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Monday, November 17, 2008

Off The Mask

Shirish was an actor and a director too. Theatre was his workplace. Though he was a second line actor, director it was easy for him to be in a leading position. He had an established drama company at his disposal. The owner of the company had both wealth and wish. Above all the owner was an exception to his creed, he was generous. Today Shirish was at a definite position in his career but achieving this was not at all an easy job. He had to struggle a lot. What not he did for the current status? Up to mid thirties he was trying to establish himself in the experimental theatre and related drama competitions. He had a lower middle class background. Two times meal was a bonanza for him and the crazy game of theatre entered his life. Once it enters there is no exit. Shirish had ordinary looks with a flabby tummy which came out in his mid twenties. He was fat, short, and his face suited well for the comic characters. But he was sincere and more over was hypnotized by the art. After mid thirties he realized that it was futile to continue with the experimental theatre. Competitions, awards were all humbug, he realized. If one has to pursue theatre on and whole one has to be professional and that was not so easy. He had no such background, no godfather, no extraordinary looks and skills. But he was sincere enough, hardworking, totally charged by the medium of theatre; he had the organization skills required for a director of a play. Above all he had the vision and he was quite aware of it well in time. He was quite sure about his goals. He was apt with the channels for achieving the goals. He was shrewd enough to prioritize the channels. In case of emergency his wit would arrange and rearrange various permutations, combinations of the order of these channels within no time. Many a times he would be blessed by the luck. Gradually by way of flexing and bending diplomatically he gained his current position in this field. Off course he had to face insults, many a times medicating the insults by going on the booze. The drama company he was working for was almost the number one company. He had to compete with a single director running ahead of him. In the current play his position by his role could be numbered at three or four. But was one of the main characters, typical but extracting each and every laughter from the audience. He had a perfect sense of timing. Over 300-350 shows would definitely mean good money, good amount of fame etc. He had become familiar with the common audience now. The journey must have taught him many lessons. He was devoid of involvements in any kind of relationships. There was a dim possibility of any opposite sex involving in him. By his point of view it was up to the entrant who would decide his way, whether to enter Shirish’s life, stay or quit. He was least bothered and would manage himself without any relationship. For a person like Shirish this post forty platform was not only a better state but a boon. One who is willing to give, surrender gets. And if the luck shines one definitely gets what one craves for. It depends upon you up to what extent you give, surrender. Shirish was quite comfortable in his present state of affairs. The routine was definitely hectic, he had to travel a lot, work a lot. He had to be on his toes for the haunches coming from his subconscious vision. But the returns were plentiful and those were not marked by the luck factor alone. Shirish was proud of that. He normally had a weekly tour out of the city for his shows. Currently he had finished such a tour comprising of three to four shows and had come back. He was much disciplined with performing the shows as well as with the encounter with booze thereafter. He returned in the morning. While unlocking the door he had sensed the milk bag inserted by the milkman in a pouch tied to the door outside. But Shirish was just not able to take it out. He entered the house, tied a lungi around his waist and went to bed. In the soothing numbness of his hangover he was riding on the pleasant glimpses of his recent tour. The spirit of the successful performance, the timed as well as un timed laughter, funny incidents in the wings during the performances, discussions, boozing, dinners, jokes, the journey by the company’s bus, spying, gossiping… all these things were making a collage… with the receding feeling of soothing numbness… which was getting replaced by the harsh hangover now… as usual. And his cell phone rang. The ring tone of wedding bells was reverberating in his rented flat. It took some time for him to come out of sleep, his present state. He woke up and started searching his cell phone. After getting it he was furious. Somebody had deliberately adjusted the ring tone of wedding bells to tease this forty odd year’s old bachelor and the mobile screen was showing totally unknown number! What do I do with the wedding bells? And what should one do with such unknown numbers? He intensely abused the unknown person calling him and cut off the call. Switching off the mobile and missing important calls was not affordable. He went to sleep floating on the good old voyage again, experiencing another collage. The mobile rang again, with the same wedding bells, with the same unknown number…
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