Something I had read on the subway, somewhere between my daily journey from Brooklyn to Manhattan, some time in the constant changes of my self-transition.
The thought lingered with me enough for me to note it down in my phone, and transfer it over into my notebook. My mind takes me back to it time and again, and yet I don’t think I have fully understood its essence.
Yet today, I thought of it for a different reason. As I was watching Dan Barber speak in an episode of Chef’s Table, he said something that is, on many levels, so profoundly true, “Isn’t our life one attempt to fill a void after another?”
A world renowned chef, whose life is exemplary of cultivating passion for more knowledge, more perfection, his story started like many great others’, with a tragedy, the death of his mother at the age of 4. A void that was left then, he continues to try and fill today. Can it really be done? I guess we will never know. His one true passion was born amidst this void, a young boy cooking for himself to satisfy his hunger in the absence of his mother, today he is a chef, not just satisfying people’s hunger, but also changing the entire culture around how we should be consuming food.
I thought several times while watching this episode (especially when he spoke so ardently about bread) – why am I not so passionate about something so specific? Why don’t I have some niche of passion that was inculcated from an early age? That’s when I realized, it’s not about how specific your passion is, but about truly having one.
And for me, it all comes down to stories.
I’ve been fascinated by a good story from as early as my memory serves me. So powerful, so real. From the fiction of Harry Potter to the literature of Shakespeare, the words that captivated me then, have me spellbound even today. Somewhere along, this passion for good stories, gave birth to my own creation, my writing.
Today, after many versions of this story itself, I have found a niche in my own writing – experience. Because isn’t that the only thing that lets you feel the life you live?
Eating food is an act, tasting the flavor is experiencing it, that is what you remember. And somewhere in giving you that little taste of life, is a chef’s story – that right there, is my passion, telling it.
Maybe that’s the way I fill my own life’s void – yes that’s how it all started. In stories I found a place of belonging, in writing, I felt being understood – by myself and all of those who will read this and understand what I try to convey through my words. But more importantly, you will feel the experience of a connection, of my words and your thoughts, of my anecdote in your story. That’s what life is, right? A series of anecdotes – some your own, some borrowed, some shared, all woven together in one story.
So yes, we may not be able to touch void, but we certainly have the ability to touch lives. Because as different as we are, we are still the same – diverse in experiences, yet united in the story of mankind.