May 17, 2014

FilmSchool And Such...

Last night, I revisited my old blog after quite a while. And after an even longer sabbatical, did I get down to reading the other blogs linked to mine. Those that were started by, and used to, some time back, narrate the stories of the lives of those who I used to then call friends. Time dented some of these friendships, and as between boats that drift away amidst a gale, or sometimes even at calm sea, their voices do not reach me any more today, and neither does mine, them. Funnily, I discovered, most of these blogs too have since turned silent. The tales they had begun to sow have remained unfinished, only half-narrated. It is as if a tempest drowned their voices, like their beings got lost along the way, never to be found again. Making my way from one abandoned blog to the other felt like walking into a cemetery - very quiet, very distant and reeking of buried-and-long dead hopes and unheard-and-oft-forgotten stories. The whole experience also rendered stark the loneliness, the chasm created in my life due to the departure of these people - most of whom, at some time or the other, were cardinal to my happiness, much akin to the loneliness, the sense of loss, that typically plagues a visitor at a cemetery.


There was a time in my life, post-school, when I was a spoiled-little-kid. I woke up when I pleased, slept when I wished to, and there was no upper-ceiling on the pocket money, thus making way for countless fine dining experiences, and hanging out at up market eateries and cafeterias, gorging on endless desserts- all at the most expensive eateries around the city. The air-conditioning in my room would be on all day and through every night. The situation intensified when, after my life altering accident, my parents started keeping no stones unturned to keep me out of depression's way. In addition to the previous liberties, suddenly, I had become the priority behind every policy implemented at home, Looking back in retrospect, I probably let them dote on me as much as they did because in my head, the justification was clear. I was dealing with paralyses and crippling handicaps at the age of twenty, so I let their attention and energies fuel my sustenance. "The parents' child is back from the dead, it is their duty to indulge the child"- I probably felt. Food kept me happy, the calories kept piling on, and when I left home last August, I was a ginormous seventy six kilos.

The first thing that staying away from home took away from me, was my sense of entitlement, the feeling that if, at home, I got adrak-wali-chai at six every evening, or if my wardrobe magically replenished itself with clean clothes, it was because of my right to such things. If before moving out of home, someone had told me that I wouldn't have, at one point of time, a bed to sleep on for close to two months, I would have probably never even gone ahead with the move. Shortly after I moved to film-school in Pune, however, for two months, I shared a two-bedded room with six other men. There, not only was there no air-conditioning, I just had a mattress to myself , to sleep on, on one 8ft*4ft area of floor space. The bathroom had to be shared with all the other inhabitants of the room as well, and my idea of "personal space" that I grew up guarding, defending and nurturing, was suddenly decimated.  The funny part, however, was, none of it hurt my self-confessed gigantic ego. None of it felt insulting or beneath- me. It all felt normal, almost a part of growing up. If I was dealing with the presence of six other men in my immediate vicinity all the time, I realized, so were they. I was just as much of an intrusion into their space, as they were in mine. Frankly, even the inconvenience wasn't as bad as I would've imagined it to be, had the situation been described to the old-and-spoilt-me. I had suddenly been yanked out of the cozy bedroom of my protected upbringing, and into the front yard of my adulthood. Today, with every hour of laundry that I do, or every cup of coffee that I make, or every time I have to sweep the bathroom floor, I am grateful for the years of comfort that was afforded to me, throughout my growing up years, by the folks back home. However, at sixty six kilos today, I am also grateful for the coming-into-my-own that staying alone has intimated to me.

The scary part about dreams coming true is that the realization that the Utopia you dreamed up, the reality you have today, isn't quite as fulfilling as you had dreamt for it to be. 


Residential college,in a strange city, is a funny place to be in. While you stay on campus, and acquaint yourselves with all the other residents of the campus, the non-necessity of venturing out of the campus retains your unfamiliarity with the city around you. Soon, the campus becomes an island, of known faces, and familiar idiosyncracies, amidst a wide sea, or city, of strangers. Film school, in this regard, is pretty similar to the small neighborhood- towns I have chiefly spent my childhood in. The Institute has a Central Lane, just like all of those towns would. If you took a stroll down that lane, especially in the lazy hours of early evening, you were likely to, at some point of time or the other, meet most of the residents of the town. Same is the case here. If on a late Sunday evening, I take two walks up and down the road that is the Spinal Cord to the Institute, I do invariably, end up meeting, or passing by, most of the residents of the campus, including the dogs.


The parties, they never stop here. From 7 am weed, to 5pm beers, the babydolls as the more experienced alike, refuse to stop painting the mundane dullness of the brass world with the intoxicated shimmer of their golden selves. The bells of the hearts keep chiming at the jubilation around birthdays, and productions, and festivals, and folk nights celebrating distinct cultures constituting India, and sometimes, even without any occasion. However, for a place brimming over with so much Art, and so much creativity, and so much hope housed in every vein of every person walking its grounds, for a place with such glorious yellow and orange on branches of trees heralding the advent of Spring, for a place with such over-friendly canine companions, the Institute does become a lot to handle, a lot to process, and a lot to survive at times. Despair looms large, and is kept at bay through frivolous conversations, endless chatter, or just about anything that keeps away the having to come back to bed alone at night, and grasp certain fundamental truths about life's limited possibilities. The dreams at times start reminding one of once-upon-a-time's nightmares, and the depressiveness starts seeming imminent....

(To be continued...)

No comments: