The work we do in Call Cutta is more than just acting out a story. The real work, the actual theatre, lies more in the interplay of human emotions, in the bonds you form in 50 short minutes, and that is the actual focus of the play. The technological gimmickry, the little surprises, the games, they are all aids to this interplay. And it often happens that the people we talk to tell us that our conversations really meant something to them. I've rarely felt the same, because I'm always acting, so I often make up little things about myself, so the person they talk to isn't always really me.
My last call last night was to Erica Steiner, an amazing old lady. At 66 she's not so old, but she's been through widowhood and cancer in the last six years (in that order). It's amazing how happy her voice sounded, and I mentioned it, saying it's not often you hear such joie de vivre in any voice, no matter how happy (or not) a person really is. And she said such wonderful things last night. Things that sound cliched as I try to blog them, but things that I needed to hear. I'll be honest and admit that these are things that I've heard already from friends, but last night, hearing them from someone who's been through a bit of hell and escaped with a glow, really made these things meaningful to me.
We talked mainly about priorities and how a near-death experience makes you count your blessings. And I've been thinking, there have been times when I've been in fairly dangerous situations. The time I walked out of the house in the middle of the night, upset and heavily pregnant, without a phone. Couldn't get back home because the stray dogs who acted as local guards sense my fear and wouldn't let me back into the neighbourhood. I was eventually picked up by the police, but these were policemen from the Lake station, a place avoided by most South Calcuttans because the policemen there are so bad. I was lucky and they treated me very nicely and took me home. But for the half an hour that I waited outside the station for the paperwork to be done, I sat in the jeep with a stoned pusher who kept insisting that I was a call girl he knew. I was so grateful for my salwar kameez and wedding jewellery that night!
And there was a time last summer , when I cut my wrists. I was upset (obviously) and didn't cut deep and was in no danger of coming close to dying. But I sat there staring at the blood and all I could feel was dazed, my only thought being, I was to visit Madras the next week, how on earth was I to explain the cuts.
Maybe these aren't near-death experiences. But they sure as hell made me think about the repercussions. And they made me think of what was important to me. There is only one thing
that really matters -- my family. And by that I mean Vicky and Rahul. So long as they are healthy and comfortable, I can compromise on everything else. I told my mother this (about the re-thinking of priorities, obviously not about the two incidents) and she said it was very natural and very right.
I was thinking about all this on the long drive back home last night. This year, 1st April passed by and I didn't remember to mourn. I was busy with my family. So I guess I'm finally ready to let go. I've always known it was necessary to let go but I couldn't, all this time. Now I think I'm ready. I don't want this memory to be one I end up milking for tears whenever I 'want' to feel sad.
I came home and had a long talk with V. A colleague of his has been in a coma since Monday morning and things have been rather chaotic with that. Gayatri, eight months pregnant, was rushed to the hospital on Tuesday with severe diarrhoea, and I've been worried about her. We talked about all this, and then about what I'd been thinking. It was so comfortable lying there in the darkened room, talking things over. Rahul was awake in his cot and he fiddled around while we talked, but I didn't mind him being awake for once. It felt nice to have that little, peaceful family time together.
He told me ten days ago that he really wants to quit smoking. I didn't believe him, because you know, if you want to do something, you just do it. That's how I live. Last night I tried to believe it. I think the hardest part of all this has been to accept it as a weakness in him. An addiction is just that, a chink in your armour. And my man? My man has to be strong enough to take on the world. Without any chinks in the armour. But in the real world, I guess heroes are the men who fall and keep getting up and going on. So V doesn't have to be a hero so long as he really does try. He's cut down, I know, so maybe, one day, he'll manage to quit. It took a mail from another smoker who's trying to stay clean to make me wonder why I'd give her, a stranger, the benefit of the doubt and not V, my own husband.
Us blogging mothers seem to be really hard on ourselves right now. We agonise over a small and an actually unimportant lie. We don't like the people we find ourselves being. I know I do these things too. I think that too is an offshoot of the general stress. If we weren't so stressed out by everything, we'd be in a position to appreciate the worth of what we do, and yes, we'd certainly pick our chores as well as our battles.
This seems like a good time to remember my New Year's resolution -- to de-clutter my life. I've thrown out and given away a lot of stuff. I've been clearing cupboards at Moore Avenue (my grandfather's place and our general warehouse) and cleaning out rooms. That's pretty much why I haven't even been blogging on weekends, because my weekends have been so busy, this last fortnight. I guess it's about time to take the de-clutter drive into my mind as well and have a nice old spring-clean.
All of you, thanks for the wishes. Things are back to normal here. Vicky is getting yelled at for leaving his clothes all over the place, The Bhablet is getting alternately yelled at and cuddled as deserving, and I, well, I'm happy. :)