Saturday, 24 September 2016

episode 70 lights please

every time i see this shot, i can smell the sulphur.
episode 70

suddenly came darkness. all he wanted was to be left alone with his lap top, not attend the janmashtami puja going on downstairs. never one to stop his family from doing what they pleased, he at the same time did request he be left out of the observation of rituals he had come not to believe in.

arnav singh raizada was not a character conceived lightly. in a culture where patriarchy and expressed theism is the way of most, where feudal practices and a tendency toward blind faith often goes unquestioned, here was a protagonist, a hero, who did not subscribe to any of the prevalent norms. he clearly said he did not believe in "tumhara bhagwan." interestingly he never said, as far as i know, that he did not believe in god. today too, he told the jaw dropped khushi, "
main uss moorti aur usske ishaaron pe vishwas nahin karta... aur agar iss baat ke liye tumhara baal gopal aasmaan kholke mujhpar bijli girana chahe na... toh main intezaar karoonga." 

i don't believe in that idol and its signs... and for this if your bal gopal wants to open the skies and strike me with lightning... i'll be waiting.

amazing that such a man was not only accepted but practically adored by the audiences. i particularly noticed the husky challenge in his voice on the last, i'll be waiting... no fear whatsoever. i am prepared to bear the consequences of my actions. in that i heard the cry of the individual to rise above fear.

his heart says he can't believe in an idol and rituals around it, he can't bring himself to observe therefore. hindu practice is a wide and vast thing, it does not require us to follow any particular kind of worship, nor does it make belief in god mandatory. you can be an atheist and a hindu, of course the majority amongst us is theistic by inclination, practicing in several different ways. the validity of different ways of practice, the inclusive urge is one of the tenets of hindu thought. each to her/his own... whatever path takes you there, take it.

my father always called hinduism a way of life. and what i understood finally was that at the core what is of importance is dharma... doing one's duty. as far as practice is concerned, that is.

in this, arnav singh raizada is never wanting. every duty that is his, he does and is willing to do. this is my personal understanding of my faith. i do not wish to offend anyone else's way, that would be an abs no no. just that as i look at and sense asr, i am touched by this differently expressed hindu, and amazed at the actor's ability to create this aspect without giving offence or turning people off.

there's more. he has refused his father, denied his name. utterly. he believes his father was wrong in cheating on his mother, not taking his responsibility. he is unbearably hurt by his father's actions. that snapped moti dori the first time khushi and he met, scattering pearls, was somewhere the state of his and his sister's life... bikhar gaya... everything was scattered by one man's actions, lives lay rudderless, broken. then comes his uncle's betrayal. finally he did the unthinkable. he lets his father's name go... took his mother's name. not because he wants to punish his father, but because he wants to respect his mother, give her the place she deserves... traditionally a place given to the father. from him is our "identity" derived in patriarchal systems... with one decision he shuts the door on that.

as for feudal tendencies, yes he loves to yell and shout at the servants, but notice the affection they have for him, not seeming to mind his loud voice at all. clearly, mr's bark is worse than his bite. and in his home, though he says, it's MY house, look who really rules. it's nani and di all the way.

in asr, i find a modern man with new strengths, a fearlessness and a willingness to take on life, to make his life his own responsibility... never leave it to fate. there's something terribly attractive in that for me, personally.

of course, he is flawed, and there's a lot of fine tuning to be done in his way of thinking as he goes along, but the basic structure floors me. as for faith, no one with a conscience as deep as his can be without a certain compelling faith. just that it is felt and expressed by him differently, not in the way we are accustomed to. in his love for his sister, his wiping the tears off a little girl's eyes, his quiet personal visits to the temple on the day of his parent's death anniversary, his sacred garden, his communion with plants, in so many places he prays. do we see?

and i can't help but think, in making him light that lamp in the darkness, there was a veiled message from creators.

the story was rather weakly presented. surely, in his own home, he knew that is where the arti set up is. also, the uncanny silence would have tipped him of. but because of the jai prakash to the power of three... i just let it pass. a tight, deep sequence bang in the centre of episode. core idea of 70 for me. three helpers are named after light... light of creation or om, om prakash; light of god, hari prakash (my translation, may not be accurate, but hari is how god/krishna is referred to), and most pertinent this evening, the victorious one who spreads light, jai prakash. then there is rahim chacha, rahim meaning compassionate (one of the essential traits of the eternal), derived from racham which means mercy/compassion and is related to the womb. how beautiful.

tonight it was the victor who would spread light that got called three times. was he also the one who came and lit the lamp?

jai prakash. jai prakash. jai prakash.

"light, my light, the world filling light,
the eye kissing, heart-swetening light!
ah, the light dances, my darling, at the centre of my life;
the light strikes, my darling,
the chords of my love;
the sky opens, the wind runs wild,
laughter passes over the earth."

~~~ robi thakur ~~~

again a darkness that will take us to light. a new and different light. a light that stays forever and gets it voltage from the heart. how do i know? why, bal gopal ne ishara diya hai... bal gopal has given a sign... look. 


No comments:

Post a comment