The Lost Art(lessness) Of Conversations

Despondency continued to hang in the air as we lost an intelligent and sensitive human being who also happened to be a wonderful actor, one of my favourites but I shall not talk about the actor or analyse his actions. Those of us who followed his work loved it irrespective of the movie’s BO collection. Beyond that we didn’t know who he was and why he did what we did. As tempted as we are to dissect and gossip, spare a thought to his family and friends. I shall miss him and rue about the possibilities of good cinema that are now lost with him. I choose to stop at that and urge all of us to do that. I have refused to speculate on social media and after reading his friend Rohini Iyer’s post, I’m glad I chose to stay silent. She has summed it up eloquently and even if you have already read it, I’d say go through it again.

Having said that, I know that I have to finish this piece. In that vein, let me ask you a question this week. When was the last time you had a conversation with anyone that didn’t come tagged with any adjective? I mean not a meaningful/ useful/ gainful/ insightful conversation but just a conversation. The lockdown has given us the opportunity to make time for each other but aside from that not many of us would recall having a chat without an agenda.

Now go back in time and remember a trip to the nearby market with your parents or even a visit to the nearest grocery store/ vegetable vendor. Those trips were dotted with multiple pit stops and we would patiently stand beside our parents paused for a while to talk to an acquaintance or wave at a known face. As a child it may have bugged many of us because our precious playtime was compromised but now, if I may speak for myself, those moments are nostalgia’s sweet spot.

Remember waking up to the sounds of tea being poured into cups and your parents whispered conversations on the window ledge or those friends who would drop by unannounced for tea and stayed over till after dinner. None of these involved any art and yet the memories of those guileless, innocent times are strongly evocative.

I’ve had meaningless chatter with my taxi driver, my colleagues and friends even some strangers in the bus. I often look back and smile. Most of it was probably rudderless banter because I can’t recall what we talked about but they added meaning to my life. I hope some of you remember sharing that time with me as I save them in my subconscious to fall back on when I am old and wrinkly.

In all the ‘news’ and posts that mourned SSR, the ones that spoke to me were those of his friends who want to remember him for the conversations they shared. I think I too would like to be missed like that and hopefully before I am gone.

As the lockdown is lifting and when the fear of the virus will dissipate (it will, it has to), let’s add this to our ‘to do’ lists. Let’s make time for each other, for people we love. More often than not that is all we need.

To quote Oscar WildeConversation should touch everything, but should concentrate itself on nothing

Dr. Shivani Salil


  • Nitika Sawhney

    This write-up made me nostalgic, completely! And in the end gave me hope too – the virus will go off, it has to 🙂 Thanks for all the positivity.
    And needless to say, you write and speak beautifully.

  • Neha

    So very true and I’m glad that I still strike with my friends or strangers for conversations without any agenda.
    Nicely written Shivani!!


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