Literary Yard

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Dilettante’s delight: A date to remember

By : Jeshtha Kamra


A man there was,

Not understood by many.

His friends were superfluous,

If he had any,

Levitas his principle,

Pleasure his aim,

Neither guilt existed for him

Nor shame.

I may not know the science of social superiority or drooling intelligentsia and the choices that I make in my real life may appear like a matter of misplaced curiosity but if I get to dine with the people who have had the most influential influence on me, I have my choices crystal clear.

A man who lives up to my definition of a libertine, the independent and the uncompromising filmmaker who tells stories in his own unparalleled way – Jim Jarmusch. I cannot claim that I know about him all that can be known by an avid follower since I am not a movie buff but yes I have seen and read most of his oeuvres, which speaks volumes about his personality. I think he is the conjuror of a new cinematic language, bringing out the idiosyncrasies of a human being in a very beautiful way. He emphasizes the mood and the texture above everything, carving the most contemplative and brooding characters out of a common man, also the most captivating cinema out of shoestring budgets. What else one could ask for!

While watching his movies, I feel nostalgia for my half – forgotten habits. Admiring his acquired taste for self – analysis I get a thought just once in my life I should meet him and ask his secrets, how he can insinuate into the human psyche so damn well.

This 57 years old filmmaker, still young and unconventional sets in a perfect example of sharp wit and dark humour.

Out of all his films, the three that left an indelible mark on my mind are – Dead man (a Johnny Depp starrer) you can’t resist it now, can you? and his deadly associations with the poet William Blake, Coffee & Cigarettes ( a collection of eleven short conversations between strange people over a cup of coffee and coffin nails in their hands) and the last one is Broken flowers ( in which a man faces his errors of the past and possibilities of the future).

Ah, I am dying to meet him! The way he reads people and brings out the personas on screen , I think I would see him during a midlife crisis rather that a shrink! It would be a pleasure to have an informal meeting with this striking minimalist and know a little about his personal life.

Now that I have all the freedom to dine with the best people in the world, I assume that I even have the privilege to bring someone back from heaven. A lady who should be worshipped by every passionate person living on this earth, the virtuoso who has given new dimensions to the field of writing, the creator of objectivism, my lady love – Ayn Rand.

She is the breaker of the myth that philosophy is boring to explore, if you read her, nothing could be more interesting and real than philosophy. To some people she might be an embodiment of excessive narcissism and selfishness but to me she teaches that the only social system consistent with the word morality is full respect for individual rights. Now if you are having a thought that am presenting the crass reality in refined words, I have all the rights!

She treats man as an end and means to everything, his achievement, his reasons and his happiness are to be held above everything. And this thought is prevalent in most of her writings.

I read the two gems – Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged (two of her most famous works) when I was seventeen, and it changed me forever. So are you ready to experience the new you, rather I should ask the true you?

It won’t be an overstatement if I say that one should read The Anthem instead of the religious cult books to live in the so coveted Age of Reason. To be honest, one dinner won’t be enough to dig in a lady as deep as her. If a genie can grant my wish, just one wish, I want myself to be born as a daughter to this lady so that I can get some part of the values imbibed in her.

I think am sounding like an over demanding baby now! I cut it.

Heading on to my third guest, another maven writer and a painter, whose whole existence revolves around discovering one’s own self by experiencing every little detail of this carnal world, not by withdrawing oneself and meditating in a shell – Hermann Hesse. Withdrawal would be something next to doomed existence. The only way to the Promised Land is to let yourself experience and learn from everything you see around.

One thing that intrigues me about him is that being a German author, he touches many of Indian concepts related to spirituality. Through this only one gets an idea of desperate need within him to grow, to learn and reach the pinnacle of contentment.

This makes up the deadly trio for me-Forceful yet resigned. Brilliant yet subdued. Ironically, easy to find but are unfound! Am I actually going to meet them?

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