Its been a while since I have written something on this blog, all my writing has been focused through my job as a copywriter, and in developing a new script titled ‘Secret Society: Children of Divorce’.
But a very interesting thing that happened for me was during the rehearsals of my new Play ‘Colourblind’ directed by Manav Kaul. (Comes to Mumbai in December)
I play the character of a young writer, and there are parts where he is seen writing in scene. So I decided that instead of doodling and ‘acting’ to write (cos I am such a bad actor!) I am just going to try writing something for real.
Its free writing and most of it was crap, but I am sharing some of the more interesting excerpts from the book where I write.
(Most of it was originally written in Hindi)
I once went to a forest. I walked for hours, went deep inside and when I reached nowhere, I just sat there.
It wasn't a very dense forest, an occasional hiss of a snake, lemurs, peacocks, squirrels... lots of squirrels. Very active, very buzzing- the leaves of the trees there.
But I sat still, unsure of anything, as I usually am.
I don’t know how long it was before the squirrels decided to include me in their play. They ran around, always cautious, yet close enough to let me know what they wanted. I just smiled.
‘I am too old to play your games, too rusted’, but I appreciated the hospitality.
Time blew and something changed. The squirrels, they were running over me, all over. My hands, legs, stomach, face... I was no longer a foreign creature to them. I was a tree.
I felt like a tree, belonging in the forest.
Vines grew from under my feet, covering me in their chill and dirt. And when I was completely engulfed, laden in fruits and flowers, a bird came and sat on my branch. She pecked on my soul, bit a part of it and flew away. Where she flew to, I will never know, but she carries a part of me wherever she goes. I have always loved traveling.
So many years I spent in my other world trying to find a place, offering my sense and soul and everything else I could...
The forest took me in just like that. She took me back to where I came from, into her womb.
Train hille Baul gire!
We were riding to Shantiniketan on a train early morning. A really wonderful journey. It was a 4 hour chair car train, very well kept, plush seats, and the lovely autumn Bengal landscape rushing by reminded those who had been to Europe, of Europe. A real compliment to the humble deprived outskirts!
Two hours into the journey, the gates of our bogi opened up to a bright orange clad figure. Ah! The great Bauls of Bengal, the legend had arrived. We instantly brushed away our sleepy faces and put our tourist best on, welcoming him with cheers and claps. Then someone quickly reminded us ‘Shadhu’ is how they roll in Shantiniketan, and so did we.
He sang, we cheered... sorry, shadhu’d... danced and passed funny comments... it was a real celebration!
He sang about three songs, collected an awful load of money (Oh, we have some real patrons of art in our group, I myself gave 50 bucks, 50 fucking bucks!) and left. Just as we settled, another one came. Rumor had spread across the train, we were here and we paid.
He sang about 3 songs again, the same songs as the previous guy, 2 of them at least. Joy was in the air, so we played along again. He earned a little less compared to the previous one and left.
I noticed how the locals were not as enthused at the ‘baul’ery and I kept thinking... its obvious, they see this everyday. On the other hand, maybe that's the problem... there is joy and magic all around us but we have become desensitized to it. I never revel so at the songs of the local singers in Mumbai. Maybe I should... of course the Bauls are more special and have so much folklore attached to them...
By the time I was done thinking, the third guy entered, repeating one of the songs... ‘taka lagbe naa...’
A local guy sitting behind me just couldn't take it anymore. He burst out saying ‘See, that is why I don’t give them money anymore. They are just doing this for money, they keep singing the same songs. The same songs over and over again...’
While my dear co actor sitting next to him nodded her head in agreement, I turned to him and thought to myself... ‘Saala, 20 rupaye dekar Baul ka saara gyaan paa lena chahte ho’.
Woh: Arre, yahaan akele khade khade kiss baat par has rahe ho?
Mein : Bas, aise hi...
Woh: Aise hi? Chalo yahaan se... log samjhenge pagal ho gaye ho...
Mein: Pagal ko agar log samajh te toh dikkat hi kya thi.
Iss jagah se guzaraa toh aisa lagaa ki bhagwaan akele mein rehte hai... veeraane mein. Yahaan bhagwaan zaroor honge. Iss liye maine bike se utar kar ek tasveer kheench li, bhagwaan ki.
Ek ajeeb si bhakti dil mein jaagi... bhagwaan ko paane ka mann kiya. Main aapko bataa doon apne 23 saal ke jeevan mein bahut kam aisa hua hai ki bhagwaan ko lekar kuch bhi karne ka mann kiya ho. Mein thodi derr wahaan khadaa raha aur phir rehearsal ka samay ho gayaa...
Apni lines bolna shuru kiya toh ek baar phir... wahi bhagwaan ko dekhne ki ichcha jaagi.
Aisa khayaal aaya ki mein apne abhinaya mein bhagwaan dekhnaa chahta hoon. Ek natak mein sunaa tha ki bhagwaan sach hai, aur maaya bhi...
Bas... ek baar aisa abhinaya karna chahtaa hoon ki kahaani ki maaya ko sach mein badal sakoon aur uske sach ko apne abhinaya ki maaye mein ghol doon. Mushkil hai... mushkil hai... par karne ki ichchaa rakhta hoon... ek dinn...
About a Man
He flew Between this and that
He was time
New every moment
Once gone, gone
He was life
I lived him
While he was mine
I still dream of filling him
But who can own time
She rose up to him starting at his feet. She took three months to come up to his face. And when she did, she she shed a tear over his lips. He parted them and drank in.
Then, he turned her over and started to go down.
She held him and said... ‘No, not now. Not until you want it so bad that you tie me down and then do what you want, without a care for what I am. Only then will I have deserved you. Until then, I will only give.’
Hey, its free writing.