R S Prasanna

Spam that tries to be literature.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Let's hear it for this man

"I finally, officially announce that I give up. Where can one go on digging for energy? The well has dried up. R.I.P me.

For any artiste to perform, he must first love the stage. That's when he was an audience himself. He would look up at the stage and then want to get on to the place himself. Then comes the stage where he must love... no, care... at least not detest whole heartedly his audience.

I have reached that stage now. I hate humans. I cannot stand the sight of them. Even the sight of them shrouded in the darkness of an auditorium.

I do not care to perform to them anymore."

The curious thing about the letter was that it was found on the body of an unknown actor. It took the Inspector two days to work out that the actor belonged to a leading theatre group in Chennai, and the lad was to have made his stage debut in the Hindu Theatre Fest, opening just a day after his death.

Strange the ways of men, thought the inspector. Stranger still those men who proclaim to be performers.

The inspector folded the letter and kept it carefully back in the plastic bag marked 'Do not Touch - Forensic Evidence.' The inspector had touched, and his finger print was firmly embedded on the letter; only the latest layer added to a long list of finger prints right up the chain of command. From the constable to now him. So much for Forensic Quarantine procedures. Anyway it would be a miracle if the letter survived the 10 years it would take for the damn case to appear before the sweating, frustrated law at the Chennai High Court, Parry's Corner.

If he had bothered to read the words on the back side of the letter, it may not have helped him all that much in knowing why the young actor committed suicide. He would only know how he did it.

"So here I am. I shall die the way I always imagined I would die on stage. I have narrated the long Tamil speech that Socrates gives - yes, I grew up watching Shivaji Ganeshan as Socrates - and have accepted the cup of poison, knowing very well it shall suck my life out of me. And I wait.

It is as majestic a death as any actor can ever dream of. The only light on my performance comes from the dim, flickering light of the street lamp leaking through my tin sheeted window. The only music is the howling of the horny dog in the mid night moon shine. My only audience is the darkness in front of me.

I care not for any human anymore. I hate this world. I cannot act to entertain this vile sewage of compost that is the collective consciousness of human today.

To hell with the heroic in man. It is a delusion, a lie to be told to kids to help them grow out of child hood. A rope thrown into the well to pull out a drowning man, only to show him that all the land above is filled with blood thirsty monsters, evil cesspools and rapists on prowl. Some may choose to jump back into the well. But most often the well of childhood is sealed forever. I do not know that somebody. I have lost hope that I would ever find such men.

I choose the alternative of Socrates' Reward. The reward given to the greatest intellect by the men who he hoped to elevate.

Thanks. So long, farewell. May God curse you.

R.I.P. Me."

The inspector did not read this second part. The letter lay in the Forensic Evidence bag.

The body lay half rotting that night in the government morgue. The electricity had died down that night and the generators had not kicked in as they were supposed to. By the time they had been attended to, a good three hours was lost.

Narendran died an anonymous actor.

Let's hear it for this man, gentlemen.


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