Gone with the Wind!


Amit Sengupta Delhi

There are no clichés here, morning has already broken. We are all being followed by the moon-shadow of yesteryear's compulsive rituals, leaping and hopping on a moon-shadow, as the song arrives on Christmas night, silent night, holy night, when the cold dips inside the blue veins, the hungry intestines, the crumpled skin and light eyes - the dreamless dream of insomnia of the homeless on the streets of this metro or that. So don't ask us the meaning of new year resolutions, or the neo-colonial hangovers of last year's incomplete memories, longings and missions. Don't even promise to make promises, because there are still miles before we sleep, and the woods are lovely, dark and deep. Instead, perhaps, we can give a gift, like an anthropological narrative of an imagined community. The gift would only be authentic if it is something really precious inside your heart, beyond the idea and materialism of possession, as ephemeral as sensuality, a rainbow, the smell of mud after rain, the touch of a beloved, or a girl child, smiling in her sleep, playing with the angels. It's like a district in Nepal with one primary health centre for 25,000 people, where a young documentary filmmaker sets up a medical camp and stays put along with her friends. It's like a woman assaulted and enslaved in a brothel's ghetto who liberates herself, her son, and the future slaves of forced prostitution. It's also the presence of the Bamiyan Buddhas, the emptiness of space bombed out by the Taliban, like another sculpture sculpted by time's ravaged fanaticism, a chronicle of hope foretold, written on the forehead of a Japanese woman journalist, who has shifted her heart with the unconquered, beautiful and rough geography of Afghanistan. It's the stoic story of a handsome Islamic scholar, who is reinterpreting Islam in the heart of Europe, pushing peace, rationality and tolerance to the threshold. It's also Gandhi's Hind Swaraj, the starting point of text and image, a non-violent movement to rebel, to defy, to disobey, to fight, all that stands for injustice, hatred, stark inequality.

Eleven geographical points of arrival and departure. From this transit lounge, you don't need a passport to fly. Eleven new years moving from 2009 to 2010, like a soliloquy on the waters of moonlit silence after Mozart's 42nd Symphony. Like Beethoven's Ode to Joy. Like Satyajit Ray's Pather Panchali  and Hermann Hesse's Siddhartha, and Andrie Tarkovsky's Sacrifice.

Life becoming cinema and daily life becoming adaily diary, the first morning of the new year becoming a zone of possibilities. As Che Guevara said, "Be a realist. Demand the impossible."

This story is from the print issue of Hardnews: JANUARY 2010