“Much like the protons and electrons in an unstable atom!” … He continued with a twinkle in his eyes, and the contagious enthusiasm exuding from his being. Only I was not affected today. My protons and electrons had resolved the conflict of the past few days and were in an intermediary equilibrium state before a fresh battle began.
I had heard his talk so many times now that I could repeat it with the exact stress on the exact syllable without missing a line or an expression. I remember the effect it had on me the first time I heard him. I was mesmerized, not sure by the words or by the man himself. Much like it had been after I read The Fountainhead (a book by Ayn Rand) the first time. Only, I was not a gullible teenager anymore. Amused at myself for getting carried away by words like that, I decided to attend the talk till I understood the reason behind the raptness the speaker commanded and so effortlessly received from his audience. Confidence of a man is palpable, and while it commands respect and admiration, it does not trigger intrigue like the man at the podium did. In Depth knowledge of his subject, a general arrogance about himself, a been-there-done-that attitude, pretentions and dramatics…. I had to strike every possible explanation I cooked up after some time. I had heard the talk a good seven times and it sounded different every time, even though it was worded much the same way and delivered in the same fashion, it opened new channels, and closed the old feelings of connect that I felt for the deliverer.
Is it right to get influenced by influential people like that? I wondered on my way home. I had nothing to lose, so to say, on immediate terms at least, for my admiration was a harmless thought of the speaker encapsulating most of the passive part of my brain in moments of passivity. But, since I was trying to find my own self in this multi-labyrinthine mirage like world, I did not want to get swayed into believing things just because they were believable. Having influences influencing one’s standpoint could prove to be beneficial only if one’s current absolute position is correctly known. But “absolute” even as a concept seems unconvincing, considering that everything one is or does is viewed on relative terms.
A soft breeze was blowing and I decided to sit in a nearby park before going home. It was late evening and the sun had just set. The kids were playing the last of their games with a sense of urgency, while old couples walked quietly on the walkway. There were a few side glances in my direction, presumably wondering why I was sitting by myself on the bench, not even talking on the phone! I didn’t care anymore, for I had come to realize not many people had discovered the serene company of solitude. The breeze had a sobering effect, and I decided not to wreck my brains about the speech again and also, not to visit the speaker again. Any possible effect that he had to have on my insight would have happened by now at a subliminal level, and any amount of prodding would not yield to anything.
There was a fallen leaf underneath a tree, trying to catch up with the breeze. It would lift itself a little above the ground, only to settle on the ground intermittently and rise again. It seemed to me, that having fallen from the tree, it was seeking equilibrium of its own. I just couldn’t place when it achieved it. Whether it was when it was in the air, or when it stayed on the ground, or was it simply the arrhythmic pattern of meeting with the wind and being pulled by the ground and being lifted again that put it in a lucid state of equilibrium?
With that thought in my mind, I lifted myself, and headed for home, with a smile, which would seem stupid to the uninitiated, stuck on my face. The talk that I heard a good seven times had sure had its effect!