Saturday, May 27, 2006


“The most important thing in any relationship is a closure” someone had once told me. Of course that was when I was in my bubbly teens where a relationship did not mean much more than a movie date or a well received PJ. If it happens with a High School crush then “Jolly Good!” and if it doesn’t then we always have someone else to blame. As I closed my eyes and walked past several doors with numbers on them (a metaphor for age, mind you) there was one shadow that kept following me. And that was the concept of ‘closing’ things. If I had opened a door, I had to close it. If I had entered somewhere, I had to exit. It never seemed to matter how and why I had made an ‘entrada’ but it was absolutely vital what my ‘salida’ looked like.

The concept of closure is not new to humankind. Back in the stone age when one hairy ape would bang a club on another’s head to establish dominance I am sure he would ensure the defeated primate had been disposed off well. If he did not then I am pretty certain other parasites sure did. In the era of the more appropriately dressed but equally brutal Roman empires if one emperor managed to grab the land and women of another then it was definitely a matter of protocol that the defeated mortal was a) either sent to the gallows to make friends with the local rodent family; b) ensured that a suitable elephant was chosen to play human-soccer with the shackled and panicky warrior or c) re-‘organ’-ized with a shiny dagger across his torso.

Regardless of how the great Roman affair or the greater Ape revolution ended the bottom-line remained the same. Closure is an important factor in any kind of relationship. Even if it means the extent of it was yelling incoherent and sour-nothings into the ears of the potential enemy.

While these are extreme examples of how closures occur we can also examine less violent prototypes as well. Let us look at a regular example. Object A thinks he is in love with object B. Object B is playing hard to get with her usual innuendos of irrelevance that she adheres to with enviable jingoism. Object A is not quite sure how to play the game so resorts to cliché celluloid methodologies of writing love-rich (sick?) poems that invariably end with the three magical words that have retained the ‘sane’ in ‘Insane’. A few weeks or months of this and Object B consents and the picture-perfect couple are moon walking into the distance. A petty fight leads to a pettier argument and ‘war of the words’. Before you had completed your SOS (Sigh Of Satisfaction) at this blessed couple’s journey – BAM! They have parted ways. Object A does not recollect what object B’s name was and object B is rolling her eyes at the mere mention of the word ‘Love’. The best way now for the sting of this separation to heal is by bringing a proper
closure to it. An appropriate meeting with the right words to compromise without letting one’s guard down too low. Things remain less ugly but both A and B can at least walk away with their shadows intact. Another door closed. Did it matter how much time A had spent wooing B into reluctant submission? No. Did it in any way reflect B’s struggle with her inner being to find a middle ground with herself? Of course not.

When I open a newspaper today and skim through it I cannot help but wonder how powerful yet subtle the word ‘Closure’ appears almost everywhere. Be it figuring out how Netaji Subhash Chandra passed away. Be it bringing a closure to the Rajiv Gandhi’s assassination trial. Or be it something as simple as analyzing why India keep losing crucial matches despite being star-studded with Akbar’s nine gems.

But why is closure such a big deal? What drives this basic human emotion? And would it matter if we left things hanging in the air? The answer to these questions is simple. Closures are what eventually matter. They validate the actions individuals take when in the thick of matters. It ensures an appropriate level of peace of mind. It manages to find an accurate place in human history. No one seems to remember how you started but everyone reflects upon how it ended. No one knows who started ENRON but everyone sure knows that it was a bad idea. While only a few might remember Amitabh Bachchan’s forgettable ‘Saat Hindustani’ everyone seems to remember his latest television stint. As important as a delicious starter might be the most common question is always “So what’s for dessert?” at the dinner table.

As I said, closures are what eventually matter.

So here is to closing things. Here is to memories that threaten to haunt us if the doors we open are not closed well. Here is to history itself that has bared to us so many skeletons in this partially open closet. The mantra really is “The next time you start a venture, make sure you have an excellent exit-policy.”

Closing words anyone?


2 reflections:

Deepa said...

Wow! very well written indeed. you are right, closure is very important to move on. you are constantly haunted by the memory of the past otherwise. but it is also true that sometimes the much needed closure does not happen at all and you carry this uneasy feeling with you for years to come.
good write up.

shakri said...

I agree Deepa. Closure is important but not available all the time. One of the reason why I found this concept so interesting was due to the fact that it is a two-way street. One can never close something with one hand, metaphorically put that is.

Thanks for being here.