Sunday, 15 March 2015

Documentary Diaries #16: A Vision called Florence

On Ides of March the newspaper person was late. I asked Sethuvamma to get a copy of the Telegraph to confirm if there was a funeral that day. There was. Florence had, on the previous day, told me that one of her aunts had passed away and that she wouldn't be able to meet me since she had to attend the funeral. That was why i wanted  to know if there was a burial and where it was going to be. Internment at Lower Circular cemetery, told the newspaper.

I went to my dear google and found out that i would have to get off at Park Street metro station. I thought it would be better if Sethuvamma came with me. D Jeet was away on a shoot. Sethuvamma could put in some grown up quality around me. If you didn't look very old people took you a little less seriously. Pertinent problem of aspiring film makers. Lack of the look.

We left the institute around 2.30 p.m. The internment was at 3.30 p.m. By kolkatan ways it wouldn't happen till four. Yet i started panicking when the metro failed to move for an unusually long time from Kavi Subhash station. We reached Park Street just in time to take a cab to the cemetery. Only we didn't know where it was. I didn't have balance on my phone to check it online. When i said the name of the road a taxi driver seemed to know it. We jumped in. Only he was pretending. He neither knew where the road was nor the cemetery. After asking the way to several people we managed to reach Lower Circular road. There was no cemetery there, the shopkeepers told us.

Sethuvamma got in action. She called the pastor of the church she was going to here. Yes, believers do that when they stay at a place for a long time. Came quite handy, i must say. The pastor told us that the cemetery we were looking for was at Mallick Bazar. Another cab and some 'thoda tez chalao dada's later [faster! faster! to the driver] we reached the cemetery to see a lot of people in black. Prayers were being said. I started looking for Florence's face among the people. I couldn't find her. My heart sunk.

We stayed for a little longer till the coffin was taken to the grave. Even though i was upset that Florence was there i felt a strange happiness in attending funerals of people i had nothing to do with. I asked to one of the family where the body was kept. They said it was at Peace Haven, the other undertakers in the city. [The previous week Mamata Banerjee had inaugurated yet another one. There were three in the city now] That meant that the Madeiras had nothing to do with the dead.

We returned to Esplanade. I wanted to be alone. I asked Sethuvamma to take a metro back. She was reluctant. I was melancholic. I walked around New Market with a blank mind. When i reached the metro station again i sat down near a lamp post and decided to try once again. I texted Florence asking if i could meet her and saying it was urgent. While i sat there Sethuvamma called me to say that she hadn't left and wanted to hang around the place with me. I said okay. We then tried finding each other. We were at two different gates of the metro station. While asking her for landmarks near where she stood the call got cut and i saw a little letter of happiness in my phone. 'K'. I hated it when people wrote 'k' for ok or okay. But this time i loved it. That was Florence's reply. She was ready to meet me. It was too good to be true. I asked her where i should be and she said 'Mother House' in AJC Bose road. Mother House it was. I took a look at my wallet to see if i had money for a cab. I had. I asked Sethuvamma to wait and jumped in the first cab which stopped.

At Mother House an elderly lady greeted me with a smile and led me in. 'Seek mother's blessings' she told me. I royally ignored all the nuns and started inspecting all rooms. There was no Florence. I went out and was about to sit at another lamp post when the woman who led me in asked me if i had come looking for someone. I nodded like a wound toy. She pointed towards the door. I don't remember walking. I spotted her car and floated there. There she was, like a vision. She was smiling. I was still floating.

I lied through my teeth. I was a liar first and then a film student. I told her that the film had been selected to compete for a national award. The only problem with the film was that it didn't have her interview in it. She said that she was hurt by the way i had behaved. She felt that her privacy was violated. I apologized and said that i thought that was part of my work. I shouldn't have done that. When i said i wanted her to watch it with me she said that she wanted to watch it with family. Family it was. I asked her what if she felt that the film was bad and refused to give me her interview. She smiled like how she smiled the first time i saw her. She said that once she became friends with a person she was unstoppable. A fireball ran up my chest. I promised to give her the film the next day. We said goodbye.

I said hi to my life which i saw peep out from a corner in A J C Bose road. There was only one happy woman in the whole of Kolkata then and that was me. I walked roads which i didn't know. I saw a tram and jumped in and asked them to take me to Esplanade. They said it didn't go there. I asked them to take me where it went. They asked me to get out and i did happily. I hopped into an auto which went to Esplanade. I asked Sethuvamma to wait at Nahoum's. I floated there and laughed when i saw her. I laughed when she said that Nahoum's was shut. Laughed when she complained about the unhygienic kulfi shop i took her to. She had kulfi for the first time. We bought a lens frame. I had a lot of Florence Madeira to see with my myopic astigmatic eyes. When we walked back to the metro station i saw this building. There were colours around me. Inside me was a film.

I smiled like an imbecile all the way home.

Documentary Diaries #17: Typing...

1 comment:

  1. last u met her ! thank god......tension was more than watching Italian job's car chase