I asked him which book he is reading. He said ” Ulysses”. He then went on to explain how he is enjoying the book. A few hours back he was a stranger. I had met him at my friend’s place as we had gone there to see Dussehra kolu decoration. My college friend had invited us during Mahanavmi festival to come and see the decoration at home. Last few years we have been regular except for 2017. So this time it was with my two daughters’ that I landed on the final day.
A few days before Navami, my wife told me that the latest book by Malcolm Gladwell “Talking strangers” had a mixed response. That afternoon I was in the book store and was reading the first few pages. I liked this line from the book, “Sometimes the best conversations between the strangers allow the strangers to remain a stranger“.
Is that true? I was thinking who was the stranger that made an impact in 2019?
I enjoy the scenic beauty on a festival day. The streets are laid down nicely with flowers. The bananas leave and ash gourds adorn the streets. We see the family dressed nicely and everyone has a smile on their faces. We picked up some sweets on the way and we reached as planned on the appointed hour. As soon as we entered the house my friend told me that we have some seniors in the room. After our initial pleasantries, I noticed that one old man was an Orthopaedic doctor and a writer. He got his book from my friend who smiled and admitted that he has not yet read the book. In the next few minutes, we witnessed a narration from the 10th chapter of his book which was on Dussehra. We heard him attentively and I was amazed by his grip on the language. He went to discuss in detail about left brain, right brain and how his perspectives of a life well-lived. His literary sense was just enough to admire him and my friend was kind enough to introduce me as a blogger. It was time to part. I told him that I will come and meet him before I leave and if possible get a copy of the book
I met him at his house and I offered to pay for the book. He turned it down and offered me a signed copy of his book “Full moons many more“. I thanked him in our traditional manner. We had time to chit chat for some time. In that conversation, I did my best to impress upon him my knowledge of Siddharth Mukherjee, Atul Gawande, and Vicktor Franke. All their works rolled out from my tongue so naturally and I made an instant connection with him. It was unexpected. All the doctors turned writers’ names came out in a jiffy just to impress my friend I guess. I enjoyed that short conversation with the writer and it was time to return home. As we got into the car the first song which played was “I feel good” from Anjaana Anjaani (transl strangers). I asked my daughters ” Did you feel good?” They both nodded in full agreement.
For me, the highlight of that visit apart from having a good time was that engaging talk with the stranger. He shared his life’s work in a matter of minutes for me to read and absorb. That stranger influenced me with his love for writing.
From his book I noted, “Vijayadasami has a special meaning. What could be more ennobling than the realization of all that is virtuous in human skill and effort?”
They say, “Every man’s memory is his private literature“. The literary work that was shared in those moments was a treat. It was a testimony of his writing skills and relentless efforts.
So on that day I met a “stranger” but left him as an “admirer” who has a multidisciplinary approach to life and is contributing in his own way to lift people through his writing. So I was pondering over this notion, “The best conversations between the strangers allow the strangers to remain a messenger “. With him, I spoke about “writers and books” and he finally gifted me his private literature which will take many more moons for me to learn, reflect, implement and share. Everyone has a story to share and we have a choice to accept the message along with the “stranger” turned messenger.