The Day The State Split Asunder-9
The Day The State Split Asunder-9
The next day he woke up at nine. He was staring at the ceiling of the roof in complete silence, pondering deeply as if he had been asked to solve the intricate questions on Quantum Mechanics. His busy thoughts started wandering in whichever direction they wanted.
Did I endure all those rejections only to face a situation like this… to stay away from my parents? Today was one of those days where he honestly felt like he was imprisoned in a quandary situation that involved making a difficult choice, especially ones that are equally undesirable.
He then spent his morning watching the movies on YouTube, going through the updates on social media, and chatting with one of his friends who talked about how he had been nominated for "Employee of the year".
This guy had two backlogs and he bagged a job on campus. I got ninety percent, but still, it took one year for me to get a job. This is completely a travesty of justice…
He stood up and gently strode towards the window and naturally went on with his thoughts. The reflections of his entire childhood memories started playing in front of him. He knew that his life was bound to be different from tomorrow. His heart started fluttering and wanted to say 'I am thankful for the job but I hate staying away from my parents….'
He walked into the kitchen. His mother sang along to the melody of devotional songs being played on her mobile, the music punctuated by the sound of spluttering oil and the steady rhythmic beat of her knife dicing the potatoes on the chopping board.
He stood beside her looking at the vegetables, plates, and other dishes scattered here and there.
'What happened?' asked his mother, looking at his enervated eyes.
'Nothing Amma!' Karthik replied.
His mother glanced up at him and said. 'If there's nothing, then why do you look so sad?'
'I don't know.'
'I know what is going on in your mind. We humans hate change and love it at the same time. What we ultimately want is for things to remain the same but life should get better. The best thing to do now is accept things for what they are and start moving as your father always says. Now go and pack your luggage. I told you yesterday to take out the travel bag from the attic. Did you do it?'
'I forgot about it. Don't worry. There's still lots of time.'
'Why do you always do things at the last minute? I told you a hundred times yesterday.'
'Don't worry, I will start packing now.'
'What are you going to purchase me with your first salary?'
'Amma! You do one thing, pick up the best designer saree online. Add it to the wish list. I will place it as soon as the salary gets credited into my account.'
After having said that he went back to his room, dragged the big stool from the corner, placed it in a position so that he can shuffle the items in the attic easily with his hands. The travel bag was visible in the attic and there were lots of other stuff scattered pell-mell everywhere. While placing the bag down, a few items fell on the floor in the process a sky blue envelope with the name 'Sarathi Photo Studios'.
He carefully stepped down from the big stool, placed the black coloured trolley bag on the floor, bent down, and opened the envelope. He happened to see a bunch of photographs inside, a few in colour and a few in black and white.
OMG! I can't believe it…
He grabbed the stack of photographs and walked out of his room and sat beside his father who was reading a newspaper.
'Dad! What is this?' Karthik asked, pointing his finger at the photographs on the table.
'Photographs!' said his father with a smile.
'I know that these are called photographs, I precisely want to know about this particular person in the costume.' said Karthik, grabbing a photograph randomly from the table, pointing his finger on the face of the person in the photo, 'This person is looking exactly like you…'
His father leaned forward and picked up a couple of photographs from the table, 'You made me nostalgic. It veritably reminds me of my good old days. I wish I could get back all those moments… I wish I could rewind and press the pause button forever…'
His mother walked into the hall at the same time when his father was going through the photographs.
'Karthik! Are you done with packing?' asked his mother.
'Amma, I had put the bag down from the attic. For now, just be seated…' He grabbed her right arm, made her sit beside him, picked up a few remaining photographs on the table and said - 'Amma! What are these photos? Dad is not telling me anything. He is talking about memories…fleeting memories…'
'Your father was a theatre artist. He played many formidable roles like Duryodhana, Ravana, Satya Harischandra, Sri Krishna Devaraya, Hiranya Kashyap and many others,' his mother described.
'It's fantastic! Dad, in this photo, if the costume is replaced with a military uniform and if the extremes of the moustache are trimmed, you perfectly look like Adolf Hitler,' Karthik chuckled.
'Stupid!' said his father, slapping on his shoulder. 'Theatre arts is not just about roles, dramas, costumes and performances, it is a point of intersection between the visible and invisible worlds. It is one of the greatest of all art forms and I learned many lessons from it.'
'How did you get into these drama performances?'
'I was picked up by the director of the theatre group.'
'Who is that director?'
'His name is Parameshwara Rao. We affectionately used to address him as Babji. One day, by chance, while returning home after work, I saw this building 'Hari-Hara Kala Bhavan' where the drama groups usually perform. I just went in to have some entertainment. The artists under the direction of Babji sir were performing a drama from Ramayan. Everything was good, but the performance of Ravan is not well-received by the audience. After the performance, I approached the director, and I frankly told him that the Duryodhana character is not copacetic, the dialogue delivery is jejune and devoid of emotions.'
'What did he say then?'
'He laughed and said - "I will give you one dialogue. Can you repeat it?" I asked, "Why?" He said, "tell me yes or no? Don't question anything in return". I was silent for a minute, I thought maybe he might have felt bad about my review. But I always loved challenges and that is my weakness. I asked him to give me the dialogue. He handed over to me a page containing a long dialogue on an A4 sheet spanning around three lines. It was a complicated dialogue. He said - 'I will give you five minutes?''
'So did you deliver it perfectly?'
'When I first glanced at it, my feet started trembling. But somehow I gained composure, I started reading every word and line carefully. After five minutes, he came and stood straight in front of me. He took away the paper from me and asked me to deliver the dialogue. Everyone around stood in silence and lent their ears to listen to my dialogues. In my mind, I took blessings of God and miraculously, like a stroke of magic, I was able to deliver it fearlessly and authentically that too with varying vocal variations and emotions. The whole scenario at that place was unnerving, Babji sir stood silent and motionless. His face was dressed in a bamboozled expression for a minute. Moments later, he called his assistant and said - "Our hunt for Duryodhana has come to an end". He was immensely impressed with my dialogues and from then on he included me as a lead role in almost all of the plays.'
'That's incredible! But, I had not witnessed your performance anytime'
'After I got married, I decided to focus on taking care of the family. Babji sir requested me many times to come back. But, I couldn't.'
'Do you know?' said his mother. 'One day a television serial producer was so fascinated by your dad's performance that he even offered a role to your father. But, your father did not accept it.'
'What is this dad? Had you accepted the offer you would have been in the movie industry by now. Our lives would have been completely different today,' said Karthik.
'The serial actors were not paid well enough in those days,' said his father, as he placed all the photographs inside the envelope. 'We can talk much about this later. Let's have lunch together.'
The same evening he boarded the bus to Bengaluru. He is all set to start his career. But many say that a change in place brings a change in destiny.