I am sure I have said this before. This is an old piece of thought. Nevertheless, it is a fascinating piece of truth.
The relationship between me and my mind, is truly extraordinary. My mind is like a bird, and I am the tree.
The bird often leaves the tree, flying across uncharted territories, reveling in the profound beauty of the terrains it travels. And when it has had its fill, it returns reluctantly to the tree, its heart throbbing with the beauty of what it has experienced.
For a brief moment, the bird is still, and it shares the beauty of what it has witnessed, with the tree. It shares its extraordinary journey with the tree. The tree is enchanted, and records it all. The tree is delighted that the bird helps the tree experience what it would otherwise never be able to experience, for it cannot fly. This is exactly the relationship between me and my mind. I have a mind whose natural instinct is to fly. I have a mind that has wings.
Of the terrains that my mind has witnessed in the course of its flights, the human mind has been the most beautiful. My mind loses itself in the infinite shades of the human mind- in its aesthetic potential. I find personalities very attractive. I am drawn to who people are beneath what is visible on the surface, and to what drives them. I lose myself in the beauty of a personality.
I celebrate people a lot more than I celebrate myself. Through people, I get to experience the pulse of life. And so, I am always on the lookout for a personality I can be fascinated and intrigued by, a personality I can be addicted to, a personality I can immerse myself into, just so that I can come out emotionally richer. I collect in my mind not pictures of people, but imprints of personalities. Within my mind is a collage of personalities- the imprints of extraordinary minds that I have unraveled during the course of my interactions with people and that I have carefully tucked into my mind. These imprints are deep; they are now a part of who I am.
People give themselves away easily. This is particularly true of the extraordinary ones. Innocence and a certain self-consciousness/shyness are ingredients of the extraordinary mind. As we move into a world that is dehumanizing itself constantly, I am all the more on the lookout for extraordinary minds. For they have become an endangered species and one doesn’t sight them too often. I turn to art when I don’t find them in real life. To biographies and autobiographies, to cinema, to interviews. Sometimes to fictional characters. To wherever the mind is deep enough to absorb my thirst for life, for beauty, for wisdom.
It is this drive that led me to individuals across the world- from artists to scientists, across time. Deep within, I believe that I have met them all. For our minds have communicated, and that is the most real, most truthful interaction to me.
The latest addition to this list of personalities is Sunny Deol. I can’t really remember how a perception brewed itself into a fascination, an obsession. But the trigger was a movie. I watched his film, The Hero: Love story of a Spy, where both the characters (that of Sunny Deol and of Preity Zinta) truly attracted me. From a character perspective, I was more attracted to the character of Reshma, played by Preity Zinta, for she portrayed an ordinary village dweller who demonstrated a potential for the extraordinary; her ability to demonstrate strength and commitment where one initially only saw the innocence and vulnerability of a village girl, was profoundly attractive. I have always been drawn to characters who demonstrate this combination of vulnerability and strength, and it wasn’t surprising that I was attracted to the character of Reshma.
However, I am not sure what drew me to Sunny Deol’s character. Perhaps it was his ability to see the worth and value in Reshma’s character, and to provide a platform that was conducive for her personality to freely express itself. He demonstrated the ability to accommodate her spirit, to let it flow freely. I think that is a very rare trait- the ability to accommodate a child-woman personality into one’s life, and to celebrate her spirit. Of course, this was only a movie. But there was something that was so real about the way these two characters unfolded in the movie that I couldn’t disregard them only because they were fictional characters. This aspect of Sunny Deol’s character had such a powerful impact on me that I found myself watching this movie everyday- a phenomenon that is no longer surprising to me because now I understand why I have to watch the movie repeatedly. Each time I watch the movie, though the suspense is broken, I move closer and closer to the personalities, into the mood of the movie, until I have lived the movie, lived the personalities, lived their minds. Until I can no longer differentiate the experience of the movie from the experience of my own life, at an unconscious level.
I think it was this character that implored me to seek out all his films- the older ones, for I realized that there was a fundamental essence of his personality that one could taste in the characters he played. He had to believe in the truth of the characters he played; it was otherwise impossible to have created the impact that he created through his characters. Though I did like the fundamental character he played in Gadar and since the theme of partition has always been a theme I hold painfully close to my heart, I felt the plot of this movie evolved into a more dramatic and sentimental narrative in its later sequences, and it lost its appeal of realism towards the end.
Since most commercial movies drew away from realism (unlike parallel cinema), I found this a deficiency in most of his other movies. However, in all his characters, however unreal, I liked the innocence and the honesty they portrayed. There was something so Indian about his characters- it was perhaps a reflection of the essence of his own personality.
What does the term ‘Indian’ mean to me? In very simple language, I would say it represents someone who is very close to life. So close to life that he has accepted his own self, with all its vulnerability (or what the world labels as “weaknesses”). Someone who is therefore capable of being accepting of life, without the powerful need to prove himself to the world. Without the powerful need to deny one’s own personality so they can fit in. I have always maintained that the most beautiful people in this world are the ones who have a very realistic concept of the self, and accept themselves as they are. It takes immense strength of character to be able to do so. And from whatever I could gather of Sunny Deol, I felt he came across as a self-actualized person.
I found it imperative to watch interviews and videos where one could get glimpses of the real Sunny Deol. I jumped in glee when he admitted that he had always been a little shy, a little self-conscious. As I watched more of his interviews, I saw an individual who still retained the essence of a beautiful bygone era, of his roots that were fragrant of the character of old Indian villages. I saw an individual whose heart was into all that was emotionally rich and meaningful. An individual whose dreams are very much rooted in his childhood. I think the luxury of growing up in the India of those times was that we grew up in the outdoors, and experienced the world as a beautiful place that gave us freedom and fantasy, and a joy that nourished the soul. This was especially true for those of us who grew up in urban India, and spent our vacations in the villages.
I was a little confused when I read the news that Sunny Deol was contesting for the BJP. However, I like to believe that we perhaps need more artistic minds in politics and move beyond party politics. Perhaps if writers and film makers could utilize their mass appeal for the cause of humanity, our political parties may get cleansed in the long run, though I do realize this is wishful thinking and even if it were to materialize, it would perhaps take decades. Sunny Deol as a politician may not be able to achieve much. However, as a human being, there is so much that he has to offer, irrespective of the field he is in. He is so grounded, irrespective of the mountains he has scaled. Quoting his own father:
You may be scaling mountains, but if you fail to be a good human being, you stop mattering. You may be a nobody with your feet on the ground, but if you are a good human being, you matter.