The Umbilical Cord

Yesterday I was in Delhi and I had to give my passport to people at Gravity (they have a show coming up in Budapest and since I havent been to Budapest, I am keen on going). I could have sent it via a runner but then I decided to drop by. Half expecting A and S to be around - the two guys who've taught me the events business (and the skills I use to run C4E). If not for them, I would not know what is this events management business and wont have all the travel that I get to do or make whatever money I get to make. In one line, my life would suck so bad without them.

While I was at Gravity, I traveled far and wide, I stayed up for days to put up shows, I did things that I did not like with people that weren't worthy of my time, I have cried, I have laughed and I have partied. I have learnt all that I know from that place. In fact I think I am a minor version of the guy who runs that place. I think like him, I talk like him, I am elitist at times like him. I make the same mistakes. Hell, I want the same car as him!

It's at Gravity that the idea of entertaining others struck home. I started realising that purpose of my life could be entertainment. I started thinking of writing while I was bored during the slow part of the season. And while I worked, I got exposed to so much that the scatter brain in me got ever more scattier. It fuelled my appetite for knowing more things - even if I were merely scratching the surface. This was the second time (after CLA) when I felt alive. At CLA, it was sheer brilliance of people around me. And at Gravity, it was the breadth of exposure I got.

So, when I left them to start 5x5 and work on #tnks, I started feeling this void. At least in my head. It was like the Stockholm Syndrome I think. I missed the unpredictability, the petty issues that you face while working, and other such things. I was like that junkie that needed a shot in the arm every once in a while. At first I would merely twitch at the separation. Then it started hurting in the head. I felt as if I were lost. But then, like all other things, I came around. I got settled in the routine at Mumbai. The book happened. SWI, C4E happened and I thought I had moved on.

Till I spoke to them a few weeks ago. I was putting up an event and I needed some help. I spoke to S and all the memories came rushing back. It was like meeting a lover after a gap of few years and you rekindle memories of the good time and bad times? And like lovers meeting after a long time, we had so much to catch up on. Slowly we started talking more and before I knew, the relationship was back. To the extent that I felt strangely attracted to the beautiful mess that that place is. On top of this, at the back of my head, I've always known that I belonged there. It was home. I could go back anytime I wanted to and they would accept me with open arms.

Back to the visit last night. So I went and I was meeting A and S after months (dont even recall when I saw them last). As I walked into their office, I was literally shaking. I could not speak for the first 5 minutes. When A asked me how were things with me, I had no clue about how to respond. I dont know if it was adrenaline or something else. But I could not speak. For someone who's been given the gift of gab (well, almost), I was short of words. I was not short. I knew what to say. I had the thoughts and the words but I could not blurt em out. I guess thats what they say when they say you've been struck by lightening. Think of the time when you met the love of your life for the first time. Or, you see that you've won that award that you've been dying for! Or you hit the lottery. Or any of those things.

And while all this was happening, like a thunderbolt. I realised that the place is not the same that I left. I no longer belong there. I am welcome and there are people and memories and all that. But I dont belong there. The umbilical cord has snapped. Now I know what they mean by moving on. I've moved on - a first for me. So, while I care, I am no longer emotionally attached to them. Or to the place. Oh, and apart from the guys who led the business, the entire team was amazing (at least the initial set of people I worked with were). With time, people came and people went and the camaraderie, sort of, seized to exist. I think the place did not have or foster a "culture", if you will, that makes people irreplaceable. Ok, am getting off topic now.

The point is, if you know me well, you would know that I have hard time getting over things. So, this is like a big deal! Big enough to merit a long, ranty post.

This feeling of not being tethered to a place is new to me. I do not know how to react. So, I spoke to a couple of people that were around when I was there. Both echoed the same sentiments. The place aint no same no more. And both agreed that they have fond memories of the time we spent there, they too are done with it.

So yeah. The cord, is gone. Here I am, on my own. Wish me luck.

1 comment:

Jabda! | Pradeep Daniel said...

It's a happen.

But I wonder if the same thing is true for every place that we've invested in.

I exchanged a few emails with S last week and was quickly swept back into the ebb and flow that is the pulse at Gravity. It feels great. It feels warm.

But things are slightly different for me.
You know how the umbilical cord can sometimes ruin marriages?
Well, that was the case for me.
And I think you picked a perfect analogy there.
I was so caught up with what was happening at the other end of my cord that I almost strangled my marriage with it.
So, now, I'm always wary of playing with it.
It's not easy. It's so comforting to know that home is just a phone call away and yet to tell yourself to be careful not to flirt with the phone.

But at the end of the day, even though I know the cord is severed, I will always know that this is where the other end of the cord goes. And that's enough for me.

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