Monday, October 26, 2009

Nothing Is Impossible

A colleague, who had just bought a copy of Chai, Chai, came to me today. "Will you please sign it for me?" she said, "I will just be back from the evening meeting."

While she was gone, I signed the book and then thumbed opened its pages at random, just to get a feel of the book. I haven't had this luxury ever since the book was printed because of a variety of reasons. As it is, I find it embarrassing to reread my own work. Worse, mom died just eight days before it came out of the press: for weeks after her death, the book meant nothing to me except a bunch of papers stitched together. Once I began to feel less bitter about mom going away without even seeing my first book, I was overcome by nervousness regarding its launch. Once the launch was over, the novelty had worn off and the book, once again, did not mean a thing.

But this evening, thanks to the colleague who left me alone with the book for a while, I got a chance to go through it. I read through passages at random: I recognised some instantly, even the exact time of the day I wrote them and under what circumstances. But there were some I had completely forgotten about, such as the one below, which was written in November 2007 in a small hotel in Mughal Sarai barely hours after I had returned from a day trip to Banaras:

The images of the bedecked biers kept swimming in my head as the Ambassador rattled down the dusty road to Mughal Sarai. Everybody has to die one day, but you don't want to be reminded of that, do you? It is, however, not the thought of your own death that makes the sight of the biers so terrifying: it is actually the thought of your near and dear ones being carried away in that fashion. It is a thought you consider secretly in the deepest crevices of your heart, not even sharing it aloud with your own self.

Little did I know then, that in less that two years, I would be lending a shoulder to my own mother's body at that very spot. At the time, it was impossible to even imagine that my mother would die in Banaras.

That is why I tell people -- people who matter to me -- that nothing is impossible in life. Life is a bitch that can throw the most impossible on your lap while keeping you deprived lifelong of what you always thought was possible. The only occasions I don't place this view of mine forcefully is when I am in the company of male friends over drinks and when the subject of discussion is usually women: who is going around with who, who is sleeping with who, who is likely to sleep with who, who wants to sleep with who, and so on.

Many ego-balloons are pricked on such evenings. "Why on earth would she be interested in you? She is 28, while you are 40, bro". Or, "Brother, don't forget she is ex-Ms Chennai. She has people eating out of her hands. Of course you can go on a date with her. But only in your dreams. Ha ha ha ha ha!" When egos clash, I take the backseat and watch them and smile, and even tell them, albeit silently: "Brothers, stop fighting. Nothing is impossible."


Anonymous said...

A few years back a small boy in kanpur with the usual dreams and hopes left his city to dreaming to become a writer someday. Little did his mentors at college know that he'd become an author of a book someday. I am sure his english teacher at school too, wouldnt have expected this. But it happened and he wrote a book and became an author.Some might call it luck. I firmly think it was only because he believed that "nothing is impossible".

Anonymous said...

You are right, Infact i thought it was going to be impossible for me to start writing again after a gap on over a year, but here I am .. starting my new blog :) I think of everything you have ever written - This one is my favourite :)

janani sampath said...

So true.....none other than your own experiences can teach you that lesson better.... so keep an open mind

Anonymous said...

Very interesting read Sir. I read it through my auto journeys too.
It will make a very good travel documentary too,wonder if you thought of documenting it visually with a handy cam....Just a thought.