Each one of us lives a different life.

Yes, there’s a specific word for that very realization - that each random passerby is living a life as vivid and complex as your own—populated with their own ambitions, friends, routines, worries and inherited craziness—an epic story that continues invisibly around you like an anthill sprawling deep underground, with elaborate passageways to thousands of other lives that you’ll never know existed, in which you might appear only once, as an extra sipping coffee in the background, as a blur of traffic passing on the highway, as a lighted window at dusk. It’s called sonder.

The definition of the word itself is so surrealistically real, that you’re enchanted when you get to know that you’ve been struck by sonder since childhood. You read books, watch movies, travel, talk to people, all because you want to live different lives. It’s nice to get out of your own monotonous system for a while. Like a down-to-earth out-of-body experience.
Sarah Kay has re-united me with my long lost love of poetry ever since I’ve been introduced to her spoken word poetry on TED, and then stalked her on Youtube further. You might want to check out the videos. How she popped into my mind? Oh well, her TED talk- How many lives can you live? is ditto what I’m talking of.

She says, that she could not understand the concept of living just one life, restricted by age, gender, period of history. She was jealous that there were entire lives she was missing out upon. And how many in the world were missing out on her life. And that, is perhaps the subconscious reason we all want to share our stories with others. Because we’d want to know theirs.
Also, an online start-up on similar lines- The Listserve. It has over 20,000 subscribers through e-mail Each day, a lottery allows a random person to send a mail to the others. I like reading about complete random lives from entirely different corners of the globe- what they would like to share if given such a platform. Those of you interested might try and give it a shot.
The next time you’re bored and alone, sitting in some busy crowded place, start looking at people. There’d be a person laughing while talking on the phone( perhaps a joke? some good news?), a boy and a girl walking away silently ( a regular romantic spat? siblings with a communication gap?), try guessing at what the others live.
A cat lives nine lives. We can live up to infinite if we wanted to.


Pooja Rai said...

It's amazing how every single person has one hell of a story to share. As it is said, it is a small world and we have so little time maybe we should start sharing now.

Siddharth Pasumarthy said...

It's good when the topic is an interesting one and better when the writer knows how to put it in words. Nicely written vish..

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