Friends (close and acquaintances) would describe me as an extremely social and enthusiastic person. Family, who’ve seen me grow up, would describe me as quiet, within myself but prone to certain excited bursts. Both those descriptions are accurate – I’m what they’ve recently started calling an ambivert – A mixture of extrovert and introvert when the situation suits them. For such a long time, I’ve struggled with figuring out why I can spend hours with a huge group of friends only to feel so exhausted and tired after coming back home and then proceed to not interact with the outside world for the next 5 days. As I grew up and broadened my social circles, I realized that while making new friends and talking to strangers became easier, I craved the solitude of my own room, the silence while I read or the constant noise from my laptop. I liked to listen closely to the fights of the stray cats outside my balcony or the faint sounds of the latest pop hits filtering through a neighbour’s window. I wouldn’t miss the hustle and bustle of meeting new people and exchanging stories but I knew that to maintain my sanity, I needed to interact with the outside world, for my own benefit.
The concept of being alone has different connotations. For me, being alone simply means not having anyone around you that you can accept. People say that they feel alone in a crowded room and they’re not wrong. There have been times that that feeling has been experienced by me as well. It takes a few outings and a relatively sound judge of character to realize that certain people don’t make you feel that way. Lonely and being alone aren’t mutually exclusive – something that I’ve tried explaining to many people over the years. You can choose to be lonely but sometimes you don’t choose to be alone. But recently, I’ve embraced the concept of being alone. I cannot stop watching movies and that’s all due to the childhood I had – watching the latest flicks on opening day whether it be in Dubai, Abu Dhabi or Bangalore. But either due to personal or professional commitments or simply because they don’t want to watch the movie, I’ve been watching quite a few movies in the cinemas all alone. Curled up in the seat with my tub of cheese popcorn, I’ve never looked more alone, to the few other movie-goers. But it’s at moments like those, that I’ve felt happy. I didn’t have to tone down my incessant chatter to anybody or share my popcorn with them (I love cheese popcorn almost as much as I love Manchester United, which is a big deal) and I definitely don’t need to explain the plot or the dialogue or the backstory to anyone. Most recently, I’d made plans with friends to watch Pink (word of advice – go watch the film!) because I was anyway going to watch Bridget Jones’ Baby before that. All the friends with whom I was going to watch the former expressed surprise at me going alone for a movie. I’d done it before but they were still wondering if there was any reason behind me going alone for a movie. Me wanting to go for the movie and no one else wanting to come with me wasn’t a good enough reason. It seemed sad and lonely for a person to go for a movie alone. This propelled me back 4 years when I’d yelled at my mother for going for a movie alone. She shrugged and said, “You weren’t free so I went alone. I wanted to go for the movie so I did.” And I found myself giving that same reply to my friends.
2 hours later and I was ready for the next movie. When I met up with the friends, they asked how the first movie went. I smiled and gave a thumbs up. 3 hours later, my mood was elevated, despite the heavy content of Pink and I’d just had a very enjoyable night watching movies. Alone does have its perks indeed!