M and I connected on social media a little while back. We chatted a bit, not too much. Then all of a sudden last week, I got a text.
Hey there, I’m in London for the India Australia match. Fancy a drink?
We agreed to meet up in Central London later that week.
It was a lovely Friday evening and we met at Green Park Station. If this wasn’t planned, we could have easily walked past each other without any sense of recognition.
We met by design but connected by default – not by appearance or stats, but by vibe. It was a warm Friday evening and we strolled the city before we sat outdoors at a pub on Wigmore Street in Marylebone. By this time, we were getting into naked chat.
When I say naked chat, I mean raw, deep, unpretentious conversation. In my experience, only very few conversations make it to that level of intensity, especially when there is nothing tangible to give or to receive. When two people are there, just because they are.
We walked a lot that evening but frankly, we were so immersed in conversation, that directions and destinations didn’t really matter.
‘WOW! 26 years! Can you believe it. Although so much has happened over the years, this connect seems to have stood still, almost mysteriously bringing us right back to the unfinished conversation. Everything is just as we left it – only in a parallel universe’
‘Perhaps it’s the power of quantum entanglement’, said M. I asked him to explain. M was always more geeky than me, he brought knowledge and I brought perspective. Both sharp, passionate and competitive, we were very similar yet complementary. Our energies matched. Over the glass of wine he explained the theory to me.
Quantum entanglement in simple terms is when two particles are spread over time and space and yet live a shared existence in such a way that changes in the measurement of one particle, immediately impact the other. The nature of the change, depends on the type of entanglement. The theory of course is a lot more scientific and precise but you get the idea.
So when was the last time we met?
It was 1993.
MPS School, Jaipur, India.
We were debaters representing our respective schools. He was from MPS, a boys’ school, and I was from MGD, a girls’ school. I can’t recall the exact topic. It was either Science Vs Art or Change Vs Consistency. The topic doesn’t matter.
‘I’m Vinita Aswani (my previous name) and I’m here to speak for the motion of the house.’
‘I’m M and I’m here to speak against the motion of the house.’
At one level, those statements marked the start of a clash but at another, deeper level, we were connecting. In order to clash, you must first connect, because it is upon connecting that you establish a shared passion for a purpose – it is only then that you realise that you are heading in opposite directions. Oddly though, you still stay connected by commonality of purpose.
We had met before on several occasions – always only on stage and with the solitary purpose of winning for our schools. Our intense rivalry compelled me to listen intently to every word he spoke – even though I did so only to prepare for the rebuttal that would follow.
Thinking back, perhaps a part of me wanted to know M on a more human level but I was in a boarding school and always escorted safely back to MGD so my interactions were limited to on stage delivery after which I was dropped back to school by Ms Menon, my English teacher.
Then one day, Ms Menon walked up to me after a debate. M was standing beside her. ‘Vinita, I need to rush back today so I have requested M to drop you back to the boarding school. He’s also been my student and I know I can trust him.’
And the next thing I know, we were walking the streets of Jaipur.
I can almost see the two students, walking in the scorching heat of Rajasthan, both in school uniforms. Mine was a blue and white salwar kameez with a maroon dupatta and he wore a white shirt and grey trousers. I was short and chubby, he was tall and skinny.
It was a walk we both remember – not so much because of what we spoke but because of what we didn’t. You see when we got half way, I decided to hop into an auto and left behind me an unfinished conversation.
That little walk was our first and last offstage meeting. Eventually, I left Jaipur and over time, we lost touch.
Until that evening in London – when we talked our hearts out.
I feel like my heart is like a treasure chest full of words. Their silence sometimes deceives me into believing that there is nothing more to said. Yet, when the moment is right, they flow unashamedly – and their incessant chatter takes me by complete surprise.
So why am I telling you this?
Not everything needs to have a point, and not every story needs to have a beginning or an end.
As debaters shredding arguments, scouring constantly for hard-hitting, well-thought through award-winning arguments, just this once, we devoured the sheer joy of pure human connect and the utter beauty of pointlessness.
That evening, we revelled in the abundance of energetic conversation, sharing experience, stories and perspectives and left with tremendous gratitude to the universe (and one another) for an opportunity to pick up a conversation left unfinished 26 years ago. And in that moment, we discovered our entanglement.
Always greedy for love and connection, I lap up these moments of genuine warmth. I crave them, plot them, value them and then cherish them forever to come.
And now as I say good bye to you too, I am deeply aware that this is not an end. More such moments are waiting to hit me up as they are you. Make no mistake, these moments won’t scream in your face or show up in your list of connections, at best, they will hover in your sub conscience. They can’t be searched, they must be sensed.
So when you sense them emerging, slow down, stop, talk, breathe and just enjoy the wine!
Have a great Sunday!
For more of my articles and videos, visit my website, vinitaramtri.com. You can also contact me for speaking, coaching and writing projects. You can reach me on +44 7817256077 or drop me a line on firstname.lastname@example.org.
Written by Vinita Ramtri. Rights Reserved.