Photo by Rohini Kejriwal
The kind of stories that are told,
The ones that have impatient waves as their background score,
Like a smooth pour of vanilla milkshake,
Very plain , very loved.
Kind of stories,
That exchange dry paper overwhelming with an ocean of love in a humble steel lunchbox,
A subtlety that satisfies all the hunger.
Thank you for the stories,
For the maps,
That show us the way from the natural to what is human.
And for reminding us,
that art will always be a part of the heart,
24 frames per second.
For the words, the words and the eyes and hands and the voice,
Always speaking the truth.
Only and only the truth.
The shoes are too big.
The art is too subtle.
And you cannot imitate subtle.
There will never be a namesake.
Rest easy, Irrfan.
Maps caused considerable consternation growing up
What was the use of a blank map
That had to be filled out
If I couldn't navigate to the places on the map
Now the map I see is filled out
The COVID-19 dashboard
Dark red blobs over countries
Each bigger than the other
Bleeding into one another
Total confirmed cases: 3, 115, 977
Total deaths: 2, 17, 132
Yet the map doesn't show me everything
Somewhere an essential worker
Places another person in a body bag
A beloved actor passes into the night
Even the filled out map is not enough
For navigating the grief
For navigating the void
If I begin to tell your story
I don’t know what form it’d take
a shipwreck story
a survival story
a story of perspectives
a story of faith.
I was twelve when I met you
in those pages by Martel
i didn’t know that
your journey across the seas
would hold a mirror to so many truths
truths faith turns its backs on.
I have so many fears
when I look inside me
and I am reminded of you
how you went through so much at sixteen
I am reminded
of the smile on my face
when I had finished your story.
yours, is a foray into the world
and into the soul.
your name, the subject of laughter
by your peers
is now a source of joy,
I think of you and Richard Parker,
in that boat
and how you made out of it
despite your father’s lessons.
Now I know, that your story
is about finding a shore
and finding yourself
and about accepting life as it comes
and making the best of it.
My heart ached when Richard Parker
didn’t look back at you
but if it’s any consolation
I do, I do look back at you.
I hope you’re still out there somewhere
with your wife and kids
and I hope you tell them your story.
and Pi, you did make me believe in God
a God that cuts across religions
I am not sure
still trying to get a hold on it.
I hope you are okay with it,
my faith has room
for plenty of doubt.
-Piscine Molitor Patel- Pi by Shobhit Srivastava
1. My father isn't a big fan of movies,
but he has an autograph of this person who was in our city to shoot some movie about two decades ago.
On some evenings over tea he would recall the story of a conversation,
"हमने आपको देखा है |".
"आपका नाम तो नहीं पता, पर आप बद्रीनाथ हो |"
"भई वाह, आपने तो पहचान लिया|"
That's the Irrfan story of my father.
That autographed page is kept somewhere amidst the old diaries of my father.
2. Fast forward to the first year of my college life at the university, that movie is a part of the folklore, an induction ritual of sorts, to truly understand the Allahabad University.
That's the Irrfan story of my College.
I am yet to see the movie, it never came by, someday I will, perhaps.
3. I have a virtual friend from a city called Southhaven in Mississippi.
Once we were talking about Namesake, and she told me she loved the movie and Irrfan Khan.
Since it was a text, I m not sure if she pronounced Khan correctly.
That's the Irrfan story of a stranger.
But I did watch Namesake after that.
4. If you would ask my best friend about minimalism, he would say he doesn't follow trends.
But he lives by the philosophy of life in a suitcase.
And enjoys his cigarettes by the window, and thinks about writing to a friend. His favorite romantic movie, The Lunchbox.
That's the Irrfan story of a friend.
वो दरिया भी है
और दरख़्त भी है
वो झेलम भी है
और चिनार भी है
वो दैर भी है और हराम भी है
वो शिया भी है, वो सुन्नी भी है
और वो पंडित भी है
ज़नाब वो कलाकार एक है
पर उसके शक्ल हज़ार
उसकी सादगी उसकी अदाकारी नहीं
उसके जीने का रवैया है
उसके चेहरे की लकीरें
मुख़्तलिफ़ नक़्शे बुनकर
दुनिया की थोड़ी सैर
हमें करा जाती हैं
उसकी मौत पर
ना चाहते भी
सारी आंखें थोड़ी नम सी हो जाती हैं
हर किरदार को बखूबी अंजाम देने वाला
आज़ अपनी ज़िन्दगी ही अधूरी छोड़ गया
ये कैसा इज्तिरार है
एक अंजान की मौत पर
जो पूरे शहर को सूना छोड़ गया
इरफ़ान ख़ान के लिए
(मुख़्तलिफ़ : different
इज्तिरार : restlessness)
-Nawazish (Attributes in the first stanza are taken from the film Haider)
there is no word
for goodbye in
my mother tongue.
one of the
finest actors this
country has known
after a long battle
from film bids adieu.
and somebody's friend.
I never knew them,
now I never would.
I never knew them,
but I'm jealous of them
I see how their absence
affects the people
and that shows
that they were loved.
do you ever think
how will the world react
if you stopped existing?
would it be poetic, like
in the movies?
you are wrong.
there is nothing poetic
about death and
grief is deep
like an ocean,
bigger than us,
only healed with
faith, time, and love.
and no matter
how long we have lived,
our loved ones
never learn to say goodbye.
maybe that is why
there is no word
in my mother tongue.
And then it ends,
just like everything else in life
And you're left wondering if there was anything
that you could've done to make it more worthwhile
Life is funny, isn't it?
One moment you're clicking photos of yellow butterflies
and the next you're crying over the death of your favourite artist
The artist who didn't even know that you exist,
and yet you give them ownership of your tears
I wish I never live to see the day when someone I love
more than myself takes their last breath.
I know I would blame it all on myself. I always do.
I feel like I could've saved them, those helpless souls.
If I could, I would gladly take responsibilty for every death
of every human that has ever lived if it meant
eternal happiness for the people I love.
But I can't, and I know I have to let them go.
Because in the end, like Irrfan said,
the whole of life becomes an act of letting go.
But what hurt me the most is
not having a chance to say goodbye.