Corona pandemic has given a much needed break. I wish this was kind of a custom that happened for some days every month, unlike now when this is being dumped as a sack on us, at such a stretch that it seems endless now. The time in a month when the whole world halted with a synced breath and in dearth of competition.
Today, the patience of every single one of us has been worn out by the same daily routine because we already know what is in store for us in the next moment. The to-do list has become achievable and the daily struggle is being sorely missed. The struggles that made us constantly complain and curse our abilities after being always left behind the mark. The 99th birth anniversary of Satyajit Ray on 2nd May this year took me back to join the dots and relate the present lockdown with the magnification of the moments that the maestro quite often exhibited in his film.
The moments of sheer leisure, confrontation, appreciation, unison and of being oneself were so vividly impregnated into his art. Madhabi Mukherjee starrer Charulata (1964) takes us through the emptiness of space and mind. And, Amal’s arrival brings a vibrant wave that breaks Charulata’s confinement into a shared feeling of belongingness, face-off with aspirations and resemblance of literary bent. How can we let the swing scene go off our mind, a perfect blend of nascent emotions of love and cageless ambitions that storm within Charulata.
But, how does the conviction to render her abilities that weren’t limited to embroidery sprout in her? Well, it came with a series of companionable encounters of Amal and Charulata. In one of the scenes Amal sarcastically points towards Charulata and her sister-in-law talking about women who are either traditional or new, and the one who reclines on the bed all day, arranges her hair in mirror, embroiders carpets and reads novels may indeed be somewhat superior to an animal but she has little justification of being born a woman.
These small nuances of their conversation lead Charulata to collect herself and put candidly in front of her husband that she too could contribute in his newspaper. Natural talks are important in these times indeed. Who knows it might be a small note to ourselves to bring out the restrained bits of best out of us?
If chit-chat is not a cup of your tea then an engaging game is not a bad idea either! After all, that’s what Ray had to say in Aranyer Din Ratri (1970). In the film the four friends, Aparna and her sister-in-law play a memory game in which each participant had to add a new name to the chain and utter all the preceding names. The game was integral in unfolding the relationship between Asim-Aparna and Jaya-Sanjoy. The camera in center churned out the organic emotions of haste to babble out words, chuckle after a blunder and screech after a slip of tongue and mischievous gaze of blooming lovebirds.
To the introverts and ever-occupied bots who have bulged in with past burden, these ideas of heart-to-heart talks and childlike games in real and on celluloid seems illogical and impractical. Ray made an entire full length feature Nayak (1966) where every instance seems like a metaphor now. Arinadam Mukherjee, a Bengali cine star is set on a train journey to collect his award for acting in Delhi and confronts the bitter portions of guilt and fear in his life to a journalist named Aditi. A common man amid this lockdown is the ‘Nayak’ and similarly stuck in a journey where confession can be a healer to vent out the mental baggage that one had withheld forever.
The minds and hearts of people are crippling with bursting impatience and inner isolation despite being always surrounded by their own family. All credit goes to our own curated mental cubicles. Ray’s masterpiece emphasises so profoundly on exchanging dialogues and healthy confessions that it gives a manual of living to all stuck in this lockdown. Undoubtedly, we will be complaining when we meet on the other side after this lockdown but it is on us to decide if we use the same time of nothingness to chalk the way out of the resolving impending dilemma, burden and anxiety.
Shaily Mishra is currently pursuing her BA(Hons) Journalism at Kalindi College, DU
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