Musings: Cold and Placid (or Wringing Out Ringing Words)

I’ve denied this a lot; but the truth is that I’m a contemplative—shy even—introvert masquerading as an extrovert to the best of my abilities. (In my professional life I build systems, I manage a team, I make presentations, I participate in and lead meetings and reviews, I make decisions, I organise events.) When I speak, words have to be wrung out by shining a light into dark corners of my consciousness—if not the depths of my soul—that would rather remain dark. Over the years this act has become progressively easier. Nevertheless, I can still comfortably—even blissfully—spend hours by myself, in the company of my thoughts and my books and my notebook, without getting the least bit perturbed. The only time the hum of my mental machinery becomes unbearable is after a particularly engaging conversation with a like-minded person.

I tend towards the agnostic position in my beliefs (or the lack thereof) and hence, like an idealised Borges, believe that the purpose of existence is to tell stories, build narratives, and play with language. I am impelled, therefore, to read, to interpret, and to write, and to articulate, mostly to myself and to polish my thoughts to near-perfection before writing them down or speaking them. However, rather paradoxically, the more I read, write, and articulate, the more I feel a burning desire to share (to speak, not just write) my thoughts—the thought of keeping my thoughts to myself is gradually becoming…unthinkable. Every passing day, I feel a growing need to reach out, to connect, to establish relationships, if only for the occasional pleasure of a warm friendly conversation—a subtle splash of warmth in an otherwise cold and placid life; a life that, make no mistake, is the outcome of a conscious choice. Or so I tell myself.

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