The rehearsal time pics. Formal pics to be uploaded soon :)
“In life, we fight a lot. And fight till the end. But where are we heading. Good to think. This is not the end. If you’re not there now, you’ll be there some other day. There are four years ahead of you. Who says this is the end?” – Words a first year pal consoles a friend when a play she worked on did not clear the eliminations of ACCOLADE, the then cultural festival of our college.
Two years later.
The same pal looks at the poster of a play to be staged by this old friend, at the Gandhi Auditorium in Dharohar-2010, the annual cultural festival of our university, and has a hearty laugh with a newly made friend-
“She and her imaginations! All crap and vain…”
She knows this. Thinks of speaking to this so called old pal and letting out her disgust for the act. But Ma always taught me to believe in actions and not in words.
I abided by Ma.
I was not masked- There was too much life in me; and a mask is only a lifeless thing; I was glad I presented myself essentially as an actor. I would often think what if ‘gazal’ came to life on stage pushing my character, ‘Anna Desouza’ back and said all those things suffused in my soul. And had ‘Naxal’ occurred few months back, this would have happened. But ‘Naxal’ happened when it had to happen, just at the right time, for me to know and learn; for me to ‘live’ that moment, not as ‘gazal’ but as the lady on the stage, dressed splendidly for her part, imbued by the power she had, to awaken a cogent expectation of something heroic to take place. And it did.
Only when those eighty minutes were done with, I realized that my efforts had been acknowledged, that the conundrum was won; the conundrum of incertitude ensuing the cavalcade of impeding moments. I had broken the inveterate trends.
There was a gleam in these two brown eyes when they saw the full house response at The Gandhi Auditorium while making backstage preparations just before the play.
“ I had brought them here,” I whispered to myself, “ each one of them, students and faculty”. There was a sense of triumph in my eyes. But there was also this fear. My travail and vicissitude had to compete tonight, and I wanted the former to win coz a lot of things had been put up at stake for ‘Naxal’; a lot of things, and the whole of ‘me’.
It was dark backstage. The lights had been turned off just five minutes before the play to begin. The countdown began. My heart was beating fast. Thanks to the determined backstage friends for their indelible efforts to make me calm. The moment had arrived. ‘Naxal’ had begun. There is this quaint satisfaction a director gets to see his characters on stage, exuberant and living, speaking words indited long back. And to see the audience applaud at them gives such Elysium. But I was not just the director of the show all set to witness his characters perform, but also the female protagonist, yet to perform. I was nervous. I entered the stage for my scene feeling the cross on my neck firmly, and whispered to myself-
“Lord, Don’t you shatter my faith. I trust you.”
I don’t know but an invincible force came over me. While on stage, not even once did I suffer regression. Not for a moment did I think of ‘that’ which I feared would stir me up to ruins. Not for a second did ‘fear’ take over. It could not. I was too full of faith tonight. I was too full of love. And most importantly, the past few days had emancipated me from a cage of delusions. I was free tonight. An ineffable immaculating energy had inundated my being, filtered the ‘that’ in me which never deserved to be mine, which made every possible hinderance to kill my creation tonight, which was sadly ‘ my muse’ fot it shared its role in the conception of my creation. But I washed ‘it’ away tonight. ‘It’ took exit and only ‘love’ remained. Coz in the end its love that survives. That was the message of the play, ‘Naxal’ love survives.
I was ‘living’ my last scene on the stage. My eyes were wet, my voice quivering and I was on the verge of collapsing any moment. It was the departure scene, when ‘Anna’ had to go for her purpose leaving behind ‘Him’ whom she loved.
“ Never let go. Take care of yourself. Don’t you surrender. Don’t you get dejected. You’ll do something very big in your life… You’ll do wonders… You’ll… I LOVE YOU. I LOVE YOU…. Never let go…” My last words, the very last… shook me to the same extent, a bit less though. I was shivering as I entered backstage, making every possible effort to get hold of me. It took time, but I did. The backstage praises helped.
The play closed with a choreo. And began the inexorable series of applauds, ovations and applauses to my rhapsody which had ‘lived’ its life of eighty minutes on the historic stage of The Gandhi Auditorium, and made its mark, answered some iffy questions put up to its dignity. The hush that followed spoke it all…
I hugged my team. They were the people who had given me the empyrean of joy tonight. They were my support, my driving force. Had ‘Ankit’ and ‘Geetika’ not been there with me, I would have surrendered to those obstacles that came. Had ‘Mantu Sir’ and ‘Dabral Sir’ not stood by my side as the two mentors, I would have been washed away in the tide of time I saw. And without forgetting my very supportive batchmates and lovable juniors who kept me on…
I LOVE YOU ALL PEOPLE.
Thanks for making ‘naxal’ a reality…