‘You must be so happy‘, they said.
‘About what?‘, I asked.
‘Your book is getting published! What else?‘
‘Yes. I am very happy indeed.‘
This morning, as I drove to work, I passed the wetlands that have somehow survived the process of urbanization. There are green pastures in the vicinity. Just before Onam, those pastures were transformed into temporary shelters for cows and calves. The animals had been brought from different places. I would peer into those eyes that looked back at me in all innocence. I felt like a traitor. These animals were unsuspecting. They had no clue as to why they had been brought here. The whole day, those scenes played in my mind- the animals grazing on the pastures, the calves nuzzling against each other, little boys playing with some of the calves. After Onam, as I drove that way, none of the animals were around. The pastures and wetlands stared at me in mute silence-
A silence that seemed to echo the screams of hundreds of animals as they were slaughtered.
There is ‘Keagan‘- the calf in the neighbourhood. Every evening, it is at our doorstep for food. Bread, biscuits, oranges, watermelon- it will eat anything, as long as it is not tasteless grass! Keagan is a male calf and will be sent to the slaughterhouse soon. When I pat its forehead and peer into its affectionate eyes, I always think of that moment when this animal would be exposed to man’s brutality…
I wonder what one would see in those eyes then.
I think of my cat that passed away a few months ago. I think of its helplessness as it lay in mute silence, suffering, until death put an end to that suffering.
Somehow, one can never run away from the pain and suffering that has touched one’s life. Even as one celebrates one’s ‘success’, these faces peer from the abyss of the mind- a reminder of how transient our moments of happiness are and how our happiness is rooted in the happiness of the world in which we live.
My publisher looks at my book as a commodity. The future of my book is gauged in terms of how it would sell. Profits, expansion, competition– these are the words that govern the modern world. Aspirations are built on the foundation of these words.
If you ask me, I would say anxiety is the dominant feeling that defines my current state. A little excitement, a little happiness, but profound anxiety.
For me, the future of my book is defined by the lives it would touch.
Can my book bring about a social transformation, however little? This is my concern. For me, the publishing of this book is a dream, not an aspiration. And that dream is much larger than just building my identity as an author. That dream revolves around cinema and the human mind.
Cinema, that has been a companion to me in all my lonely moments…
Cinema, that taught me to celebrate my vulnerability…
Cinema, that taught me to love and to live.
When I watch a good movie, I experience a father’s love, a brother’s reassurance, family moments, and all that I miss in my life. My loneliness abates and I experience the warmth and emotional comfort of a big joint family!
Could my book help people discover themselves? Could my book transform society’s perspective of cinema and revive ‘good cinema’? These questions define my dreams.
So, there is a long way to go. And if my book can bring about such a transformation, that is my happy moment.
For that happiness is collective happiness- of a society, of a community. And it is only at that moment that the suffering faces that peer from the abyss of my mind will be put to rest. For they would have achieved their purpose in my life.