Passionate people are also boring people. Those with no specific interest or opinion are boring as well, so I suppose the only fun people are the ones with a healthy interest in a number of things, those who can switch effortlessly from one interest to the other. I am not one of them. I am the unhealthily passionate sort. I am writing a series of short stories, and if you try to have a conversation with me, all I do is talk about them, or try to make you read one. Or I talk about the books I am reading, or the publishing industry in general, or… *horror* *horror* of my notion of politics. Evidently, that makes me quite a droll conversationalist for most people.
In Calcutta, I had gone to university with a large number of people. Well, every university has a large number of people, but at mine the social scene was particularly active, so a large number of people knew other large numbers of people. Now I no longer keep track of most people I superficially knew, or the ones whose interests I did not share, which creates a particular impediment to gossip. Besides, new people are growing up into the social scene all the time, so my reactions to new gossip keep moving from ‘Oh, I see – they did that?’ to ‘Who?’. There are so many people in the world, every one of them of mild interest. I find it more profitable to know a few people to great depth than everyone just a little. I am more interested in minds than the surface repercussion of actions.
Above all, more than anything, I am trying to avoid any knowledge of that inhuman conglomerate called ‘society’. I have always been terrified by inhuman conglomerates – ‘school’, ‘college’, ‘office’ and so on. What ‘the school’ thinks is not what any individual in it thinks, and it’s meaner, more judgemental, more forbidding, reducing every individual that participates in it to their basest instincts. I don’t want to have anything to do with any of these. Much better this room, these books, these tireless hours of pondering and working upon a craft. They are so much more benevolent with their rewards.
And maybe the occasional coffee with someone who doesn’t gossip.