Monday, April 09, 2012

Summer Afternoons & Seaside Towns


Their food-smeared fingers kept drying in the mild afternoon heat, in the draught from the ceiling and table fans. The half-turned banana leaf, held down by a steel glass, fluttered but did not particularly distract them from the conversation. Beyond the realm where a common language facilitates an exchange, it was one that was driven purely by will and a willingness to share and understand. Words and phrases tumbled out haltingly, sentences were a luxury. But they talked, at leisure and length. 

Of families. Some large and some small. Of family members. Most here and some gone. And then a story was told, of influence and ideologies. And of a fight against it all. 

Of first borns. The first few years. Fond thoughts. Food habits. Facts and feelings. And of home life. An exploration of common ground and uncharted territories. An attempt to inform, to infer. 

And their fingers still kept drying in the mild afternoon heat of a seaside town. But it didn’t matter. Between broken words and silences, they talked of each other’s lives and of an object of affection conspicuous by absence, an invisible thread tying the phrases and silences together to make sense. In its need to understand and be understood without the crutches of language, it was a conversation as complete as any other. And that’s what mattered on that summer afternoon in that seaside town.