Tuesday, 25 September 2012

Closer and farther

As I was checking out one of my favorite places on the Internet today, I came across this piece by Anais Nin:
The secret of a full life is to live and relate to others as if they might not be there tomorrow, as if you might not be there tomorrow. It eliminates the vice of procrastination, the sin of postponement, failed communications, failed communions. This thought has made me more and more attentive to all encounters. meetings, introductions, which might contain the seed of depth that might be carelessly overlooked. This feeling has become a rarity, and rarer every day now that we have reached a hastier and more superficial rhythm, now that we believe we are in touch with a greater amount of people, more people, more countries. This is the illusion which might cheat us of being in touch deeply with the one breathing next to us. The dangerous time when mechanical voices, radios, telephones, take the place of human intimacies, and the concept of being in touch with millions brings a greater and greater poverty in intimacy and human vision.

Written in her diary in May 1946, she seems oddly prophetic to me. It resonates with something that I have been thinking off-late - that with the ability to communicate more, we actually end up communicating less. Recently, two of my very close friends, women who are very very dear to me, have moved away from Mumbai. One to Delhi and the other to the US. I consoled myself saying that they were not more than an email or chat away no matter what the physical distance. But the fact of it is that I haven't really written to them (or to anyone else over the years) or kept abreast with their news. Not in the way people did in letters (been reading some of that too!).

Maybe this is just me and then again maybe it isn't. I have written letters, and mightily long ones at that, when I had no other way of staying in touch. Just the sheer physical effort required, I think, makes one put in an equivalent amount of emotional effort as well. To make it count, in a way. Emails with their instantaneousness seem to lack some of that depth - at least for me, for now. I hope I can change some of that over a period of time.


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