Friday, June 24, 2011

SIMON SAYS...

My last blog post was published in March, 2011. It's been a long long time since I've written here and thats left me wondering why I kept away so long, and what must it be that has brought me back here today.

Emptiness?

Perhaps thats true. By that I don't mean boredom or a state of mind of a person who has nothing else to do, because I am a procrastinator by nature and at all given times I live with the stress of having to do too many things which I have pushed aside with the gentle stroke of one excuse or another.
While I do take credit for all the good things that happen to me, I also blame my own self for all those things that could've happened but didn't. That, as a matter of fact, is the emptiness I'm talking about. The hollowness one experiences within oneself when one ponders over why it is that one is not doing what one needs to do and why is it that one is delaying things from happening for no particular reason at all.

I tried to beat procrastination for the last three months and made a deliberate attempt to get up and do what was needed to be done in my work as well as personal life, without falling prey to the 'delay mechanism' in my brain that always overules the 'neccessity to act factor' in my mind, and have realized, approximately 12 weeks later, that never on a single day did I get even a moment to turn to my blog and publish a post here. That is how much work that there actually is to do in my averagely dispositioned life.

But today, I have succumbed to the need to procrastinate, push all important things to be done away from me, by telling myself that I will address them after the weekend is over. I have taken the liberty to make everything wait because I need to visit this place and I need to put a few thoughts down.

The politics of the world doesn't affect me anymore. I'm finally numb to what goes on and I think the youth in me which used to make me react to everything that was wrong around me, has chosen to slip into a middle age which enables wisdom to convince a restless soul that there is nothing it can do. From a proponent of the doctrine that we can collectively change the world if we are to rise to the cause, I hear myself telling every shaken heart that there is nothing it can do except find peace within itself.

This, when I said to my friend Renuka who spent two days with me earlier this week because she wanted to get away from the sorrow of having lost her beloved husband Simon to cancer after having lived with him for 13 years in bliss, I realized, resonated within me as well.

The loss of Simon Gilbert is a sadness for all who knew him. He was the bright of all darkness throughout his life, a burst of illumination which gave light to each and everyone who happened to connect with him. To me, he was that honest truth, I hated to face because Simon spoke from his heart and was never afraid of telling you the truth or afraid to make you confront the fact that you were running away from it.

A documentary film maker for BBC, and an artiste par excellence, Simon met Renuka in New Delhi while shooting a film many years ago and fell in love with her instantly. Both Simon and Renuka, Ren as he called her with affection, were in post divorce blues when they met each other and decided to go to Goa for a holiday which they never came back from. From the guest house they lived in for 4 months, they hired an appartment and stayed in the idyllic beauty of Goa for the next thirteen years of their togetherness.
I met them in 2002 while on holiday, through some friends.
We took to each other immediately and kept in touch regularly since then.

When I told him the story of my first film White Noise, Simon loved it, and told me that he would like to edit the film. I told him that when I am ready with the screenplay I will share it with him and take it from there. When I sent him the screenplay to read, Simon called me up to tell me that it was no longer the story which I had narrated to him a couple of years ago. I was upset and adamant but he was even more than me, because he told me flat to my face that I had got carried away with my partners and destroyed the tapestry on which the original piece had been laid and also that he was no longer interested in editing the film unless I was ready to go back to the drawing board and re write the screenplay.
I told him that commercial compulsions did not permit me to do that and he told me to then drop the project because it didn't make sense to go ahead with something which was neither what I had started of to make nor what I believed in, either.
Finally, he didn't edit my film.
I went ahead and made it the way it was and the rest is history.
Simon's voice came back to haunt me when during the distribution phase a well known buyer in Cannes asked me why I had made White Noise, and I found myself searching for an answer which I didn't have.
Later, after the film was released, Simon and Renuka saw it in Goa and called me.
Ren loved it, and Simon said, ''Well done, Bebu, (a name by which the closest to me call me) although I wish you had listened to me and not been in such a hurry to make this film".
I smiled to myself and told him that I wished I could've done that too.

Then, a year later, I called Simon and Renuka, and told them that I would be reaching Goa in a few hours and was going to get married to my friend Anil Bahuguna there.
I told them that I wanted them to be there for the wedding as there was going to be no one else present, besides another good friend of ours ofcourse.
When Simon met Anil, the day before we were to be married, he took me aside and told me that I was making a mistake and what I was doing was especially not fair to the guy I was getting married to.
Renuka was angry with Simon for doing that but Simon told her, ''Bebu is running away from something and neither does she know what she is running away from, nor has she any clue where she's going. She can't take another person along with her into her own abyss of darkness".

Another year later, when Anil and I separated, Renuka and Simon called up to ask me how I was doing, and Simon said, "Bebu, take care. Come to us and stay for a few weeks and let it off because what is going on in your head needs to be sorted out". I said to Simon that I was fine, to which he retorted, ''But you always say that Bebu", and then he left it at that.

When Anil was no more an year later, Renuka and Simon called again and Renuka told me that they are with me and that I should go to Goa and spend some time with them.
I asked her to pass the phone to Simon and Simon asked her to tell me that he had nothing to say.

Now while Renuka and me sat and killed a bottle of Vodka between us on the first evening that she spent with me, we only talked about Simon.
Renuka is alone without Simon but somewhere I could see that Simon's spirit lives on within her. I could feel his presence and I could communicate with him through her. Such are lives which touch me and the lives which live away from the chaos and quagmires of this world, which inspire me to believe that while there is nothing we can do to control this world going mostly wrong, we can find peace within ourselves, that if we choose to live with those or memories of those who show us the way.
Whether you listened to them or not is irrelevant because it is the memory of those who chose never to mislead you which makes you believe that every moment of this life is worth living for.