Tuesday, May 24, 2005

As the train chugs on ...

There are times when you are part of a moment that's bigger than any canvas you wish to capture it into, when you can't just zoom into a few pixels and still capture its essence as a sum of parts, when the moment itself has no purpose but still feels so complete in itself - the only way you could do justice to it is through an aimless narration.

By the time I reached there at 7:20, the stage was set and the first few lines were being delivered. The lights were being shifted from one corner to the other to find out the most appropriate location. A dozen heads were huddled in a corner bound together by silence and fatigue after a day's work. There was the other lot - of professionals returning after a day's work - standing next to the tree before the stage admiring the set. It did look very impressive - like another all-pervading character on stage, imposing in its presence, eloquent in whatever it wanted to convey. I put my bags down, pressed my palm on my throbbing forehead and picked up the fresh copy of the script from inside my bag. In five minutes we have the publicity shoot, ~A screamed on top of her voice. In a dark, hazy corner of the playground where light didn't reach, murmurs of wind were getting louder and were starting to sound like howls. But we were too preoccupied to notice - we took our positions on stage, mimed weird expressions, laughed at silly jokes that only we would find funny while the wind spewed dust and frigs on the vehicles on the road forcing them to screech and halt before they skid and fall.

The flash bulbs lived and died in an instant and left a trail for that one split second that stuck in your eyes longer than it actually lived. In minutes, the mats were shivering violently, the drapes were on the floor and the bamboo sticks were hanging periliously on top of our heads. And with the last flash of the camera, the whole city slipped into darkness - the music from the blaring stereos stopped, the constant chatter was replaced with a whisper and all that played was the howl of the wind. ~N called up and told me that she was stuck in her office due to lashing rain. I know it's very possible and is geographically explainable - but the idea of one person caught in the rain while the other person is standing under a clear sky when they are actually 15 minutes away from each other is, well, amusing. We started dismantling the stage and finding safe shelters for the lights when without warning or a notice - skies belted left and right all around. They weren't kiss and tell lovers glistening the skin but
screaming warriors marching to satan's howl. But no one moved - all we did was to look up at the abyss above us imagining the files and rows of drops making their way down, the conversations they might have on their way and the partners in arms that might fall in love.

However, such luxuries aren't meant to be enjoyed for long when you have a play within a fortnight. We seated ourselves in a dark classroom. Someone brought a couple of candles and lit them in the corners of the room leaving a dim, melancholic light to fill the space between the benches and drenched legs. Soon, people broke into a song and dance routine within the room while I took my place next to the window and watched old humongous trees doing their last dance with the wind before they crash and fall while wounded soldiers' cling to the glass panes on the window and walk like a platoon of ants, leaving a trail of their blood that looked so much like water that no one but me noticed. The throbbing headache, the Hindu episode, the HR scare - everything seemed like things from a distant past that didn't belong to me. I could hear their marching tune as they lapped on each other over the glass pane trying to reach my stretched fingers. For once, I had the final laugh against nature.

Soon we were caught in a time wrap within a closed room, absolutely unaware of and unaffected by what was happening outside. By the time we came out, the rain had washed away all traces of humanity from the city. Rivulets were making their way home while puddles sat down right in the middle of the road braving traffic and dead leaves. We were visitors in a land that we once claimed belonged to us (who were we kidding) but now firmly under the control of nature that determined where we went, what we wore and how we moved. I would continue walking for the next three hours on nameless streets, to lifeless coffee houses without even my shadows for company yet feeling completely secure - and alive.


Blogger Amrita said...

Hi, I won't say i am on your blog for the first time..have been here before as well, but never had the opportunity to comment, thanks to the server speed, which never loaded ur comment box. thanks to it this time its allowing me to do so and i had been longing to comment on your posts for a long time. I came here through Anu's blog and have often heard her say that your blog inspired her to start her own. I did not realise that until i read a few of your posts. I admit i am not so good after all, as certain posts of yours remained abstract to me but then they are certainly inspiring. I appreciate the way u capture moments in ur posts. I loved that poem of yours which u had posted a few days back. great work!keep it up!

5:18 PM  
Blogger VP said...

That was a very interesting piece!
I never wanted to end reading it!
Nature is the second best, and U know who is first ;-)

1:55 PM  
Blogger Rathish said...

@Amrita - thanks SO MUCH for having tried so often and finally taking the time to write such a comment! you really made my day :) Do keep coming :)

@Visvapriya - danke schon :)

5:09 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

how?how do u write SO well!?

10:14 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home