Why Vicarious?

Posted by on May 27, 2012 in Featured Posts | 6 comments

Why Vicarious?

I have chewed upon this idea for a very long time now. I want a word to be ‘me’!  Every person in the world has his or her own word. Some may have a short phrase, and that’s okay as well. And I needed one,too. But it needed to be chosen carefully, and almost wisely. For it cannot change once decided. That was the first ground rule.  And then, it just happened.Almost over-night. Like most important decisions of my life get taken…in my dreams! All I did was snug into my bed, and close my eyes. Behind the sheer pista curtains,the shadows of the trees became longer, the stars winked at me. The bare brown branches of the autumn-tree framed the moon outside my window-she smiled at me..and that’s the image I froze in my head. I woke up the next morning, almost knowingly that I had found my word. Yes, I had…!

My word is ‘vicarious’!

I realized how often I dwell in situations, experiences and stories that belong to someone else. I live in the journeys they create. I love doing that. Some of these journeys don’t even take me from Point-A to Point-B. Some of them belong to the soul, some belong to trails of the heart,while others are purely reflections and takeaways from fellow-beings. Then there are those journeys, which have never been made by me..through any of these mediums, and more. I listen to stories; I fantasize and imagine about these various forms of journeys that would have been made by someone else. And I bask in the glory of that journey. Some of these journeys are not happy ones, but I get pulled into it, loving through it, as if they belong to me. I end up being protective of these journeys.

Now, not always have I been able to travel as much as I would have loved to. Hence this ‘me’ power of being vicarious really helps.I have discovered that I can enjoy the fact that my friends are traveling, get something for me out of it and turn that jealousy into something almost as good as being on the road myself. All that it does to me is makes me set a travel goal…and regularly do something tangible towards achieving  it; whether that’s reading up on your destination, dreaming up itineraries or putting money away in a trip savings account!

I never get tired,really! Infact, I can get thoroughly refreshed, in the process of stepping out of my shoes, putting on someone else’s and seeing the world, using my reflexes, as if they belonged to someone else. By the end of it, I would have woven an entire story-board around it. And stories are always meant to be shared!

So, here’s what I thought I will do. I will write down stories of my travels and journeys- sometimes in someone else’s shoes, and sometimes in mine. They could be journeys of the soul, the palette, the mind, the sight and of course, journeys of the feet.

Its necessary to bind all these together! And that exactly what I will be doing, more consciously. Who knows, one day, my daughter (yeah, I don’t trust my son with all these sensitive issues, yet!)might end up publishing this jabber, and receive royalty for ‘sold-out’ publications!:-)

Till such time..I think this website will be a good idea!


  1. Very nice.

    This might not directly apply to your article, but your musings reminded me of a quote that I chanced upon some time ago:

    “I am a vicarious eater, often preferring a description of a meal to eating it. I hoard the Wednesday food section of the New York Times, savoring it as my late-night reading, finishing always with the restaurant review.” – Anne-Marie Slaughter, Commonweal/June 14, 2002

  2. What a lovely quote,Avijit da! Thanks for sharing it with me.
    And thanks for stopping by ! Hope to see you here,once in a while…

  3. “Vicarious” – I first got introduced to this concept (long before I heard the term), when I read “Kabuliwallah” by Tagore as a child. This poignant description has stayed with me even after all these years.

    Tagore writes:

    এখন শুভ্র শরৎকাল । প্রাচীনকালে এই সময়েই রাজারা দিগ্‌বিজয়ে বাহির হইতেন । আমি কলিকাতা ছাড়িয়া কখনো কোথাও যাই নাই , কিন্তু সেইজন্যই আমার মনটা পৃথিবীময় ঘুরিয়া বেড়ায় । আমি যেন আমার ঘরের কোণে চিরপ্রবাসী , বাহিরের পৃথিবীর জন্য আমার সর্বদা মন কেমন করে । একটা বিদেশের নাম শুনিলেই অমনি আমার চিত্ত ছুটিয়া যায় , তেমনি বিদেশী লোক দেখিলেই অমনি নদী পর্বত অরণ্যের মধ্যে একটা কুটিরের দৃশ্য মনে উদয় হয় , এবং একটা উল্লাসপূর্ণ স্বাধীন জীবনযাত্রার কথা কল্পনায় জাগিয়া উঠে ।

    এ দিকে আবার আমি এমনি উদ্ভিজ্জপ্রকৃতি যে , আমার কোণটুকু ছাড়িয়া একবার বাহির হইতে গেলে মাথায় বজ্রাঘাত হয় । এইজন্য সকালবেলায় আমার ছোটো ঘরে টেবিলের সামনে বসিয়া এই কাবুলির সঙ্গে গল্প করিয়া আমার অনেকটা ভ্রমণের কাজ হইত । দুইধারে বন্ধুর দুর্গম দগ্ধ রক্তবর্ণ উচ্চ গিরিশ্রেণী , মধ্যে সংকীর্ণ মরুপথ , বোঝাই-করা উষ্ট্রের শ্রেণী চলিয়াছে ; পাগড়িপরা বণিক ও পথিকেরা কেহ-বা উটের ‘ পরে , কেহ-বা পদব্রজে; কাহারো হাতে বর্শা , কাহারো হাতে সেকেলে চক্ মকি-ঠোকা বন্দুক — কাবুলি মেঘমন্দ্রস্বরে ভাঙা বাংলায় স্বদেশের গল্প করিত আর এই ছবি আমার চোখের সম্মুখ দিয়া চলিয়া যাইত ।

    A reasonable translation (by Mohammad A. Quayum) can be found from the following website
    for the benefit of those who are not familiar with the language. It reads:

    It was still early autumn – that time of year when kings in ancient days used to go out on conquest. Personally, I have never been away from Kolkata, which is why my mind always wanders around the world. I am like an exile in my own home, as my mind constantly likes to travel to other places. The moment I hear the name of a
    foreign country, my mind longs to visit that unknown place. Likewise, the sight of an alien person brings to mind the image of a lonely hut beside a river in the midst of a forest, and I begin to imagine an autonomous, exultant way of life.

    Yet, I am so dull and inert that every time I think of travelling out of my little world, I panic. That’s why I used to mitigate my desire for travelling a little by talking to this man from Kabul in the morning, sitting in front of my writing table in my little
    room. The Kabuliwala blared out stories of his homeland in his broken Bengali, and I fancied it all before my eyes: tall, rugged, impassable mountains on two sides, red-hot with torrid heat, and a caravan moving through the narrow, dusty passageway in
    between; turbaned traders and travellers passing by, some on camel back, others on foot; some carrying spears, and others outdated flint-stone guns.

  4. Talent, thy name is Sam.

  5. Beautifully written! I’ll read up the other posts whenever I get the time. I’m so glad that you are finally doing justice to an innate talent!

    Thanks so much for sharing your write-ups. This website is a great idea 🙂

  6. Thank you Mimi for stopping by and showering such generous words 🙂