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Saturday, 7 July 2012

13 Until I Die! [Chapter 3: Paint My Love]

Cartoonist Ranga was grieving the loss of his loving wife who passed away that year (2001) but he still drew funny/remarkable sketches. He lived a plain life in his quiet apartment in Press Enclave. The secret of drawing Gandhi in one stroke was revealed by the master while the fan creaked above us and sparrows walked fearlessly into the drawing room. It was my turn. I sketched a newspaper boy with a gulmohar tree behind him. Ranga asked if I paint. He insisted I ‘must’.

[The following year Ranga passed away. My maternal grand dad also died, back in Kerala.]

I did not make cartoons afterwards. Not even when I wanted to poke fun at someone. And I secretly wished that I don’t grieve. [I did not attend grand dad's crematory ceremonies. I was grief stricken in Dilli.]

At work, because I was ‘this young thing’ [sporting a bandanna of biker-boys and a CD man hooked on my jeans’ pocket], I attracted many god fathers [were they agony aunts and uncles?] giving me free tips. Perhaps they mistook my enthusiasm for ambition! [Or did they see me as competition with many breaking stories already to my credit? Nah!] I did have some thing against free advice those days [ok mom you are an exception for those ‘umbilical connection’ reasons and also because you knew the industry before I did].

My first salary was INR13k pm [another 13!]. Needless to say it was a good amount - some13 years back for a single/hosteler yet to pub-hop [despite being addicted to MTV whenever the YWCA TV room was not occupied by serial lovers]. I really thought the coolest guys alive were MTV’s Jesus-like Luke Kenny and virus-like Cyrus. My new freedom exposed me to Indian TV and I loved Hollywood [read - Disney animations] and its eye-popping Jim Carrey.

Love for cinema was hindered by my claustrophobic self that couldn’t bear crowded ticket counters. There was no concept of a queue in Dilli. I had to come to Mumbai to learn what a queue in a public place looked like. Instead of enjoying the new multiplexes with my friends [who loved to venture all the new 'hep' places], I preferred the empty seats at Pragati Maidan’s Shakuntalam [a name most of my pals couldn’t event pronounce despite being Indians born and bred in the capital... many were surprised to know there was this cinema hall in the fair ground]. Shakuntalam played parallel cinema widely misunderstood as movies for the sad people.

I was among the few Delhi dwellers who were delighted at Information and Broadcasting Minister Sushma Swaraj’s announcement that International Film Festival of India (IFFI) will be held permanently in New Delhi. This decision was taken as Karnataka government failed to play host for the year’s event in Bangalore (from October 10 to 20, 2001).

Claustrophobia took over my life. I used to wait for the IFFI for it was not crowded and it also had friendly film school volunteers at the ticket counter who gave you options if you arrived late.

My salary was mostly spent on 'crowdless transportation' - cabs or autorickshaws - it was among the priorities to escape red lines and blue lines (buses). I was comfortable with my new title – RD, the loner. I smiled defiantly at close pals who advised I must travel cheap and socialise a bit more with my age-group. I did not think it was important to tell them that I was living my future.

Nostalgia was my faithful companion and it was dated minimum a decade back. My CD man blasted MLTR’s debut album all day long. Paint My Love was my favourite song – though yet to fall in love and/or start painting full on!

[It is true that IFFI moved to Goa since 2004. I miss it… as much as I do miss Dilli, my country and its joys.]

to be continued…

General disclaimer: Any resemblance to persons living, dead, or reincarnated is not a coincidence. No animals were injured during the making of this novelog although some monkeys may have their feelings hurt. Sorry.



Nikhil Sharma said...

An amazingly written article!
short yet full of impact,
Hope to see more of such articles

" A power article "


bluvian said...

thanks nikhil. aiming at making it shorter still.