Skip to main content

Darn that dream

The space had character.

The outside room was distinguished by wooden floors, formica topped tables around the corners, shelves lined with video tapes & reels, cardboard boxes hiding behind pillars almost in apology, and piles of vouchers, bills, shooting dockets & other documents shuffling around higgledy-piggledy wherever they could. Large, framed prints hung on the walls. The room should have felt crowded and untidy, but it did not. Each of the items had made a place for itself in there, and now looked like it had always belonged.

The inside room was all him... his personality & tastes expressed in a strong, vivacious fashion. The aluminium windows, open more out of rusty compulsion than choice, looked on to a dreary building. An AC rumbled on in a determined fashion, while the water dripping from it made its way down the window grills, into the gullets of crows, sparrows and any other bird that needed a drink. A very hot summer was in the offing.

His table was wooden and solid-looking. It had a large Macintosh, some papers, a notebook and an old pouch. His leather chair promised reassuring comfort. It had to; he was 6 ft. 3 in. A tan Lazy-boy, corpulent in its padding looked like it was snoozing in a corner. The walls were a melange of well-thumbed books, fading movie posters and photographs of actors and movie covers. Behind his chair hid a hand-painted & framed picture of a bull charging at the Matador, the red of the cloth, vivid. Light streaming from the window hit a small silver salver... the kind in which chandoo (finest opium) used to be kept in days gone by.

And then there was the man himself. When authors used the words craggy and rangy to describe men, SSS was the kind of man they were referring to. With the natural confidence possessed by those with royal blood in their veins, wealth, good looks and athletic bodies, he walked into a room like he owned it. And in this case, it was literally true. He did own this part of the building; 2 rooms in an enormous old studio lot, now going to seed. Most of the sound stages had closed, the editing rooms had moved elsewhere and there was talk about an infamous realty group circling like a shark that had smelled blood. SSS had moved into the place 20 years ago. He was still there.

An industry veteran, SSS had worked with big names and agencies and, like all veterans, strongly disdained most of those he'd worked with. He was a born raconteur, with enough skill to tantalise rather than reveal. His voice was clear, his words eloquent and his diction, perfect. His conversations ranged like a wild horse through the landscape of his memories and experiences; yet, the work-related topics were never neglected. As he spoke, he'd open the pouch, take out the rolling paper, a filter, some tobacco and weed. Without a pause, he'd mix, layer, roll and light up. It was a pretty mesmerising performance. And the joint always smelled good.

It was only his eyes that were tired and careworn. Though they usually looked speculative, 20 years was a long time to be behind the camera, direct actors, consider shots & storyboards, yell "Action", "Cut" and "Pack up", and the fatigue came through every now and then. Despite the clear passion for his work and his talent, SSS was exhausted. More than that, he was bored, which was worse. He was reaching the end of his tether; over the lack of organisation at shoots, the lack of professionalism, the quibbles, quarrels, constant client edits... the list went on. There was also the brouhaha over the realty dealer and the sale of the property. Where would he move? How would he take 2 decades of good & bad to another place? How could he abandon the very walls that had supported him all these years?

SSS didn't have any answers. He got up, headed outside his office to a wrought iron bench opposite the door in a long passageway. There he sat, with an ashtray and a joint, staring into nothingness.



Popular posts from this blog

Night Boat

I usually don't write honest pieces. They're true to facts but I tend to lather my emotions and thoughts with a heavy dose of attempted humour or misdirection. This post deserves some raw emotional honesty, though.

Yesterday, 29th August, a Tuesday (or should I say, another Tuesday) was about me making choices. It was raining quite heavily when I left for office, sheeted down the windows of the train throughout the 1-hour journey to Churchgate and kept going with renewed intensity by the time I made it to the entrance, looking verily like something that had drowned in a gutter and lain there a while before being discovered by a cat and dragged in. I made the choice to go to work as I suspected my boss would be there and not because I wanted to go.

I was right about my boss but that cardiac fizz of being right flattened out rather rapidly once I realised, around 11:30 am, that no one else from my team of 20 had bothered to make a similar effort. And, some of these guys live 5 …

Drink up and be somebody

Dear Reader,

History will boldly testify that your favourite blogger is usually slow on the uptake, a state of affairs that's blooming with each passing year like a reverse-Revital. "Why this self-harshness, G", you may ask? Well...

I've been doing the Bom-Pune-Bom trips for 9 years and it's taken about that long to accept that MSRTC Shivneri, still the best bus service of them all, simply cannot (or, realistically, will not) cope with 3-day weekends. Since my job profile does not allow me to plan my travel in advance on said Fridays, I land up at Dadar, view the queue of potential passengers snaking a long way from the ticket window and mentally prepare to arrive home at the hour of morning reserved for sheepish teenagers and dacoits. The Expressway doesn't help anyone's cause thanks to truck drivers spreading themselves generously across 3 lanes and clogging the Lonavala pass to a point where the traffic jam is about 3 km long. A stretch that would tak…

Country Comforts

Part 1

With timing that was far more impeccable than their usual service, the MSRTC went on strike 2 days before Diwali over a pay dispute. I've traveled on their buses for close to 9 years and know full well just how popular they can be just before a major holiday. The chaotic crowd at Dadar is so dense, one would only need to introduce a few Naga sadhus into the mix and hey presto! we've got ourselves a brand new Kumbh Mela. Albeit one where getting out of Bombay ASAP is the only kind of salvation devotees seek. 

News and newspapers being what they are at present, I was unaware of the jolly bus crisis until Wednesday morning when a well-wisher asked how I proposed to go home for the holidays, flourishing the paper in my face with the reluctant panache of a small-town magician. Realising the gravity of the situation, I looked up train schedules and was stunned to find General category seats available on an outstation train departing later that afternoon. As far as I could see, …