Here Charitable Individualism is the key!… nothing less.

MCC in the Eighties


Madras Christian College in the early eighties catapulted my consciousness from the outer to the inner. The realisation that the outer was limited by my perceptional tools and that the ‘inner’ wasn’t thus circumscribed, dawned with a suddenness completely eclipsing my then prevalent notions of ICON SEEKING and WALKING ON THE FOOTPRINTS OF THOSE ICONS!
There was a Professor of English, Rajani, who was perennially dressed in tees and denims walking to take his classes in Selaiyur Hall from Thomas Hall, where he resided. His walk was measured, not stiff, but with a casualness, and his long grey beard blending well with his pensive look. Prof. Rajani was ready to entertain not only a new idea but had the honesty to admit that he hadn’t thought about it or that he’d blocked that view with a long- held set notion. A sort of intellectual honesty, unperturbed by opinions of the outer!
He was for me a symbol of the man who had turned to the inner, not through austerity, piety or self mortification, but allowing the experiences to seep into his consciousness untrammelled by pre-held notions and yet recording it for reference but uninfluenced by unmerited experience. My friends used to read their meanings into his attitude as him being ‘tolerant’ to others’ opinions and actions, yet for me that unblinking depth in his eyes showed that he wasn’t supercilious about those opinions and actions as being mundane or irrelevant but a silent realisation that each human was in his own stage of opinions in Life aspiring for something and evolving at his own speed!
That silent uncensorious move with his own Inner ploughing of a lonely furrow of his self set him apart from the rest of the Professors in the campus.
One day I walked into his apartment over Thomas Hall to the mellow flowing of Rachmaninov. Anyone could walk into his apartment and listen to his collection of jazz, classical or any other genre either brought or available there. When many in the campus wouldn’t have even heard of Bang & Olufsen he possessed a music system complete with LPs neatly stacked. Rachmaninov was new, utterly new to me, especially with that low drone of the double bass accentuating the bathos in that piece.
He waved us in.
That was the beginning of the realisation that each had only one Life, with no guarantee of either continuity of this Life or another, notwithstanding my Christian beliefs!
Unless spoken to, Prof was economical with his words and even when he answered, he triggered a curiosity in the other to explore and not merely to offload his knowledge or opinions on the other. In that atmosphere of chants and bells of Rachmaninov, the Prof said something, which rings in my mind even today:
The gamut and depth of one’s experience defines the silent accommodation of ideas and opinions set upon us. Let those overflow but never overwhelm as it is their’s and till felt, experienced and adopted, it ain’t yours!

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Tag Cloud

%d bloggers like this: