She showed me the way
- Vinay Kumar
June 29, 2016
Figuring out the definition of happiness can be a time consuming preoccupation for all of us in different stages of our life, though parameters for a happy existence can keep changing in time. But definitely we are bound to find an answer to this eternal question sometime in life, though how satisfactory the answer, is very subjective.
I think I have been blessed to find this very early in my life and I can only thank my mother Sara Joseph, for giving this insight to me at a very vulnerable point of my life.
I was fourteen at that time studying in the ninth standard. One day my father received a call from my school regarding the week-long absence of me in the school, and later my father found out that I had been bunking my classes in order to sit and watch the rehearsals of a local theatre group all throughout the day, and even working as their errand boy. My comrade father didn't believe in either beating me or abusing me; rather as a strategy, all that he had done was blame the state (read my mother) for my failure to pursue my studies. I was really expecting a violent rebuttal from my mother, but to my utter surprise all she asked me to do was to sit next to her and explain the situation.
A relieved me, went on an overdrive to animatedly describe the drama camp, the people in it, the actors, their costumes, the light technicians, the musicians, the smell of make-up and all their jokes, laughter… and so on. Seeing the palpable excitement in my face, she asked me only one thing, "Do you really love theatre?" and my response was in affirmative.
She told me to get ready to go to the city. She took me to the biggest bookstore in my town and bought me three books, 1). 1001 nights 2). World stories including King Arthur and The Knights of The Round Table and 3). The Count of Monte Cristo (even now I revise these books once in a year).
Above all this, all what matters is she taught me to be an idealist of one's own consciousness, and to not follow the beaten path. Having been a writer and activist throughout her life and action, she has shown me the way to do it.
Time and again though, I may differ from my mother's point of view on various subjects, but this singular rootedness that gives the idealism the paramount importance in one's own life is what shaped my art, my beliefs and even my life.
Vinay Kumar is a theatre actor and Managing Trustee and Artistic Director of Adishakti Laboratory for Theatre Arts & Research in Pondicherry. Adishakti also has a performing arts company engaged in creating performances, researching genres and disciplines and creating processes and performance methodologies.
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