Friday, 11 March 2016

episode 314 smoke and mirrors


"dadi..." that whisper.

his past, his present, his future, his every dread, his only love, his truth, his duty, his battle with the house of mirrors... they were all here... in this one episode. almost all conjured at once on that "dadi" escaping over a halting breath.

how hard he had fought to overcome sheesh mahal... that house of deception, of reflections that hide the truth, of shehnai which aches with the ring of death in it.

he had just brought back to his home, his life, the only one he had dared to hope with, wanted to dream with. she stood there in red, what else... it was such a day. a day when everything he and she were about, all that their love and hamesha was, would be centre of focus again and a destructive torrent would try to break and shatter all... the house of mirrors had come calling. the shehnai played... what will die this time.

he had sat that morning gazing at her as the sun rose, perhaps thinking of what lay ahead... perhaps letting happiness into his heart, a new experience all of this.

but there had come that knock. and he had had to leave, his conversation with her not yet quite done... the moment he'd heard the cause of his nani's concern, his brow had darkened. agitation rushed in.

and now he stood at the doorway of his home, he who was ready to walk to his future at last... and the past stood there down the hall, appraising him, daring him almost to walk up to it.

his stance changed, a tightness in it. in his eyes a wary shadow. was there suffocation, did layers of swirling memory come and choke? he might have snapped but his abiding elder, the one who stayed when everyone left... the only adult who never let him down, she whispered gently, "chhotey!"

did it help him gather strength, fight off the grasp of memories even if for a moment and walk up to his past, step into its arms? why did i think i saw a little boy there just for a moment, one who might have loved his grandmother, his dadi, as children do, one who perhaps had hoped to be loved. one who had struggled in an abyss as even this grown up deserted him and abdicated her duty.

she was sheesh mahal, but she was not home.

home lay a bit to the right, looking at him with troubled, hurting eyes.
while arnav ji was away, a strange game had started with the advent of a woman she'd never met, never even heard of, and she had no idea how to save herself from its ferocious play.

as he stood in his grandmother's embrace, almost defenceless for a moment, i wondered if he had hoped she'd changed, come back to be part of his life, his happiness, for he had such an expectant look in his eyes as nani called his wife to his dadi.

nani, of course, an elder worth being called that, had instantly introduced the two new members of their family to her friend and mother in lw of her daughter. the right thing, nani tried her best always to do that. her grandson had inherited that trait...

which is why when he saw his dadi's foot move back and refuse his wife's pranam... he knew what had to be done.

he also knew dadi had not returned to mend, she was here to roil, to break, to bring back the shattering silences of a mansion that hovered close always. and now it was reaching out, engulfing him.

he stood before the window looking out, his rigid unmoving profile in view. his wife walked slowly into their room. a poignant dense sequence deftly directed with skill and emotion, reading stillness, silence, the slightest movement intently.

she had said her breath had almost stopped just a while ago. i knew what she felt watching this scene. no flashback was needed to know where his mind roamed and battled, or who he thought of even amid the turmoil. if sheesh mahal was death and a chill descended over his heart almost making it go still, khushi was the call of life, warm as sunshine, never still, his heart leapt at the very thought of her.
she was in disarray, tremulous as she walked. that slight by his dadi... but when she saw him standing there, she knew he was perturbed. and she had to reach him, soothe him. maybe it was all her fault, maybe dadi didn't like her... maybe this.. maybe that.

he stood without saying a thing, without moving a muscle. a beautiful score played between the silences and pauses, a thoughtfulness to the tension, undercurrent of tender emotion...

at last she gave up, let her feelings come and sat down, a little helpless. did he know she'd try to make it okay, blame herself or was he just so angry all he could do was stay quiet and somehow gather his thoughts, her sitting down, that sign of vulnerability did get trough. immediately.

subtle direction and caring, intelligent, intuitive acting.

a slow turn of his and he looked at he at last. he had teased and played and provoked and challenged and fought to bring her back. but at this moment, there were no more games. she was his wife, he her husband, he had sworn he'd make her part of his life. he knew he would do the right thing by her. sahi.
he walked up to her, a magnificence about him, a man who would be all a man could be, a man who knew he had done galat and who believed he could do sahi...

fingers hooked under chin.

i had a feeling the most galat man he had encountered, his father, and the consequences of his actions, had taught him the true meaning and value of sahi... it was non negotiable. it was right and had to be done.

beside, he could never ever watch her sad. he knew she was hurting of course.

his words take a while to come... her tears robbed him of coherence perhaps.

then in a husky, tense, voice, an urgency lacing it, he said, "khushi, dadi tumhari vajah se naraz nahin hai aur na hi iss shadi ki vajah se..." to an extent he is right.

dadi isn't angry because of you nor because of this marriage.

he can't bear to see her unhappy, the man who gave her her most terrible tormenting aansoo. a sense of life and its dynamics there. classic.

and then his open admission to being the one in the wrong... "aur kissi aur ko pata ho ya na hao main yeh achhi tarah se janta hoon ki jiss tarah se hamari shadi hui ussme tumhari koi galti nahin!"

and whether others know or not, i know well that the way we got married was in no way due to any fault of yours.

"maine tumhe majboor kiya tha..."

i forced you.

i had a sense the story teller wants to get this done with neatly to move to the next. and dadi is very useful to bring out his tenderness, his aching gorgeous love for his girl in red, reminiscent of those rose buds she was caressing a while ago.

writing was clean and forceful, direction sensitive... but it was the acting again that elevated the moment.

"issliye ek second ke liye bhi apne aap ko iss sab ke liye responsible mat thehrao," which is why, not even for a second consider yourself responsible for any of this.

as straight and simple as that. i am arnav singh raizada. everything to do with our marriage is my fault. he has done wrong. he will set right. he will take responsibility.

she is vital to him, the sense is underscored by everything he does and says. their relationship seems to have moved again and gotten deeper... another level reached.

"and dadi is like that... hamesha se aise hi hain woh..."

today sheesh mahal refused to leave him, even after he had looked into her eyes, eased her hurt. the music that heralded angst and extreme emotional wrenching, violin notes ascending quickly, played. she knew something else was bothering him. she needs to know what.

dadi could have been done so so well i think. there was story there and traction, especially after shyam and that classic conflict of two men almost opposite in nature in love (well one was love, the other call what you like) with the same girl had ended. a brilliant next step would have been to the
the house where music played and gun shots rang.

khushi spoke of not knowing him even though at times he felt so near, so close... hint of mystery, of things not yet unearthed.

"kyunki maine kissiko nahin bataya!" because i didn't tell anybody. again he took the entire blame and responsibility as he interrupted his dadi while she raged at her old friend and sounded sanctimonious.

just as his nani had, he told her as it is... you've come to ask questions now?

he had decided to face the problem head on and solve it. he didn't want to be sucked into the quagmire again. that dark feeling crowding in, he would fight it. then his dadi said what he abhorred... that he was like his father.

"aapki babu ji ki khoobiyan..." all the wonderful traits of your father... she started.

"bas, dadi!" he respected her he will say and he did, but there were some things he would not tolerate. way back his nani had compared him to his father and the same response had come... i am nothing like my father, he'd said emphatically, angrily. such a fabulous realm to explore... asr and his father.

"na hi main unki tarah hoon... na hi kabhi banoonga!" neither am i like him, nor shall i ever be. i respect you a lot, he told his dadi, but in this house his name must not be taken, i don't like it.
dadi had brought every trauma of sheesh mahal back. interestingly, not the memory of his mother, but his father and his ways are what churn him most. that whole issue of sahi and galat. there was a story of another woman and the wrong done to her... almost in a parallel universe it seemed a son was doing the right his father had never done...


as they spoke, his dadi's hand suddenly shot up. the familiar gesture, bidding someone to stop. he turned around slowly. a frightened girl stood at the door. he realised instantly what the issue was, and this time there was no keeping quiet.

only one thing to do. walk up to his wife and stand beside her and say coolly, "kahiye, dadi," say, dadi.

ironically, turns out, just like grandson, grandmother doesn't like anyone to walk away till she has said all she has to. yeah, he learned a lot of his arrogance and high handed ways at the mallik's. but he didn't imbibe that galat.

"jahan meri patni nahin aa sakti mujhe nahin lagta ki wahan meri koi zaroorat hai," where my wife can't enter, i don't think there's any need for me either. a simple quiet assertion, steel in his voice. his wife gaped at him then the faintest smile.

his grandmother took umbrage and refused to speak.
"aap ki marzi," your wish, he said laconically.
nani, i noticed, was smiling at him. sahi. this was the story of that essential thing. love perhaps gives you the strength to do that no matter what.



~ i wondered what if ram had walked up to sita and stood beside her and said my wife will give the test of fire, i as king decree that. and i will take the test with her, i as her pati, her lover insist on that.

~ nani ji was awe inspiring. her face off with her friend or is she the eternal adverasry (?) was wonderfully dome by jayshree t. she is the one who stayed, who didn't run away, even though she lost her only daughter. the dialogues were deadly, dadi, such a representation of the past, of patriarchy, nani is all about now and the future, of democratising, of opening up. and yeah, she is no pushover, not giving any explanations to the deserter.

~ making khushi so nervous and easy to be toyed with did not gel. i understand story must head toward remarriage and a quaky khushi, always worried about what dadi might think or say is one way of telling the tale. there must have been others.

~ payal and nk's friendship sort of cute.
~ "
goatwa ko serni ke mooh ma..." the goat has gone to the lioness's mouth, simpered mami. i recalled the goat that had a room. he is there to protect this goatwa, nebher phears mami.

~ "iss khandan mein jo kuch bhi hua woh uss hadse ke wajah se hua... talluk hai!" whatever happened in this family was because of that incidence... so there is a connection, insisted nani. such a clear indication that story will go to sheesh mahal and the problem of woh aurat will be looked into. the suddenly it went off to remarriage and the past got the short shrift. wonder why.



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