It was one of those regular press conferences that we journalists are used to attending. When you do two a day, you get familiar with the ritual - signing the visitor's book, coffee in paper cups, bondas soggy with chutney, the inane questions...answers...
But today was different. Sitting in one of these non-soul-elevating conferences, brushing aside the bonda, I had a moment of epiphany.
Journalists can, if we are covering a particular beat (subject), even predict with a certain degree of accuracy, a blow-by-blow account of what is to happen next...
It began like one of those conferences today. Usual rituals, same journalists, small talk, big talk... I'm avoiding the specifics, because they are not important.
At one point, Dr.Mohan Kameswaran (the ENT surgeon, heard of him?) said, "Do you know why hearing is so important to us?"
What kind of a question was THAT? Don't we all know how important it is and precisely why.
But his answer was my epiphany:
"The most important function of hearing is to connect."
How true! Sound connects man with his surroundings, simply. In that, is his security. The feeling of belonging somewhere comes from the sounds/noises we hear everyday.
Have we not felt it before? Quite unconsciously? When that irritating creak of a fan that has a faulty bearing makes you feel at home, or the incessant mute whirring of the air conditioner tells you "boss, you are at work". That is security.
When the hair on my neck stood up, I had a feeling it was not merely the air conditioner blower.
Then, I heard that familiar scrape of a chair hurriedly pushed aside - that made me secure too. Secure in the belief that I was among a tribe of journalists, patient ones, who want to leave before it is actually time to.