Read : ‘ Live dangerously…’

I have admired her body of work since quite sometime. No, she is not an actress you swoon over- not even when she was 18. Rather, she is one of those. The ones who move the world forward, even when it doesn’t want to. This is her letter to her own 18 year old self published in today’s newspaper.

Dear R,

You are already wise — you are miserable at 18; you don’t buy any of that sweet 16 stuff can you? And rightly so. Things are hard, but you don’t have to be miserable; though I have to say that being miserable is good fun! I don’t want to warn you about the pitfalls ahead; don’t want to ruin the discoveries you will make. I don’t want to advise you — you won’t listen anyway. But I’d like to say that fear is a waste of time. And one can take forever to overcome various fears, so hurry up if possible.

You’re in for the long haul, you realise that, don’t you? You are going to be an actress forever. So get used to it and start learning ASAP. Nothing will be easy but it will be absorbing, so don’t belittle the art and craft of acting, as you are wont to at the moment. Develop respect for the art of creating, not just the creative product.

Travel — without being led, if possible. If you don’t look for safety and familiarity you may find unexpected delights.

A little secret — you can get more or less everything you ask for, so be careful what you want. Also you will get what you want but it won’t be in the way you want it; surprises are inevitable.

Bad news — you are a procrastinator by temperament — the fight will be endless and tiresome but totally worth it, so fight with all your might against it. You are also deeply lazy to make matters worse but you will surmount this, if goaded; allow yourself to be goaded.

Worse news — you will be astounded by how much of the gender nonsense you have internalised. And how much you will need to battle with yourself to overcome this early indoctrination. Get to work now.

Order and chaos are not necessarily independent of each other — don’t be anal about order; it’ll get in the way.

You’re wondering how one can work without being attached to the fruits of one’s labour. This is not the contradiction it appears to be now. It’s the only way to work constantly and remain sane.

Keep training your body and voice. An actor’s body has to be expressive in many ways and beauty is not the only aim.

Learn how to swim now. Please.

They say youth is wasted on the young but remember one can stay young-minded for as long as one wants.

So, I’m afraid I ended up with prophecy and advice after all! Sorry. Hindsight is always 20/20, but a hint — the ride is going to be fun.

I have a picture of you as you are now — those tweezed eyebrows and the almost painful look of anticipation and trepidation and I feel a great tenderness towards you. I’m deeply gratified to know that you will end up wiser than you are today.

PS: That good-looking guy on the bicycle is interested in you. Flirt confidently — your mom is not right about everything, you know. Live dangerously, once in a while at least!

Love,

Ratna

If only the women of today’s India were more like her 🤔 They should realise- internalise if not realise, you are what you do and not what you think. In the end, accomplishments attached to your name are what define you, and not how you looked some day ,or how progressive you are in your thoughts. Everyone has thoughts, and ideas, till they are put to test.

Note :- This is a tribute to my mother who bagged Sahitya Akademi award at 56, dwarfing all my accomplishments put together.

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It has almost been a year since I realised that the forces, or something of sorts ( if my mother is to be believed ), are not on my side. True, something to that effect seems to be working against me. Every single endeavour I have undertaken, has crashed and burned like shit falling from an airplane. Anyone slightly level headed, might start go by the oft-quoted 5 stage model of Grief : 1. Denial and isolation; 2. Anger; 3. Bargaining; 4. Depression; 5. Acceptance. ( courtesy Kübler-Ross model ). But, I should not, not in this life.

I can not.

For the sake of everything I have learnt, read and known, I must not.

There has to be an inflection point, I would like to think so. But even if it gets worse, I believe I can take it.

And of course, I came across these lines in Bhagat Singh’s book a few weeks back:

As far as the first question is concerned, I think I have made it clear that I did not turn atheist because of vanity. Only my readers, not I, can decide whether my arguments carry weight. If I were a believer, I know in the present circumstances my life would have been easier; the burden lighter. My disbelief in God has turned all the circumstances too harsh and this situation can deteriorate further. Being a little mystical can give the circumstances a poetic turn. But I need no opiate to meet my end. I am a realistic man. I want to overpower this tendency in me with the help of Reason. I am not always successful in such attempts. But it is man’s duty to try and make efforts. Success depends on chance and circumstances.

I am not alone.

 

PS- the model has served me well though. Except, its the other way round and now, am a very very angry person.

Oops!

I did it again.

For the n’th time, I deleted my facebook account. Had deactivated it sometime back ( kept going back and forth quite a few times ), and life felt so much better. I actually had time to do things I wanted to- reading, working out, roaming around without a purpose. For showing off, I do have a dedicated instagram account ( which, btw, is also boring me of late. But, it is going to stay for sometime I reckon ).

But yeah. Facebook is over.

Good riddance!

मैं दीपक हूँ

Almost a month back, something which I have been working upon-for almost half a decade- crashed and burned right in front of me. Not that this is something that doesn’t happen to anyone else, but I can’t rob that event of its significance- at least, not just because it happens to everybody. I can’t.

I will not.

But there is a lot that I learnt along the way- or at least, I would like to think so. I also know that you can not foresee how and where all those learnings might come handy in future, but because they are a part of me- I know they will.

I am aware that my story is not limited to a project here, and a project there. Rather, it is going to be about the theme that I have invested myself into. That theme, which has driven me this far, is intact. If I had a choice of turning back time and changing some choices I made 7 years back, I can say this from the bottom of my heart: I won’t do it any differently.

But a man is not made for defeat. A man can be destroyed but not defeated.

Destroyed I am.

Reading helps, in times like these. Because you have precedents in situations like these. People have survived, and lived to tell the tale. Knowing this helps.

But comfort and peace of mind are overrated anyway. It was adventure what I sought right from day one, and adventure is what I got. Can’t even complain 😉

Even in this moment of despair and gloom, I still want to work on that theme that I talked about. What would I do with what I already have, if not for something that is beyond me and my petty life….

मैं दीपक हूँ, मेरा जलना ही तो मेरा मुस्काना है|

आभारी हूँ तुमने आकर
मेरा ताप-भरा तन देखा,
आभारी हूँ तुमने आकर
मेरा आह-घिरा मन देखा,
करुणामय वह शब्द तुम्हारा–
’मुसकाओ’ था कितना प्यारा।
मैं दीपक हूँ, मेरा जलना ही तो मेरा मुस्काना है|

है मुझको मालूम पुतलियों
में दीपों की लौ लहराती,
है मुझको मालूम कि अधरों
के ऊपर जगती है बाती,
उजियाला करदेनेवाली
मुसकानों से भी परिचित हूँ,
पर मैंने तम की बाहों में अपना साथी पहचाना है।
मैं दीपक हूँ, मेरा जलना ही तो मेरा मुस्काना है|