Hospital 7 Hills , Mumbai Feb 18 , 2012 Sat 11 : 45 PM, posted at 4 am on Sunday 19th Feb
The morning of today arose with deep thought and contemplation on the morning before. In the midst of intense discussions between the medical team and the family, there seemed to be an opinion arriving that perhaps another surgery was avoidable and that some of the blood reports which had reached alarming levels were beginning to show signs of improvement. Oblivious to all these there was a desire to walk and move more than would be described as comfortable in prevailing circumstances, but the insistance of those that move about with slung stethoscopes about their necks was difficult to ignore and so a few gentle dragging steps, with the rod carrying the drips followed along a few feet around the bed. It is a wonder that many do not recognize or show awareness of, that unmoved, the body remains a well packaged box of freshly bought plasticine – fine and colorful to look at, and perhaps not disturbed, but pulled out, moulds itself according to our desire into many shapes. Unless you mould it the plasticine is plain and inert. So does the body if kept silent and unmoved. The fingers and the hand are the most vulnerable. Stop using them or moving them and they stay stopped. Stiff and stuck in the position you last left them.
So as mobility takes over, the status of the organs begin to get involved and improved. The organs’ involvement is music for the ears of the team which guides and monitors.
But who guides and monitors the organs that run the mind ? No one but yourself. We shall be responsible for its behavior, its attitude and its reactions. Much like the memory card or hard discs of modern computerization, they store and bring forward information only when the right button is pressed. The right button could be any right button – a gesture from a friend, a well wisher, a note of compassion, a chord that when struck opens up the gates of that particular emotion.
Once the chord and emotion fall in the place where they establish homogenous influence, all else connected thought shall pour out in what ever form you may have wished it to – laughter, tears, modes of happiness and joy or one of deep sorrow.
It is difficult to confess now what transpired for those chords to intertwine themselves to bring out emotion, but they did. And some day it may get manifested. Most of the time it simply remains a hidden asset, or a contour of vulnerable weakness. But the surge of passion and emotion for that moment can and will be understood by that which undergoes such turmoil. Or perhaps not ‘turmoil’. It may well be joyful. I hope it is in most cases. A troubled mind is one of the most dangerous facts of life. It propels itself inside to break out in the open, to capture and conquer this oppressor that has bound him to its body for who knows how many years. Its overwhelming strength to win the battle and the war together is humanities greatest frailty. Its resemblance makes itself known through the minds of those that are aware of its presence – philosophers, poets, painters, artists, musicians, singers, writers. They are the conveyors. We appreciate them in their understanding of the subject because they say and do what most cannot. Their contribution is such that it remains eternal and that force within, eager to erupt knows this, which is why it frequents their body. These creative acts bring us, who are not blessed with creativity, to appreciate immediately their presence. They, the artists, have been used intelligently to portray in such manner that which when exhibited shall get immediate attention and appreciation because, this is what we too were looking for but never had the talent or the gumption to excite it enough.
We empathize with an actor portraying particular emotion because we believe that that is true and honest. Meritoriously this is the most feared test for an actor – whether the emotion he or she displayed, did get the attention and appreciation of those millions for whom he or she demonstrated. It is not just enough that the actor were true honest and sincere. It has to be enough to be able to blend and capture it with those that come to witness the moment. Somewhere in his efforts towards creativity, the artist must have the guile to know this. The criteria for his or her appreciation depends on this. It may not necessarily be what the artist desired, but its recognition drives them to it.
Guru Dutt’s brilliance, as is customary with creative brilliance among all, in the making of now an iconic symbol and yardstick of creativity, ‘Kaagaz ke Phool’ was never recognized for its ‘appreciative’ audience. At the first theatre show of the film as he and his writer Abrar Alvi sat among the audience and noticed its reaction, he walked out midway of his own film and told him ‘ Abrar, we have given birth to a still child ..! ‘. It requires the strength of a genius to make such reference. Many do not possess such quality and Ritwik Ghatak, the incredible film director from Bengal, could not. Unable to curb that surge from within, he never allowed it to overtake him, or make compromise and instead stood steadfast to his urge, drowning it excessively with intoxicants that eventually destroyed his life, but did not succumb. It was one of my most distressing moments to have encountered him at the RajKamal Studios in Mumbai one afternoon, lost disheveled ragged and desperate, demanding in almost threatening tone -
” Give me 50 rupees ! ”
That look in his eyes as though his entire life depended on those 50, shall remain with me forever. It was not just frightening to an observer. It could have been. But to me it was the saddest spectacle ever. The creator subjecting his greatest tools of genius and brilliance to destruction, but not willing to compromise with his creativity.
Guru Dutt walked away from ‘Kaagaz ke Phool’ and made ‘Chaudhvein ka Chand’ a lovely romantic Muslim social, so popular at those times, got audience appreciation and moved on, perhaps, and one will never know now, to maintain his stability and his brilliance in his forthcoming films – ‘Sahib Biwi aur Ghulam’ another of my favorites. But was there hidden behind within him that frustrated maker who did not get the ‘appreciation’ of his truest form ? Alas one shall never discover.
Read up on Ritwik Ghatak, Beethoven and Sallieri, and Schubert and Mozart, Satyajit Ray, Kurosawa and so many other genius and you shall discover how lame and incompetent we are as creators in front of them.
What then at the end of all this can we surmise ? Is the act of the artist his or her truest and honest form. And will we be ever able to judge whether it develops recognition or not. They create, we recreate. Which one is doing right ? If we do not get exposure to value and merit, we shall remain short of cultural and classical form. Or forms which then occupy a space that one tags as ‘parallel’ or ‘artistic’.
And that is the biggest tragedy. ‘Artistic’ gets a legitimate title, but its recognition, illegitimate and bastardized – another still born child !!
Good night and sleep well .. its coming on to 4 am, a time when I am unable to curb my own impulse towards my Ef ..