I have the attention span of a… I don’t know. I can’t think of a simile. But I can never read anything important. Important to everyday existence that is. Except Marshall Goldsmith of course.
I want to learn how to weave magic with words. Be cryptic yet make sense. That is not my style (if I have one that is – I have an obsessive need to put this disclaimer every time I talk about style), I know. But I want to learn. And I know I can’t. One can’t learn something like that. Right?
I sound as (adorably) pompous as Frasier when I say this in my head, because I cannot relate it with the image I have of myself. Or the one that a lot of people who know me, have of me. Of late I have wanted to learn Indian History. Not study. Learn. I wish someone had taught me how to put history lessons in perspective back in school. As you grow up, you realise that a lot of your present finds its roots in history. School emphasized on that, but they never told us why or showed us how. The more I read/ watch TV shows, an odd NGC show, Saira Khan’s Pakistan, Story of India, the more I want to get that elusive learn-all book of Indian History. Not a refresher course, there is nothing to refresh. (It is a strange feeling to have foreigners excite me about Indian History).
So that is that. Do you know who can teach me all those things? All except Indian History. Quick question – is learning always a result of teaching? I know the converse is not true.
On an aside, the weather is magical these days. Happy-sunny and happier-rainy in parts. I was reading Jhumpa Lahiri’s Unaccustomed Earth for the 100th time (I have nothing else to read right now, and there are some books I keep going back to for no apparent reason). There are these lines that say something to the effect that the protagonist hasn’t lived anywhere long enough to really belong. Beautiful lines, but I can’t find them in the book right now. I felt a sudden connection to those lines. I have been so far for so long from the one place I ever belonged, that I no longer feel that sense of belonging. Go figure. And then I switched cities so often that I never grew roots. Same country, and yet such stark, in-your-face difference in cultures. That is a story for another day. I remember a time when people lived in a place for so long and left it even for vacation at such long intervals that they knew everything there was to know about a place. The people, the galis, the sabji mandis. Everything. I don’t see that happening now. I think that is a good thing about small towns. Or bad. I am now beginning to think Bangalore is going to be the place I eventually grow roots in. I will know this place like one knows home. It is not Bombay, so it is not even difficult. There are days when I have my doubts. But then one evening after a crazy day at work, I return home to an overkill of green and the aftertaste of a heavy shower. This is where the auto stops. In front of the gate of my building.
And suddenly I feel all my doubts melting away.