Sunday, May 13, 2007

Morse code...

Was watching this documentary on Discovery, regarding 'Morse-code' & I wondered how we humans have always had an urge and a need to communicate.
My mind then slipped into thinking on the how's of accomplishing this, had we no speech or hearing.

I pondered over whether it was possible to maintain a meaningful relationship with someone, if we never communicated. After all, how important are words?
This answerless query lingered in my mind for long, till today when I stumbled upon my answer.

Today was a typical dull sunday morning when weeks of postponing had finally obligated my visit to the barber. It's the same salon I've visited for years... a nameless one-room of an excuse for a salon. Had it not possessed those peculiar 'adjustable' barber's chairs, it would have been mistaken for an empty room with mirrors. It's called Kasim-bhai's den, aptly after the owner of the shop, who's a stout middle-aged man with red hair & mouth always stuffed with betel.

The place is crowded on Sunday's. Not because he's an accomplished 'scissor-hands', but due to the loyalty of customers like me, who hate travelling distances for something as meagre as... er... cutting hair. Men are more accepting of their destinities in this regard. Those who don't, make it to the movies. Rest of us realize that the mane is gonna wane, anyways.

Men, unlike women, aren't fussy about who cut's their hair. I've always believed that women have a million ways to style their hair for the simple reason that they can communicate with their stylists. That's not the case with us. More often than not, our barbers aren't in a position to talk due to the heavy stuff of tobacco under their lower lip.

Kasim-bhai acknowledges my arrival with a nod & points his eyebrows to the empty 'waiting-seat', I need to occupy till my turn comes. This excruciatingly boring wait is slightly eased only by the dim tunes of a radio and a handful of glossy magazines lying at a hand's reach. They are Bollywood gossip magazines that are 3 years old. These dog-eared magazines with loosened pages indicate the vast number of bored fingers that have flipped them!

I'm bored with going thru' mine & also a little embarrased at often turning the magazine to the angle that best appreciates the photographer's view ;).
I look up only to see Kasim-bhai looking directly at me. The vacant barber's seat next to him indicates that i'm the chosen one! I proudly occupy the throne & am wrapped with the holy cloak! He looks at me thru' the mirror & raises his eyebrows. "Medium", I reply. It's the same answer I give to the local 'Bhel'-walla when he raises his eyebrows at me. Most male choices can be summed up with just this one word (except at bars & permit rooms, where the answer is invariably "large")!

A snip-snip here & a snip-snip there and it's all done. I look up to check why Kasim has paused, only to see him holding a smaller mirror behind my head.
I can barely see the reflected back of my head, as I'm not wearing my glasses, but nevertheless, nod with approval. A quick head-massage follows wherein at one point, he holds my chin with one hand & with the other placed on top of my head, raises his eyebrows at me thru' the mirror again. He's asking for permission to turn my neck with a jerk, apparently to relieve its muscles. Faint-hearted like me say 'NO!' while others go ahead.

Swish-swash... my neck is powdered & brushed, I pay the bill & I'm out! Light & fresh!

Throughout the process, I realized that not a word was uttered by the barber and yet so much was communicated!

Enterprises invest so heavily on improving communication amongst its employees & relationships go sour due to the lack of it!
Girls walk out on their love interests for he could never muster courage enough to utter those 3 words...
We are flooded with magazines, newspapers, channels & sms'es all eager to reach out to us & communicate...
Advertisements & bill-boards yell at us like hawkers on streets.
Unsolicited advice, heartless sympathy, unasked opinions all do influence us, some time or the other.

Communication is vital, life-saving at times. But all the yada-yada that goes under its name can be overwhelming. The din is too deafening for us to hear the delicate tune.
Amidst all this din, what we often fail to appreciate is our own thoughts, our own feelings, our identity.
What we often fail to hear is the silent "dhuk-dhuk... dhuk-dhuk" morse-code of our own hearts!

Acknowledgments -
Painting illustration - 'The Barber' - Nikolaos Gysis (1842-1901)


Rachit Awasthi said...

Brings to mind one classic verse written about communication by a great philosopher (yah yah, ok lets not nitpick here) of our times called Right Said Fred. Pasting the lyrics of his great work, 'Don't Talk Just Kiss'

Don't talk just kiss
We're beyond words and sound
Don't talk just kiss
Let your tongue fool around
Let's fool around

Just don't try it with your barber though ... lol!

Sandeep said...

In just one word - Awesome !!!!

Gaurav Roy said...

Dude you have turned into an impressive writter, change your profession from being a code-smith.

Gayatri said...

wonder if you try those eyebrow lifts with a girl... wonder what they would imply. *grin* please don't try them :)... well said Sagar.

Rachit Awasthi said...

As of right now googling aimless-thinking throws up your blog on the first screen of results! Way to go buddy!


Sagar Bhanagay said...

Indeed! Didn't notice till u mentioned :). BTW, googling for 'Sagar Bhanagay' says "Did you mean: sagar bhatnagar" ;):D