Friday, December 21, 2007

The Purpose of Daman

Every person that we meet, every experience that we have, is towards the learning of something that we need to learn, towards some future only the universe can see. I don’t quite remember where I read this, or some words to this effect. But I find myself turning to these words so often these days. Because I’d really like to know exactly what is it that I have to learn from Daman, exactly what purpose this city is meant to serve in my life.

I’m convinced that Daman occupies a place in this universe entirely unique to itself. There is no other city on this planet that is as astonishingly full of dismal contradictions. This city has four multinational banks but not one bookshop. It has dozens of beautiful beachside hotels and ‘multi-cuisine’ restaurants and not a single coffee shop. It has no less than two hundred bars, but you will never see a drunken brawl anywhere. The last I’m not complaining about, by the way.
It is like being on another planet, or maybe in another time zone. No, being on another planet or time zone would actually offer so much scope for exciting new experiences. Maybe it’s like being on that planet and in that time zone ALL ALONE.

Bright lights, professional salons, book fairs, theaters - these may or may not seem like unreasonable desires. To me, these things define life. People may gush about mountains and streams; nothing warms up my heart more than the neon signed skyline of Bombay. As I long to meet people that I can flex my mental muscles with, I worry sometimes that I will lose my ability to be amusing. A sort of disuse atrophy, so to speak. Will this continual pretense of deriving pleasure from the trivial become real some day? I laugh at things that don’t amuse me, I aim to find thrill among the blandest- will all this change me? Oh God, will I forget how to talk? That’s about the only thing I’m really good at. Seriously, was I MEANT to be in a place so quiet? Maybe there has been a typo error up there in the universe's logs - maybe I was supposed to be in a place that answers to this description AFTER I died, as punishment for the many sins I have not yet had a chance to commit. And what is it that I’m meant to learn here? Ok, let’s see. To learn to live in the moment. Sans people, sans shopping, sans films and plays and interesting people. To learn that there is more to life than just these. But seriously, is there, really?

But there are some real joys in the dullest of places…when I somehow manage to decipher the gurgle of a two yr old and realize that what he said was- ‘come to my house for dinner, Manjot aunty!”- the warmth I feel is something that I had not known before. I have learnt to shop alone, to watch movies by myself, all the books about life being difficult make so much sense- I never did know what the fuss was about self help books before this. Last week I read something about pain being the best teacher in the world. A year ago, I would’ve laughed and used four letter words that refer to the process of defecation but it seems like such profound wisdom now!


  1. Oh boy!

    Rants make a fascinating reading if the person ranting is totally and utterly disgusted with something. I think you are, and I really enjoyed reading this.

    I guess you can revisit this years from now and then you would know the purpose :)

    I'll have a coffee at Barista on your behalf meanwhile.

  2. Hi manjot
    Glad and suprised with your scholastic side of you. You writting is good and intersting. You can make a good writer too.

    Sunila and Sreenivas

  3. this place brings out the author in u.keep the chin up & good things will happen

  4. wow wow....
    I thought there is no one better than myself in the analysis of things... i thought i cud analyze a rock lying on the ground......until i read these lines in " The purpose of Daman". I wonder " kya sahi mein itni depth mein events ho rahe hain?" coz the analysis is till the core of teh matter. And i like the way u dont use names (of people) anywhere....May be Daman will be responsible for another immensely popular autobiography !!!

  5. i think you're right about the pain aiding my creativity...
    Got the job, by the way!

    I'm gonna be visiting here more often! maybe i will choose to live vicariously...Sky Diving!

  6. after reading yur article i wish to be a skyyyyyyyyyyyy diver.....

  7. For Vishal:
    It may be that this desire to analyse things till they're threadbare is the basis for our friendship, you know!

    For Pria:
    Good for you!Will keep checking your page to see what comfort and security do to the writer in you!

    For Karamjeet:
    Go for it!

  8. hello... Manjot

    it seems that you are outstanding one... so keep your blog going...

  9. Not only a great title, but it's a memoir in the making!

    Keep at it!

    And thankX for visiting and leaving a comment on my blog:)

    Noel Gama

  10. Wow! I wish we had met even earlier - your writing, just like you, is an absolute delight! What you wrote reminds me of my father's plight when he was posted at Mahabaleshwar; the place drove him so mad - he actually took voluntary retirement from his service :-D


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