Mourning Sushant Singh Rajput And An Excavation Of Memories
“In sorrow we must go, but not in despair. Behold! We are not bound for ever to the circles of the world, and beyond them is more than memory.” – J R R Tolkien
Let me begin with stating my firm belief: “Whoever said that loss gets easier with time was a liar,” and I endear you, my dear reader, to raise the same question in your mind. Perhaps the echo would be, “Lying is an art.”
And if there is a name who personified that art of lying, in another way, I would unhesitatingly anoint Sushant Singh Rajput with; for didn’t he, exactly a year ago, walk away on that fine afternoon, taking in tow all the promises he made to us, to himself: fifty of them in an enviable bucket list of desires that buoyed the dreams of his ardent followers like me… leaving me and many like me grieving and pining. Didn’t he elevate our intellect, perception and psyche to a titillating level of obeisance and submission. And then one unsuspecting day, fly away like a cuckoo bird to a sure destination that has intrigued man since human existence. Would it not be a fair and measured surmise to apportion believed events to the realms of an elusive lie! Dear Sushant, in your unannounced departure, you seemed to mirror the lines of Emily Dickinson:
“Because I could not stop for Death
He kindly stopped for me
The Carriage held but just Ourselves
And I was left with the harks of the grand old tragedian of classical Athens, Euripides:
“Come back. Even as a shadow, even as a dream.”
What followed Sushant’s departure was a story of unwelcome familiarity: the numbing of our senses, the cyclic definitions of life and living, the meaninglessness of promises and desires, the conspiracy of the best and the worst, the flight of the bird that lay caged for eons, the fatality of our dreams, the coalescence of existence that is rounded with a sleep. Sushant took the decided measure to join the one-way ticket to redemption with many of the celebrated likes of Cleopatra, Nero, Socrates, Virginia Woolf, Sylvia Plath, Arthur Koestler, Earnest Hemingway; and nearer home from the Indian Celluloid, the likes of Sandeep Nahar, Chitra, Asif Basra, Sameer Sharma, Susheel Gauda, Preksha Mehta, Sejal Sharma and Kushal Punjabi; to name a few. The prodigious talent that he displayed prior to his departure in his few but immensely immersive films and elsewhere notwithstanding, I remain haunted by a question raised from one of the greatest and saddest films, Grave of the Fireflies:
“Why do fireflies have to die so soon?”
An utter silence of bewilderment is the only answer!
The very word, suicide (as is alluded to Sushant without a closure), call it by any other name; hopelessness, depression, melancholy, self-destruction, lethal, fatal or kamikaze for that matter; it seems everywhere. It haunts history and the turbulent times. It torments our own networks of friends and family, but what remains less marked is how self-destruction distinguishes human creatures who grapple with melancholy in the face of losses that are too huge or enigmatic to fathom. Though there may be many reasons offered by philosophy or popular culture, there are also some simple insistent truths that do forestall such an action. The fact is, self-destruction saddens the past and abolishes the future. In fact, poet Cesare Pavese, one who preceded Sushant taking recourse to the same path, went on to say:
“No one ever lacks a good reason for suicide.”
If we are to believe, even after a year of non-closure in the case of Sushant Singh Rajput; he couldn’t have disappeared into thin air, the brave and focused man that he was. The non-closure of the case lends further mystery and speculation, an admixture of left-over hopes, dreams and desires that plagues each one of us and is the cause-celebre of society today. The uncertain vexation afflicts us, annoys us, distresses and harasses us; intimidates and teases us about the pre-cursive events of Sushant’s death and its aftermath. The question that will keep haunting us is: “Why?”
In my search for Sushant in the virtual world, I came across an Instagram post he shared, saying, “Passion is overrated, presence is underrated.” Unlike the charming, confident, persona he exuded on the silver screen, his reality revealed a keen insight and restlessness.
Pattern a few of his words:
“Everything happening around me is very random. I am enjoying the phase, as the journey is far more enjoyable than the destination.”
“No matter what you achieve, what you want to aspire to be, or how famous and powerful you become, the most important thing is whether you are excited about each and every moment of your life because of your work and people around you.”
“The more I learn about things, I realise how wrong I was before”.
“I am learning the importance of living in the moment.”
“The best thing is to accept the circumstances, not take them personally, deal with them, stop complaining, and give everything your best.”
“The only strong opinion that I have about myself is that I don’t have any opinions.”
“If you are confident about yourself and wear what you love, you will exude a style of your own.”
“Everybody is in a hurry to decode you in a certain way, and then they expect you to adhere to their definition. How can they possibly do that when you yourself are finding it hard to discover yourself?”
“The closest synonym of happiness is excitement, and you can generate it by doing something that you can’t completely comprehend. This understanding makes the process rich and exciting.”
“Whatever dream you have, be sure that it is going to happen, and then forget about it. Then you have to come back to the present and be there 100 percent.”
“I pray to God every day that he makes me the biggest superstar, but before that, I ask God to make me a good actor. Being a star is hard, but being an actor is even harder. I want to be both before I am done.”
“I think we are all insecure, and there is nothing wrong in accepting that. But the problem arises when we try to counter this insecurity by cultivating this illusion of control, and we start taking ourselves and everything we know too seriously.”
“I have made a lot of mistakes, but I am proud of them all.”
“We should never forget the inevitable, as we will lose everything eventually. So, why fret over any kind of security? The idea is to just fly and experience it all while it lasts.”
“What keeps me going are my learnings, which I would rather call my ‘experience,’ and my urge to explore.”
Words that are profound, premonitious, foreboding, intuitive, beyond his time, beyond the circumstances; conscious and measured. These words expose the life lessons for any youth who wants a future of build and substance. In these words lie the very purpose and mindfulness of our lives; and encompass the possibilities for any inspirational life coach to conceive life’s lessons.
To exemplify the measure of his expansive mind, is the little known fact that Sushant had envisaged and announced a twelve-part web series where each episode would have him play iconic Indian characters. In his lofty ideal the list featured names like Swami Vivekananda, APJ Abdul Kalam, Chanakya, Rabindranath Tagore etc. and was a vision of his tribute to Indian geniuses across a span of over 2500 years: from 540 BC to 2015 AD.
While the web series plan didn’t work out, he wanted to adapt the same for the theatre, the idea being that these illustrious characters would identify themselves to him, in a perspective of today’s times; imagine Swami Vivekananda acting with Sushant to contemporary ideas and times. Who would ever conjure such an innovative idea, but Sushant! And yet, rooted to the soil, he has the simplicity to say, “A man should definitely own a couple of blue denims, white crew neck T-shirt, a versatile blazer, comfortable pair of boxers, and coloured sneakers.”
Sushant epitomised youth, vigour, talent, dreams and passions to the core and allowed himself a life meeting those ideals both in amplitude and in vibrations. But then, what happened to the castle that he had built and dreamt of, the lofty plans of his future. Why does it have to crumble like a pack of cards, if it did? To a passionate follower like me, it is a slow pilgrimage through the world, a certain sense of beautiful mystery seems to gather and grow as we move on with our lives. It is a wonder that occurs around us that we can’t claim but just feel the artistry moving through, and be silent. Isn’t life an exciting, exquisite and startling journey: a dirge of Mourning and an Excavation of Memories!
So long Sushant, I will keep my promise to meet you again the next year, same time, same place; though of better morrows in my mind; lest you not agree that “Lying is an Art”.
Also Read: Of Solitude, Loneliness And Departures