I used to sit on the 21st floor. Now I am retired

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Unconscious Plagiarism

This is not about Kavya and others. This is about me and a friend.

In college, I used to be with this group of friends. I would call them my first set of adult relations. Where ambiguity was celebrated and we were just getting over the simple confusions of adolescence. Some of us were leaving Michael Bolton behind for Miles Davis. Some of us were getting to actually read Proust, rather than drop the name in casual conversation (and, it wasn't me). I was getting over Ayn Rand and getting my life changed by Yossarian and Sidney Carton. We came from all over the spectrum - gender studies in psychology, economics, journalism, English literature. We didn't think twice about sharing classroom wisdom. We also kept ourselves awake all night, talking on the phone. Twice, my mother discovered me indulging in such illicit conversations.

Then, I went to B-school and I was forced to put order to my life (for reasons which will remain hidden at the moment - okay, let's just say, I was a poet amongst engineers). I panicked, but I recovered fast. I adjusted.

Friends who co-existed in the realms of ambiguity were neatly categorised now. Yahoo emoticons didn't prove to be half-as-decent as illicit whispers at 4 am. Emails grew shorter. Mobile phone revolution was still an year away. Shit happened. We grew apart. We met once every three months, when I came back.

By the end of third term, we started showing up as strangers in each others backyards. Backyards were still open to us. Then, one day, those gates were closed and replaced by Barista instead. Amidst cacophony, I couldn't understand the feminist fervour of one of my friends. She couldn't understand free markets.

Then one day, after finishing Kundera, I wrote, "Love does not make itself felt in a desire for copulation (a desire that extends to an infinite number of women) but in the desire for shared sleep (a desire limited to one woman)".* I sent this sms to all four of my friends. She called back immediately.

"Who do you think you are, sending such bilge to strangers?"
That was the pleasant opening line. Rest of the conversation was really bad. We haven't spoken since then.

I wonder whether I should have added "- Milan Kundera" at the end. Come to think of it, I did tell her that it was Kundera, but it didn't make a difference. Still, I wonder.

Now, yesterday, I discovered the following lines in my notes on my phone. There were five other notes, all of them I recognised either as my writing or as somebody else's. This one I have no idea of.
"Love can exist in multiple universes, as much a virtue as a vice. Just like here. Hate can perhaps exist only in the human mind. Hence, fourth of a man is tissue. Rest water, equal parts love and hate. One message, if I have any - cover your behind."

If you can tell me which movie or book or comic, I would appreciate it. For I am thinking of sending an sms again.

*I don't find it as profound now as then. In fact, I don't find it profound at all. I was 22 then.


Blogger neha vish said...

I have no idea where that came from. But leaving that aside - there were parts of this post that absolutely resonated.

Friday, May 05, 2006 12:30:00 AM

Blogger dhoomketu said...

Neha, shared histories, I guess.
The way paths cross in the small world we live(d) in.

Friday, May 05, 2006 12:59:00 AM

Blogger Arthur Quiller Couch said...

Had she lost your number or did she actually refer to herself as a stranger? Weird.

"Finished Kundera"?
Try V.S. Naipaul, now that's a bag of flatus that needs to be finished off.

Friday, May 05, 2006 2:20:00 AM

Blogger Mr. D said...

There were poetic engineers too, you know.

Friday, May 05, 2006 3:11:00 AM

Blogger Anand said...

a long time ago and a long way away it seems, na?

when do we do the afghan restuarnt next?

Monday, May 08, 2006 4:59:00 AM

Blogger dhoomketu said...

AQC, wierd it was. No, she hadn't lost any numbers.

Mr. D, apologies. I was talking about the general populace.

Anand, yes, long time ago but still not a long way away.
We should do it in 2 weeks I think.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006 6:18:00 PM

Anonymous truth_sayer said...

What bout the incident that you did at IIM-B?

Was it unconscious or conscious?

Trust this will find way on your blog!

Thursday, May 11, 2006 10:17:00 AM


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