The first ray hits the fabric. The spectators settle in their assigned seats.
The pixels, each of different colours, find their respective place on the fabric. Each of the pixels, programmed and intermeshed, collaborate to form pre-decided familiar shapes. The pixels dance in sync dutifully, on the directions of the maestro above. Each teaming up with other multitudes of lights to form images, magically moving to curl up the lips to smile, to shed the hanging tear and to dilate the pupils to form the illusion of wonder. As the myriads of emotion play on its surface, the fabric comes alive.
The actors played out their characters. The story is a unfathomable mystery yet. It carries within its bosom, the possibilities to burat into a humorous comedy or spawn into a grieving tragedy or unravel an exciting odyssey. The dancing pixels fabricate emotions on the fabric which find resonance in the hearts of the audience. The tear is surreptitiously wiped, the laughter noisily shared and the excitement chewed along with the skin beneath the nail. As the story grips the fantasy, every subjective eye starts to live the life of the characters, coloured in the tinge of the beholders script.
The spectators fuse into the pixel, not only seeing the dance of the shapes, but become the shape itself. Each one identifying with the feelings which warmed up the screen. Each observing mind, merging with the thoughts and intent behind the actions of flat beings on the fabric.
The story eventually frenzied into the climax. It is a moment of judgment. One of the kings have to die, the black or the white. The colours stay loyal to the light as projected by the overhead unseen beam, irrespective to the effect it has on the beholding eyes. The presence or absence of the pixels form the opposites, thus evoking love or hate in the filtered eyes. The hackles on each neck is raised and the atmosphere is charged, baying for action. The emotions are no longer, just the projection by the maestro in the projection room…they are real. They burn the neural pathways urging the physical being to act. The hero fights for the cause as does the villain. The good and the bad is coloured by the beam of light. The hero triumphs over the villain. The pent up emotions of the crowd escape in a loud cheer. But the reel still whirs. There is still some story left.
It indeed is the dreaded tragedy. It was what the spectators dreaded, but somehow expected. The director of this motion picture is known only to make tragedies. Eventually, all lighter moments are lost from memory and just the miseries are remembered. The cheer of the heroic triumph is marred by the bleeding hero, fatally wounded in the ultimate duel. The villain lies slain, but the ebb of life drains off the hero too.
The bodies on the seats responds. They feel drained too. The lips curl, the eyes shed the tear and the pupils dilate in wonder. The two being are one, the flat beings on the screen and the flesh and blood on the seats.
Hero breaths the last in the arms of his love. His soul rising and disappearing beyond the limits of the screen. The story ends as the pixels freeze on the face of the hero’s love, staring in helpless grief. The maestro ceases the flow of light and fabric is lifeless again.
The spectators are stupefied by the drama, still wishing the fabric to come alive. To once again see the face of their love, they stay at their respective seats reluctant to let go of the illusion. The feelings still raw keep the bonds strong. Just one last look is all that they desired.
But the ushers of the cinema are on job to move these bodies out of this world of drama. There are others waiting in line to witness the drama once again. They are eager to see the same ‘fabric’, once again, come Alive.
The admit cards, the passport size picture and the government approved ID were checked before we got into the car. These, at least would get us into the ring. The ingredient to crack the bout was presumed to be stacked in the nearest location on the RAM in the CPU of the brain for quick retrieval at the time of need.
The Google map showed a drive of 26 minutes, after its artificial intelligence consulted many more Google map users who were on the same route. Many more travelers, travelling with the same aspirations and similar apprehensions.
The FM radio employed songs of Kishore Kumar to sooth the frayed nerves. No one talked, as the soulful voice traveled across the time bridge connecting the 70s to the last of the teens of the 22nd century. As the RJ broke the spell, I realised we were not even hearing the song. We were engrossed in our own thoughts. The mind had moved ahead, pacing the unformed future.
Quite, was not the state of existence which was habitable for Anjali. She initiated the conversation, prempting my urge to revise the chemical equations and the mathematical formulae. We, instead talked of the many tips trending on the Internet, on how to crack the exam. I wondered, if there was a correlation between the people who made those blogs or the people who visited those sites with their pass results. But I guess it wasn’t something that would get a favourable result. Also, I wanted to impart the wisdom, of how it was more important to be well prepared than to rely on these ‘tricks of the trade’. But I guess our Arjun wasn’t keen on the Gita discourse while traveling towards the battle for future life.
The trip was spent laughing on anecdotes of people preparing for the battle and the pragmatism of the tips. The light heartedness was something each of us clung to. However, the upbeat mood eventually submitted to the inescapable law of “All good things must come to an end”. The gloom was thick as we cramped into the viscous traffic jam. Moving slowly through the sludge like a suspended impurity in a dense solute. As we inched closer to the collosium we could see the anxious gladiators sharpening their weapons through well thumbed notes of an year long accumulated knowledge. The anxiety spilling over to their guardians. The gloom also turned the green lights into red.
The futility of travel by the wheels was evident but people were unwilling to let go. We decided otherwise. We broke out of the conveyer belt and parked our car in a small bylane. We walked past the snail paced line of vehicles, each capable of greater potential but stuck in the rut with the bonnets cramped into the bumper ahead.
We reached the entry of the battle zone. The lines converged at the first check point. Thats where the support staff of parents, tutors and some accompanying fairy god mothers had to let go of their wards. That’s where the gladiators had to move on, into the battle space armed only with the knowledge in their minds and the mandatory material things that would ensure their entry. Now they milled together and forged ahead as one mass.
Parents were moving on to higher grounds to have one last look at their wards before they entered the arena. We were not to be left behind as we jostled competitively to find the best viewing site.
Ah!! We were in time to see our daughter emerge from the first check point victoriously. We were about to shout out to her, when we saw her making animated conversation with other co-participants of the race. Making friends with a complete strangers, related only by similar aspirations and apprehensions. There she was, sharing the infectious laughter she is blessed with. There she was, helping the other just-formed-friend, with the forms and the documents. Then, before we could shout out to her, they entered the arena together. We did not shout out her name. We just watched with a knowing smile on our lips.
The result of this exam was still somewhere in the future.
But we were happy she had already cracked the exam.
Chanted the revolutionaries as they marched resolutely against the oppressors.
…And one day they were free.
That should be the end, isn’t it? But then it is not. Its a new order. But it still isn’t free. Freedom is elusive. They could not find it. They continue their struggle.
Did they really want to be free? Do YOU want to be free? Do I want to be free?
What do I seek? What is freedom?
Freedom, for me. is to do what I want to to do, whenever I want. Freedom also means that, nobody should restricts me from doing what I want to do, whenever I want to do. Therefore freedom is also equally a restriction on others so that I can be free.
Freedom is unrestricted thought and action. Freedom would mean no boundaries and limits.
Now close your eyes and think about the space completely limitless. Space with no boundaries in either direction. With no base. Yes no base!! Wouldn’t that be a boundary too? Now think of moving around in this space (I guess calling it ‘this’ space itself will be a curb on freedom). As one closes his/her eyes, the hand would instinctively go to feel the walls to walk along, a railing to place the trust on. We want to hold on to something. Cling to the certainties of boundaries.
Yes, lets face it we are clingy as a species, as a life form. Possibly this clingy aspect of ours, is the factor which has been our survival. Clinging to the land as we evolved from the hunters and gatherers to the farmers. Clinging to groups of faiths as we tread on a path with no boundaries in search of the primordial question of ‘Who am I’?
We evolved in the quest of freeing ourselves from each initial state, only to find ourselves seeking the next state of certainty as we confront the limitless uncertainty of freedom.
Deep in our hearts we want to cling to rules. We collectively agree the best ways of living which is nearest to our imagined state of freedom. Each person exerting the his own way of thinking of being free. Thus in turn creating boundaries which the other person is not expected expected to cross to allow you, the ‘my’ freedom. These boundaries jostle with each other unseen, as the beings inside the bubble pretend to be free. Gradually, the bubble are settle in a tight matrix of other bubbles encasing other free beings. This pattern of matrix now defines the set of rules which define the collective sense of freedom. These agreed pattern is defined as the culture. The rules are the ethics we bind ourselves as a compromise to be nearest to the state of imagined freedom. Each being defined in a set of parameters and predictable behaviour to maintain the harmony. The rules get edified as the Dharma. Each individual set of rule based on individual set of tendencies. Each set of tendencies expressing themselves to define the limits of the bubble trying to derive definition of free living. Each finding its place in the matrix wearing the warm cloak of certainty hiding the hideous inside fabric of submissiveness. The allure of submission leading to hierarchies and skewed privileges which form the seeds for the next set of struggle to seek the illusive freedom.
Therefore we want to remain in a paradox. Wanting to be slaves as we seek the next set of parameters, next set of boundaries for Freedom. Indulging in a continuous and unending cycle of struggle.
This set piece, remains the next state of freedom, existing and surviving only till the time it starts to suffocate the beings inside. Or when the beings realise the illusion of freedom inside the bubble of existence within the cramped matrix.
Till the time the being inside once again starts to seeks answers to the initial and eternal question – “Who am I?
The beginning of the end of this struggle is when we actually get that answer of ‘Who’ wants to be free. And possibly it ends with the deeper understanding that we are actually ‘limitless’…therefore free.