Wedged Between Imagination And Imperfect Recall

Wedged Between Imagination And Imperfect Recall

“Dr Bavaskar mentions in his biography that, as a young boy, he used to work as a helper in a shop owned by one Madansheth in a small town. Years later when he revisited the town, Dr Bavaskar then a renowned doctor whose research on scorpion bite treatment earned him international fame, asked for Madansheth. He was told that Madansheth had lost all his wealth and was working as a peon in a small shop.”

“Oh, riches to rags! So unfortunate.” Lulu, my parrot, hopped and moved closer.

“Dr Bavaskar met Madansheth and touched his feet to pay respect for what he had done for the doctor in his young days. And Madansheth, now living in poverty, went inside the shop, and presented packets of cashews and almonds, mentioning that he remembered that the doctor always liked the nuts as a young person.”

“Such a touching story. I have always kept thinking about such distinctive qualities people show. Amir Khan comes to my mind. ‘Satyamev Jayate’ made such a huge impact on people, he surely brought about great awareness of social problems.”

“Where does all this come from?”

Lulu, my parrot

“That’s a million-dollar question!” Lulu hopped on to and perched on the pile of my books. “Some say you carry it from your previous birth, the ‘sanchit’. Some say it is it is all about upbringing.”

“All this may be true. But we are missing something more. Surely there is a free will.”

“Ha ha, you are deep diving in to the whirlpool of philosophy. I do not know about Madansheth’s family, but I know Maulana Azad was Amir Khan’s great-grandfather. Maulana Azad was a fierce nationalist and played an important role in India’s struggle for independence. Don’t you think identities get shaped by the past; by the conversations at home about family history and such men-women of eminence?”

“You mean Amir Khan’s extra-ordinary work on Satyamev Jayate and Pani Foundation sprung from his past? That’s plausible. But surely there must be more to the story.”

“There must be. People reinterpret their role in the context of their time and place. Why, even actors do it; they interpret the text and the plot. Their characterisation in a play is an amalgam of their imagination and their life experience.”

“That must be interesting…. I mean it must be enlightening. You play a role, relive and examine your past, discover how you were conditioned by various factors, and discard some of those layers on your personality through awareness.”

“You said it! You discard some layers, and also decide to retain some which give meaning to your life. This is true not just of actors but also of everybody who seeks to reflect and redefine roles he or she is playing.”

“I guess that’s where imagination comes into play.”

“Vijaya Mehta, the renowned theatre director, in her biography says that she would search for people who exemplify the role she was to play in a drama. Don’t we also seek role models?”

“We should, I agree. We pour so much of our ‘self’ in everything we do; and we do it with a bit of imagination. And the world watches us and decides who we are.”

“Lisa Ray, the actress writes about a very interesting experience. She enrolled for an acting course in London. Her teacher said, “What’s that thing? Wedged between imagination and imperfect recall? That’s your character!”

Lulu pushed a few books from the pile, found ‘Close To The Bone’, biography of Lisa Ray and opened it for me.

Vivek S Patwardhan

“What you leave behind is not what is engraved in stone monuments, but what is woven into the lives of others.”

Photograph by Crispy Fish Images Shutterstock