January 24, 2003

Muddle

"Do you really love May?" Ellen asks Newland about his fiancee May in The Age of Innocence. He replies, "As much as a man can love someone". She asks again, "Have you ever seen the limit to which you can do that?". He just says "I do not think so". It is not a verbatim reproduction of the dialogues, so please do allow for the misquotes if there are any. But then it does not really matter, because we all make out things differently from the same that we all get to see. It is a beautiful movie, just flows from shot to shot, slow yet something to be savoured like sweet wine and one can be forgiven for forgetting at times that it is a period drama. But, when it comes to emotions does time really matter?

Often I have sat and wondered if I am not fooling myself saying all the same old things, lines that are delivered perfectly without any rehearsing. The plentiful two penny that settles any valuable deal. Every role becomes easier as you keep doing it over and over again. Somewhere along the way, from the awestruck and stage fright ridden novice to the accomplished actor at the fag end of his shelf life, the world turns on its head, the shadow of hope bids adieu from your footstep and every performance becomes just another number notched on the aging timber of memories. A lifetime is just another day to get by.

It is disturbing at first, to hear all and not be heard, to touch all and not be touched even when you desperately want to be. Slowly you get used to it, the shock gradually wears off and it becomes a way of life. It is rather hard to explain why it is so, but the spirit just gives up as time passes on. A lie, a fake smile, or anything else that helps the cause of diverting attention helps a long way in maintaining the frozen calm. Most of the time you do not know why you do the things that you do, even when you are fully aware of the consequences. Explanations are asked for, explanations are searched for, none is forthcoming. After a while you actually stop expecting the bus that would never arrive. Still you wait, because that is expected of you. Sometimes the truth is just a bunch of wild lies and therein lies the beauty of the whole concept. Is it a truth or is it a lie now?

A night in summer long ago
The stars were falling from the sky
And still, my heart, I have to know
Why do you love me, lady, why?
-- A night in summer long ago by Mark Knopfler