Friday, May 1, 2009

Life aint that usual!

Saturday evening.. At work.. Oh wondering why? Yeah, we have a 6 day working week! Damn! However, for me its a day with more coffee breaks, longer breakfast and lunch time and leave home on time or sometimes before that. This particular evening was weird.. I had company for coffee, unlike most of the occassions and strangely, it was the 50 year old in-house architect in our team. I have never spoken to him anything other than - meetings and about meetings.

On the personal front all I know is an IIT-K alumni and unmarried (never bothered to know the reasons). In fact, since he was around I just invited him for a cup of coffee without even thinking if I can hold up a conversation with him for anything more than few minutes! But to my surprise he was more forthright than I'd thought he would be. We spoke about the new place he has shifted to, close to work; his long serving cook whom he trusts like crazy; about his daily drinking routine of 1 bottle of beer and 3 large pegs of Blender's Pride (This was quite evident from the huge panch he has ;)).

The conversation was flowing and in the meanwhile I was half way through my hot piping cup of cappucino while he had just started sipping his cup of soup. But what was coming, kept me puzzling for quite sometime about the intricacies of life and its meaning. On one of my questions related to work-life balance, he mentioned that he is getting into a depression because he doesn't have much work, no family (wife or children) to fall back on and the fact that he is schizophrenic doesn't help his cause. Hold on, what? Here's a bit of a part of the conversation:

Architect: I hope you are aware that I am schizophrenic!!
Me: Ah. Not really.. [bewildered]
Architect: I am, for the last 25 years.. [Holy cow!]
Me: Oh! Thats bad. Hope you are getting better now.
Architect: I am much better now, but this depression part is not helping my cause..
Me: I know it can be killing..If I may ask, any particular reason why you never thought about the family? [To myself: You ass, how can you just ask such a question? ]
Architect: Well, since I was a schizophrenic, it wouldn't have been easy to hold up to a relationship and the package that comes along with it.Plus I did not want to be cruel on someone else's life.
Architect: At this juncture, I am pretty much a dead man. There is no meaning to my life. I am tired of searching for a meaning for my life. I can do much better at work but my health doesn't allow me to.. Anyway, lets see, I will evaluate my options in another years' time (Well,I don't know what that meant!)

Believe it or not - Every bit of what he spoke was in just one expression. There were absolutely no sign of emotions - sadness or happiness - attached to anything he spoke!

FYI: He is one genius guy when it comes to work. His turnaround time with solutions to a particular problem is breathtaking without taking away the fact that they are pretty much the best ones. He works as a consultant on a contract basis with an agreement that he will come to work only by 12 because of his health reasons!!

Still wondering why I have written this post?!? Well, there is something about this conversation which really moved me a lot and I have been trying to pen it down for a while. Not everyone seem to get everything - Thats so true! One brilliant brain cannot be utilized for maximum, one amazing character who wants to have a family but cannot, cannot find a meaning to his life not because he is not capable of, but because he is down with a serious illness. Life for him is :Alcohol and sleep! As I feel good to be blessed with good health (touch wood!), I just hope we all do find a meaning to our lives and use our abilities to the hilt! Amen!

PS: Coincidentally I tend to live up with the name of my blog in almost every post of mine: "Cognitive Dissonance" and this one is no different.


navs said...

thts the reason i guess why u shd read people n not books when it comes to decoding meanings of life(if there is any)..good one,, really meaningful..

Manoi said...

Yes, thats why they(people) keep me puzzling all the time! Btw couldnt place you? navs, who? :)

Chimericalling said...

(To navs): Maybe that is true, that you should read people and not books, if you are to derive any meaning from (this) life... but People are very difficult to read, and very easy to misinterpret. Besides, how do you know that they themselves have discerned any meaning for life?

Anywayz... going back to your discussion with the Architect: i confess that i am somewhat confused -- is this a soliloquy, or a dialogue, or what? Well, ill assume that it is a dialogue, because you post it as such, but there are some issues with your presentation, eg the Architect's final two lines, that leave mes with some confusions.

What i do know is that Architects are more experts at creating Formidable Blueprints --(as opposed to, say, someone like myself, who is more of an intricate doodler)-- and so they might not have much in the way of language skillz. So maybe by saying "schizo" he meant something else, like for example, that he interfaces with the Invisible Other. In that sense, i spose, anyone who 'natters' with God(S) would be schizo, right? Same goes for anyone who explores the psyche(s) of fictional character(s).

As for your "coincidentally" trying to live up to your blog name in each post: if you are consciously trying to be cognitively dissonant, wouldn't it better described as something else? More accurately, it seems like u r striving to maintain consciousness of numerous conflicting brain states... i wonder what that would be best labeled as... "multiple awareness", maybe?

PS- I don't actually have anything substantive to add here. I just like postscripts. :)

Manoi said...

@Chimericalling: Thanks for the comment. Clarification:
1. Yes,its a dialogue and its real. Not a piece of fiction.
2. He is actually a schizophrenic (confirmed it later with my colleagues)
3. Wrt presentation,This was more of a vent out post than to 'make a point' post and I agree I did not present it well, because I did not know how to put it exactly. Tried my best.
4. Cognitive Dissonant part: I reiterate, it was a coincidence and I have no idea what my brain states are when I am writing, but I know what my state of mind is more often than not and hence the name!!

PS: My replies are not an act of defence, but more of giving clarification :)

Mrithyunjay said...

Wow ... Very meaningful ... need to be observant of what is happening around us and to appreciate what we have today rather than crib for every damn thing !!!

Excellent post ...

Abinav Kumar said...

who is this architect guy? how come you never mentioned him..?!

Manoi said...

I did in my post !!! Quite a while back..!

Abinav Kumar said...

duh! that much i gather... i meant otherwise, of course!

anyway. hows the guy now? still around? any more coffee breaks with him?

Manoi said...

Still the chief architect.. Do have coffee with him.. but its not always you discuss such things! He is 50 odd...His turnaround time is incredible.. I mean it..