Short Stories >> Bhoori >> The Search (Talaash)
Written By: Smt.Sundri Uttamchandani
The film shooting has stopped and the disturbance that had gathered in the mind has also ended. The demons arose in my mind when the actors were enacting in front of the camera, under the bright lights; how much noise they had created in my mind... Oh I had screamed so much... 'stop it, stop it...' I had tried to drive away the demons by shouting but all these people ran away instead; the entire set is deserted, empty and sad...
There are Buddhists temples only a few miles away from the city... They are ruins but reminders of the infinite search... I wanted to shoot my film there only.
My entire unit was the guest of the village landlord. The widowed daughter-in-law of the landlord came and opened the door of the bunglow... My mind gave out a shout... Here is the fulfillment... The end of a search of many lives...
The cold hands of the widow were watering the plants early in the morning... A strange sight of beauty... A whit lotus amidst greenery!
I plucked small white flowers and placed them at her feet.
Her innocent round eyes became bright as sunflowers, she said, "I'm not a goddess. I am Ganga".
I said, "That is why a salute to purity along with beauty".
Ganga, said "water..." I place my palm at my mouth. The water flowed from a silver jug and nectar flowed into my eyes from the depth of her eyes...
Ganga, "Oh..." the water in the jug was over but, the nectar...! She went away. My mind lost its peace totally.
After three days, completing the shoot, with a defeated feeling as I was getting my luggage packed by servants, she walked in with a plate of sweets.
Ganga said, "Have some prasad.While growing up, I have been reading many religious scriptures…but nowhere have I found any mention of respect for a woman like me".
I said, "Oh!"
Ganga, "For the first time, receiving a gift of flowers... my mind has got into a strange confusion".
I took the pooja plate from her hands, and touching it to my eyes, I asked her to sit on the bed. The sunflowers were blooming as ever. "The woman monk is always in search of the Buddha". Looking at you playing the role of the Buddha my mind said "This is the god who will understand my questions..."
I said, "What are the questions goddess... It is one thing to play the role of a Buddha and quite another to actually become a Buddha. There is only one thing that this mind is as restless as the mind of the Buddha and is ever active in search of fulfillment..."
Ganga, "I don't agree."
I said, "On what basis?"
Ganga, "I have overheard you sharing your heart with someone. You were saying that the knowledge you have earned after continuous penance for the arts, you wished to give back to humanity..."
I said, "Did you hear anything else too goddess?"
Ganga said "I had heard... That if a lady like Ganga could act on the screen, breaking all fetters of human culture then she would fill the entire with happiness..."
I said, "What about your questions?"
Ganga, "I have read many books but even then my mind and wisdom are restless for their evolvement... Why?"
"Ganga" suddenly somebody calls from a distance and she went away with frightened eyes and quick steps. It was good because I had no answer to her question. Who else can answer such a question!
With a heavy heart and a picture of this goddess in my eyes, I reached my destination along with my group time in no time.
I thought I had met a flying bird like myself who is also eager for fulfillment but it remained incomplete like a dream.
Suddenly one day the dream came true. She was standing there...conscious...tender... with an aura... blissful. I don't know what melody began arising. I was only conscious that she was sitting at my feet, picking the dust and applying it on her forehead. Pulling her black bordered cotton sari palu she said, "It was difficult to break free from the fetters of society and religion... But I have come, breaking all fetters, to help you to share your knowledge obtained through penance".
I said, "But..."
Ganga, "I've closed all back doors. If there obstacles to reach my goal ahead then I would have to finish myself".
A restless mind met another restless mind and felt fulfillment. Ganga started acting in my films. The world was so happy with her art that she became known everywhere. Ganga, a small town girl, turned into a heartbeat for many people around the world.Ganga was fulfilled and would be false to say that I wasn't fulfilled by loving her and being devoted to her.
One night I asked her, "Ganga, are you repenting having come here?"
Ganga, "What a question are you asking Swami? Does the river repent when it meets the ocean and becomes vast?"
I said, "Oh.But the river loses its own separate identity".
Ganga, "But loses it in what? Not in a murky stream, but in an ocean…the same ocean that heats itself from the Sun and turns into clouds and showers its happiness on the whole humanity".
I said, "You are great Goddess! Your trust, your penance has is brightening up every particle of my mind!"
Ganga, "And me? I am thinking that I have become a spectacle which fills everyone who looks at it, with a feeling of spiritual bliss".
I said, "So much happiness and so much bliss..."
But how it all changed one day… A harsh winter night... Ganga was playing the role of Abhsarka (Vamp). The shoot was on. Young and handsome hero Sadanand was carrying the cold bodied Ganga and laying her on a bed of flowers. For a moment he felt her rosy lips... or was it my illusion…But happened within me! From where did this fire begin... My entire started sweating and the earth slipped under my feet...! There was a battle of Mahabharat within my mind...
...Stop this... Stop this shooting...the entire atmosphere echoed my screams. I was panting. I experienced a shooting pain in my chest...Doctor...doctor... Ganga left everything and came towards me. She helped me, put me in the car and brought me home...
Ganga, "What happened...?"
I said, "Nothing".
How can anyone share such a battle with somebody...?
Ganga sat beside me the full night, putting ice strips on my forehead. The fragrance from her flowers in her hair and hands intoxicated me. The vibrations from her body were lighting my entire being. Her rosy lips were on my eyes...
Ganga said, "Swami, what happened to you?"
I pulled her towards my chest and embracing her I said, "You are mine, O fulfillment. Only mine".
Ganga, "Yes, I am yours totally. As much as you are mine!"
The thirsty mind was fulfilled with a drop. The mind started slipping and was on the verge of drowning.
But this call from the beyond...
Ganga, "You call me fulfillment".
I said, "Yes Ganga, You are my fulfillment, infinite bliss".
Ganga, "No Swami!"
I said, "Oh who is this Charioteer who has dragged my chariot into the battlefield!"
Ganga, "Swami, fulfillment is not the destination?"
I said, "Then why have I become so restless?"
She answered, "Fulfillment is like parallel train tracks. Although they are together but their meeting is an illusion!"
I said, "Then what is the truth Ganga?"
Ganga said, "The truth is the search. The search which is infinite and does not end anywhere..." She threw a moonlight glance at me and went out of the room. I had misunderstood and imagined this light to be a woman.
But there was a battle being fought within my mind the whole night... In the morning I experience a defeat of my desire to consider APSARKA (Vamp) as fulfillment and the mistake of considering it as property.
APSARKA (Vamp) is not fulfillment. It is not even property. It is an infinite being that has a mind. A mind that is restless and is always in search of fulfillment.
- Translated by Arun Babani