Thursday, 29 September 2016

episode 81 in the sky

fluttering wings. feathers and their interaction with the air and sky creating another layer of sound. their motion stirring sensation. on the very first day we met our protagonist they were there. the pigeons. startling him out of his reverie. as his memories echoed and careened through him, they came out of nowhere in a sudden burst and flew around free, they had never known a cage. but some people had. and the wings called them to rebel perhaps, regain their freedom.

today again. one of the most difficult days of his life and there they were. when khushi walked into the temple with her parents, i couldn't help but remember the pigeons from the first episode, and later in khushi's balcony and dm's temple in lucknow. they seemed to bestow a stroke of something, like the creators wanted to add more meaning to the telling today. and not all of it could be neatly scripted into dialogues, camera movements, music, even acting cues. something unchained, unrehearsed, spontaneous was needed.

expert stacking of stories one on another. khushi is here, praying for her father. asr is here to take the priest to the death anniversary prayers of his parents. his memories are here, how can they not be, that's where he keeps his maa safe, somewhere in that scream. and a little girl is here, worrying for her papa's health, with a broken piggy bank that refuses to yield enough to buy a pigeon.

the pigeon that will carry her wishes far and high and make it come true. all here with there parents in and around them. children, somewhere all three. and perhaps it is when you are a child and see with a child's eyes you get to see the truth.

perception is reality. famous rolling stones magazines ad line. not all ads lie. this one is 16 annas true. with her mind happy and engaged with her parents and prayer, not prejudice, she interprets what she sees perfectly. and is flabbergasted by a realisation. people are not always what they seem to be.
"jiji... par woh waisa hai hi nahin... usska asli roop toh kuch aur hi hai." jiji, he isn't like that at all, in reality he is absolutely different. people should be the way they look, but why aren't they? "insaan achcha ya bura ye kaise samjha jaaye?" how will one understand whether a person is good or bad?

he stops in his tracks. takes off glasses. a little girl sits on a bench crying. "panditji aap chaliye, mein aata hoon." go ahead, panditji, i'm coming. his heart is open today, he is all and only his mother's son at this moment. and he can't walk away leaving a little child crying alone. maybe he had been that child once.

he is a bit awkward, not so comfortable around kids. a very not prepared, "ky... kya hua?" almost brusque. wh... what's the matter?

he looks around, then tentatively, "tumhare mummy papa kahan hain?" where are your parents?

on a sob, a forlorn little voice says, "papa hospital mein hai... mummy ro rahi hai." papa is in hospital, mummy is crying.

a child distressed and worried for both her parents. her tears are streaming. he grabs his handkerchief, passes it to her. she blows her nose straight into it. and the grossed out asr face from 75 here again. khushi blowing her nose vigorously into her dupatta, bet he recalls that scene. shades of khushi in the child, and shades of asr in her cry for her parents, her yearning to make it all ok for them. she returns the hanky. trepidation. nausea. but. he is a brave man. he takes it gingerly. in the midst of sadness and turmoil, moments of elevating lightness, an ipk trademark as it were.

the jo chaho mil jata kabootar tale comes forth. kabootar? pigeons fulfill wishes? "par mere paas toh sirf das rupaye hai." but i have only ten rupees, she says, the baby talk not yet completely erased from the voice. still trusting, still innocent, still not adult and guarded.

a memory of a time of not having floats in with the music. of terrible days, sadness, loss, no amount of kabootar flying could take away that spectre, but in it is an identifying with a child's sense of helplessness, and all the intensity of an innocent's love. next to her, her piggy bank, broken; her treasure, all of it is there for her father's well being. but the money is just not enough. again khushi comes to mind and her changing world, where the gullak is no longer enough to buy all she wants, the growing pains of life. when all you have is not enough, how terrible is that feeling then?

khushi is also praying for her dad. she would break every piggy bank for him and more. she remembers something and tells her parents she'll be back in no time. the pigeons call her, or maybe they bring her a message from someone.

today, he pays for the little girl's father's health, no, for her belief that this will make her dad ok. and to take away those tears, if he can, that would be priceless. it's his parents' barsi, how can he bear to see anyone suffering about their parents today of all days. alas, khushi will not get her pigeon. but she will get to see something she'll treasure long. even in her darkest hour it will surely bring her hope. and when her babuji is in hospital, this man will come and pay, not for pigeons, but for all that is needed to make her babuji fine. oh the coming together of time and strands of story of this episode is rare. there's reference and echo everywhere.

just now a man came and got all the birds, says the pigeon seller.
"kya? itni saari mannate sirf ek aadmi ke liye? bada laalchi insaan hoga jo sab kuch sirf apne liye hi mangta hai." what? khushi is upset, so many wishes for just one man, must be a really greedy guy, who asks for everything for himself. kkg's ability to jump to conclusions is something else, and usually has me rofling. really painful when tears are on standby.

and if there's one flaw this man doesn't have, it is this: he actually never asks anything for himself. almost never. works hard, takes care of the whole family financially, and emotionally too, completely depended on by all, never grudges this. a bit grouchy, not too sweet, not at all chatty, but lalchi? uh huh. doesn't even expect anyone to stay up and heat his food when he comes home late at night and has dinner.

beautiful shots as pigeons flap their wings and fly off...

she is delighted to see the kid jumping in glee, chalo at least this little one got pigeons for her mannat, wonder what she asked for.

"uncle. uncle." and he turns... it's him.

she's shocked.

she blinks. maybe just a teeny bit of the blink is for the gorgeousness that is being revealed.

"yeh sab mere papa ke liye hai?" all this is for my father?

"haanh, beta." yes, little one. how tender now, maybe in the release of the birds a few moments of freedom within him. a wish of his being carried unknown to him perhaps by one of those skyward birds?

khushi watches, jaw dropping, and a sense of wonder comes calling. this is asr. arnav singh raizada aka rakshas, laad governor...
"aur aapke mummy papa ke liye?" and for your parents? this time, really the music was not required. his eyes were enough to tell the entire story. he struggles with his tears, and swallows hard. and then the sweetest shake of his head. not there.

the touch of a child on his tears. how she appeared from nowhere to again disappear from his life. was she sent here by his mother's wish, her blessing, to bring solace to her son on a day she knows he suffers? do those who leave us still look out for us?

"aap ba'ut acchhe 'ain," you are very nice, says the little one, like eliza dolittle dropping "h"s everywhere.

so this is rakshas.

"ab mere papa teek o jaayenge na?" nod, yes. a beckon by "come here" chubby finger, and a kiss on the cheek... he's a tad shocked. he smiles and reaches out, a little unsure, to touch her head. in blessing? in thanks?

reminded me of that day in the hospital with khushi. as she cried, he could not stop himself, he reached out and touch her head, to console, to assure, to say, i am here i'll take care of you. almost like a parent... an instinct from that part of us called rachem or compassion/mercy which comes from the word for womb. he was as gentle as a mother almost right now, with this little kid who had blown snot into his pristine white kerchief.

softly, "ab aap ghar jao," now go home and don't sit here and cry, and don't leave your home alone.

"... jao." go.

and as khushi
watches him nonplussed, feelings whirling in her, camera pulls focus, i see him looking up at the sky, for an instant a plea in his eyes, a call. does he too search for his mother up there? this was for me the few seconds that made the episode. a whole story in it, and a coming closer of two people meant for each other. he doesn't know she's there, yet somewhere he does, look how the birds flutter their wings, their sounds carry messages, everywhere.

then the shades are on. a last long look at the sky and he leaves.

back at home the feelings that had found a little peace in the temple, were edged out by his grief, his churned scattered killing thoughts, in the midst of that, she came and said, she understood. he had no idea that she did. he thought this was yet again another sympathiser with no experience of such pain. and as is now become a habit, he took out all his pent up anger, frustration, everything on her. scathing words rejected her genuine heartfelt words, he shattered her with anger and insults, ending on the customary "get out." a little girl of eight who had felt almost all that he had, struggled with the brutality, a woman of 18 held her hand and turned away, walking away from a man that remained unfathomable. was this the angel in the mandir just now?

parents came and stayed lingering across the entire episode today. a protective father, a beloved mother, children with the touch of a mother, adults becoming kids before their parents. even rabba ve wrapped around a father and a mother. the notes trilled and connected a man who sensed her the moment he walked into the temple, her, and her amma babuji.

aapki aankhe bilkul aapki amma ki tarah hai.
your eyes are just like your mother's.

yahan se jao please.
go from here, please.

hum samajh sakte hain ki... iss waqt aapko kaisa lag raha hai.
i can understand what you're going through right now.

kaisa lagta hai jab apne haathon se apne ma ko agni dete hain...
how it feel when you light your own mother's pyre with your own hands...
kaisa lagta hai jab apne ma baap ko jalakar ghar aate hain?
how it feels when you return home after burning your mother and father

kaisa lagta hai jab uss ghar mein phir se kadam rakhte hain jahan woh wapas kabhi nahin aayenge...
how it feels when to set foot in the house where they shall never return again

everyone says they understand what you feel,
lekin koi kuch nahin samajhta!
but no one understands anything!


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