I have been wanting to write this post for sometime now, but never got around to it, as I was busy writing a script of a full length feature.
As one of my rationalist friends cautioned that I might be falling into the Sudhir Kakar's "Dev D" trap of first letting people go from my life, and then chasing them through their memories and other paraphernalia. Someone reading my last few poetry would draw the same conclusion. Someone went so far to warn me in not walling in this tub of self pity.
Here is my side of the story...
I am a writer and a chronicler of times we live. I dont do it to glorify myself or it gives me some high. I dont get paid to re-visit my past, its part of my DNA. Its who I am.
For example, Its been 14 years but am still carrying the wailing sound of a woman who was crying heart out on the road as she walked past me by the sea. I was standing there with a girl friend watching the sun go down. To this day, I dont remember anything that girl friend said or what we discussed, but I am still carrying that fleeting moment of someone's wailing sound. I still think about that woman like who was she?, what had happened to her? Why was she crying so uncontrollably on a busy sea side road? Where is she now? Alive or dead? Who made her cry?
As I grow old and wiser, my subjects grow as well and so my thoughts about them keep changing. I dont let go of them....they walk with me.
I can offer many more examples from my encounters with people even for a short amount of time. Folks dont notice, but I take away a lot from my encounters with them. Its part of the deal.
I am not alone in this, I think all artistes think alike, be it painters, actors or poets. We care for others deeply irrespective of cast, creed, gender, religion, nationality or sexual origination. We enjoy people. We identify with their moments of success, failure, tragedy and euphoria.
So, friends, relax! There is no cause for an alarm. I have a lot of times at hands these days.
PS: The above pictures is from the outside gate of Rani Jhansi's Fort in Jhansi, Uttar Pardesh. This jebroni was selling his goods in 36 degree heat. From I could gather, his total inventory cost must be around Rs 500. How much you think he earns per day? Do you agree that he must be having a family to feed? Where does he go for lunch? What about going to the bathroom and other needs?
While other visitors to the fort might have taken other scenes worth recording, in my mind this was the moment of reckoning. Compare this jebroni's day earning of Rs 50 to the earnings of intelligent folks at JP Morgan and Morgan Stanley. Compare his intention of keeping his family safe and healthy with those that brought the great depression and bunch of unnecessary wars on us. While he gets no mention anywhere for running this simple business, others hog lime lights of NY Times and Wall Street Journals for squandering the wealth of millions of shareholders, for looting pensioners out of their retirement money.....you get the idea!
The world is a terrible place at times, in spite of having some great minds on earth. Why? Because those great minds dont feel for others. The day we start "feeling what other fellow travelers" going through, the wars would end, bombs would stop dropping on innocnet women and children in the middle of the night, justice would prevail and someone higher up would start smiling at his own creation.
We will get there one day, Inshallah!!