Tuesday, 10 February 2015

Documentary Diaries #9: In Love!

6th February 2015

I have come to realize that i don't know how to love. I only know how to feel. Love is a responsibility and i have nothing to do with that. But feel i do. I feel what i call love. Now i feel that with Florence, the protagonist of our documentary project. Strange, but true. It's our first and probably the last non-fiction project in the institute and no surprise that it is stranger than fiction and yet much like it.

Even without me realizing it, i was pursuing Florence. I was always in anticipation for a sight of her. This has happened only once in my life. With her. I went back to that time when i would stare at my phone for a long time awaiting her call. When it rung unexpectedly my heart would skip some beats. I would be scared to pick the phone but dying to as well.

When Florence started avoiding me ostensibly because she was busy with family matters, i started feeling the pain of rejection. I would dream of her every night. Every morning i would set out envisaging new ways to make her speak to me. I only wanted to speak to her. To listen to her. Documentary was no longer the purpose. Florence was.

Every day when i heard more and more people say awful stories about her i started liking her more. When her neighbour called her a second Elizabeth Tailor i liked her a bit more. When some others called her and her mother 'servants who usurped a respectable family's property', i liked her a bit more. When i was told that she had numerous affairs, that she was in control of the Bow Barracks thana (police station) and its inspector, i liked her a bit more. When she refused to speak with me from the third day i liked her a bit more. When i saw a glimpse of her and rushed to her and when she turned me down saying her aunt was hospitalized, i liked her a bit more.

On that day we spoke to the neighbours again. Spoke to a tailor shop owner nearby. Found out the address of the house owner. Tried to speak to Florence again but were told that she wasn't home. We waited. Nikki, Florence's brother-in-law told us that we were making a mistake by waiting for her. I didn't understand what he meant by that. Things were becoming more and more obscure. I couldn't figure Florence out a bit. She knew that i wasn't media. She could have backed off due to the fact that i spoke to her neighbours but then again that was also reason enough to speak with me. She wasn't angry. Was just tired whenever she spoke to me. Most of the people in the crew had started seeing her as a fraudulent woman. What she is, i still don't know. But i believed most of what she told me. Whenever we asked the employees and other family members where she was we would be told contradictory things. One would say she was at the hospital another that she was in court. Nikki once told me that he knew all that i wanted to know. But i didn't love Nikki. I loved Florence. So i wanted to listen only to her.

After waiting for a long time i saw her pass in front of the office. I had to get to her before she climbed upstairs. Upstairs was forbidden. I rushed to her with the sound equipment tugging along behind me. I couldn't see. I couldn't hear what she told me. I just kept on asking her why she was avoiding me. I think she mumbled something like 'don't be silly'. I don't know. She brushed me aside and rushed up the stairs. I went back to the chair in the office and sunk in. I couldn't move. It had to be love.

I had felt all this only with her earlier. If i got a vision of her or heard her voice i would just sink back in my chair and go blank for half an hour. That happened with Florence that day. I told D Jeet that it was enough that i saw Florence. I only wanted to keep seeing her at that point of time. And she only wanted to keep rejecting me.

She came out in some time. I again ran to her and asked her where she was going. She said her nephew was sick and that she was going to the hospital to see him. I asked her which hospital it was. She said it was a children's hospital near Bridge no.4. I remember touching her. My heart was in my mouth when i held her hand and requested her to call me when she was free. She was cold. She was obviously oblivious to my state of mind. She was oblivious to me myself.

I thought i could get her on camera, going to the hospital and coming out. D Jeet was already thinking of filming our attempts to make Florence speak with us. The elusive protagonist who deals with death. I wasn't for the idea, but i wanted to go to the hospital. I knew she wasn't lying even when D thought so.

We found out the children's hospital. Things went terribly wrong there. When she arrived and saw me along with Bee and Venky who were also holding cameras (D was hiding and filming) she must have got skeptical. Two of her friends came up to me and said that i was violating someone's privacy and that i was stalking. I felt like someone had slapped me. I was losing my senses for Florence and perhaps turning violent in my approach.

Even though following the character to the places they go to and people they talk with is quite common in any character based non-fiction project i hadn't thought that i would be called a stalker by someone. I had never done that in my life. The first time i spoke to her i had told her that we would be filming her throughout the day too. I couldn't understand why she was being hostile in certain spaces. That wasn't important. What was was that i was intruding into some space which she didn't want me in for some reason. I was as foolish as i could get.

We left to have food. I thought only of Florence.
We went to Park Street Cemetery to shoot some graves in case it was of some use.
Nothing worked. We shot a little of this and that and went back to the institute.

I was in love and i couldn't help it.
I was being rejected outright and i felt like dying.

Bow Barracks became a sacred space for me that day. In the evening when i saw an elderly woman sit on the doorway and smoke, dimly lit street and a bundle of stories stacked up inside her, i felt like crying. Prescilla was walking her dog. The Madeira cousin was calling Florence names. I looked at the woman for a long time and she looked at me. We didn't speak, but we knew we were both bodies of pain. Pain i could sense. In the month of February love was only pain.

Documentary Diaries#10: Rose Day

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