Thursday, 24 September 2015

episode 99 facing evil



"babu ji, kuch kahna chahte hain... boliye na babu ji!" a sweet, tense but determined little voice, babu ji wants to say something, say it babu ji.


"shyam... shyam..." a man struggles to say the words as his face contorts, his muscles give up.


 
"a native american elder once described his own inner struggles in this manner: inside of me there are two dogs. one of the dogs is mean and evil. the other dog is good. the mean dog fights the good dog all the time. when asked which dog wins, he reflected for a moment and replied, the one i feed the most." 
 ~~~ george bernard shaw ~~~

evil that has been fed and pampered, it has congealed and started pulsating with heinous intent. it draws its sustenance from the basest part of the human construct, far far away from what's divine. shyam feels the throb in his veins when he contemplates wrong and acts upon it, a natural born not good 'un.
 
in this episode, on the one hand the rise and spread of shyam like a dark, insidious shadow, inexplicably lucky. no one catches him doing what he does. the one man who does is struck down. how could such a thing happen? yet, precisely such things do happen. again and again. and still we hope.

and on the other, the reason we do hope. 

that equally inexplicable entry of the positive, the blessed. out of nowhere, when you least expect it though most need it, comes help. an answer. an affirmation of good. and a reminder, if there's evil in the universe, equally and more forcefully, there is the opposite of it. the mean dog, the good dog, they are both in here and out there. 

shyam dominated the episode, yet shashi ji's desperate love, khushi's valiant fight, and a couple of minutes of a man who seeks the sahi and repents when he is galat, stole the show.
the alacrity and ease with which shyam moves to any and everything considered a sin points to his nature, his true self. how quickly he contemplated adultery when he saw khushi. in just one meeting, a three year marriage became a thing to play with. if he sensed anjali was getting demanding or strong, he'd resort to emotional blackmail or feigned romance without missing a beat, to get his own way. but when he saw babu ji's face on that pane and realised his game was up, oh the evil that instantly clouded his eyes and caught his being. he'd do anything to not let the truth out. if threats wouldn't work, why not murder?

the man who knows all the shastras, every kind of law, who spoke chaste hindi, and always showed respect to his elders... had one thing clearly missing. conscience. that's what you feed the good in you with. completely missing in shyam.

that's what, to my eyes, made him truly evil.

the writers of ipk used their craft well and gave us another scenario to contemplate. a man who had no time for shastras and certainly didn't know them, who created an empire and knew and valued money, who spoke a mix of hindi and english minus floweriness of either, and who showed respect where he felt it was due... you could like him, you could hate him, what you couldn't deny though was that this man had a conscience. and it spoke to him clearly. 

"kyon mujhe pahli baar aisa laga ki main... ki main shayad kuch galat kar raha hoon... main sahi hoon." why did i feel for the first time that i... i was perhaps doing something wrong... i am right. remember him in the rain? a man concerned with being sahi... right... not galat, wrong. it is in his innate nature. 

his mother's value system and evolved upbringing have nurtured it. she has taught him to develop and grow his conscience so that he may tame the wildness within. the wildness we all have to a greater or lesser extent. she's taught him to examine his actions... will you kill the flower for the hurt the thorn gives? life lessons in everday situations. 

his father's "galat" leanings and weakness have given it resolve. he will not be like his father... galat. so he evaluates his actions, and does things he believes are right. of course, doesn't mean he is always right. the difference is, he thinks afterward deeply, and if certain he was indeed wrong, he does so repent.

these two men and their strange ties to one woman, khushi, is finally absolutely centre stage today.

shyam, upon being discovered by khushi's primary protector, her father, has struck. in the midst of his threatening when shashi gupta started having a heart attack, shyam threw away the medicines... this in my eyes is tantamount to cold blooded murder. and the state babu ji was left in was worse than death in many ways. 

now he is leaping and dancing around frame causing destruction and seemingly getting away with it. how horrific his intent pursuit of harming shashi ji; how disgusting his pretend concern, his mocking of a fallen older man, his thick self absorption, his utter inability to empathise with  human suffering. to get what he wants he will hurt anybody, even the object of his desire. and he gleefully informs a man who can't get up and give him a punch on the nose that he will marry his daughter, in fact he will get his family to beg him to do that.

how sickeningly deceitful his holding of hand over flame to con a girl under terrible pressure. she thankfully is not moved by this, rather displeased with his attitude to the whole thing and discouraging talk, though she does tie the handkerchief on his palm. please don't say such things, shyam ji, devi maiyya will not let anything bad happen, her heart says so. 

the girl who understands heart, knows how to listen to it.
her father lies struggling for coherence in the hospital. her mother, aunt, elder sister, all are crumbling. first the shock of heart attack and then the devastating news: it's paralysis. all khushi knows is she is second in command in the gupta household. her captain is down. she must hold the family together. directors establish this quickly, within seconds of her arrival, she is taking over, telling her jiji to stay calm, all will be well, clearly, after babu ji, she is the support.

a little girl of eight whose whole world had shattered was given home, heart, love, promise, nurture by this man who was no one to her, just her mother's sister's husband. not a rich man, not a young and dashing man, but a man with love and a conscience. her feelings for this man are hard to gauge. she literally will do anything for him. her "babu ji..." when the doctor declared his diagnosis spoke only of that love and her need for him in her life.

as everyone leaves the room, khushi stays back to be with her father for a moment. she holds his hand with the most loving care, all of eighteen and absolutely determined, "sab... theek ho jaayga, babu ji," everything will be alright, father.

a tear slides down from a helpless man's eye. he has confronted evil and the evil for some unknown reason has won. at least for now.


    
unknown to her aunt, mother, and sister, on the other hand, khushi is coming apart. struggling to stay on top of things. she can handle everything, but not the loss of her parents again. and this is babu ji...


at rm, a short telling scene. he comes out of his room when he hears his mami's altercation with nani ji about the status of people and the place of servants. and to his casually asked what's up, comes anjali's reply, "chhotey khushi ji ke babu ji ko dil ka daura pada hai," khushi's father has had a heart attack.

he's shocked. when did you drop her home, asks anjali. he didn't. the scene plays back in his head... he had thrown her out of the car and slammed some money into her hand when she'd asked worried and frightened, but how will i get home. his eyes darken in repentance. that anger of his.

"khushi ji, aap bahut himmatwali hain... aap ko to aapka parivar ko sambhalna hai," khushi, you are very courageous, you will have to take care of your family, says anjali to khushi. and suddenly khushi can't be strong any more. beautifully written and directed this young girl's rising angst, worry, struggle to overcome, and need to just let go. 

she walks away and finds a quiet seat. body arched, wrapping her helplessness around her, she prays to the one she knows, the one that is always there.



"shakti dena, devi maiya...," a call to her heart's mother. the one who sits there, steady, unmoving, always.

"shakti dena," give me strength.
 

eyes closed, she seeks an inner calm.

then her lids flutter, just an instant later enters the stream of wind, far then near, swirling...

camera closes in on a girl feeling things, someone...?!?
she turns her head.


  
and he stands there.


something in his eyes, everything in his eyes.

camera rushes toward him... khushi's heart, her mind rushing up to him?

in the silence, just the silence, and the rustle of wind.



finally, just one word from him... "khushi...," a gentle call, lilting up at the end, as if to say, i had to come, i am here, do you need me?

slowly she gets up as though hypnotised and starts to move toward him in a daze almost. 

a swallow, he can see her state and it hurts him, so much pain in those young eyes, sparkling so often with all her irritating nonsense talk, huge smile always on. look at her now.

is a telepathic conversation on?... she senses his concern, his wanting to help her, she begins to rush toward him, suddenly wanting his solidity desperately...

and in a few short steps, she has run right up to him and wrapped her arms around him, resting her head on his chest. snuggling her head deeper against him, like that face of hers on his palm that very morning...



rabba vey... yes, this is a moment blessed. for here is the truth that will triumph over all, especially the darkness spilling all over their lives right now.

i can't do it any more, i don't have himmat, i can't do this any more, lost my father once before, i  can't do it again... "humse dubara nahin hoga... nahin hoga humse," she whimpers. he has never seen her so distraught.

"nahin hai himmat hum me... hum poori tarah se toot chuke hain." i don't have the courage, i am broken in every way.
his eyes close as the pain sears him becoming his for that instant.

khushi is broken? no!

his arms come up, but something holds him back.

his agony, his dilemma, all evident in his still frame and a balled fist, a cut gleaming fresh red on it. haanh maar daloonga, how dare anyone touch you, yes, i'll kill him. nainital is where she became his own in ways no one can clearly fathom.


 



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