Another hero dies and takes away with him a part of me.
As I read the news of Mario Miranda, one of my favourite cartoonists pass away, I cannot help but wonder what conspiracy is afoot. The last couple of months have witnessed the loss of people who are an indispensable part of my growing years, an inspiration to my creative spirit and to say the least, a companion to an entire generation. Jagjit Singh, Bhupen Hazarika, Dev Anand, Uncle Pai and now Mario Miranda.
Each demise was like a pebble thrown in a placid lake, disturbing the comfort zone I was living in. I realized, death has a knack of stirring memories that often sit quietly in a corner of the subconscious mind.
I recollect picking a cassette of Jagjit Singh’s album from didi’s huge music library and listening to the heavy vocabulary just to feel her presence around. I never thought the same songs that once so bore me would become a point of connection and comfort me after didi got married. Surely, when she left, I lost a companion, but in listening to her favourite singer, I found another.
I remember how every outstation trip meant picking a Tinkle from Wheelers on the railway station. The tales of Suppandi, Shikari Shambhu, Tantri the mantri along with the riddles and puzzles made for such a joyous journey. All thanks to Uncle Pai. And then, sometime in school I discovered Mario Miranda. I actually gave cartooning a shot after I saw Mr. Miranda’s distinctive style put to best use in a full page ad. The cutting of that page is neatly tucked away in one of my diaries.
And for a nation obsessed with cinema, how could you miss a legend like Dev Anand. Though remembered jokingly for his slouch and bobbing head, Dev Anand impressed me as a person whose spirit was undaunted by age. Add to it some of the most unforgettable songs from his films that continue to cheer me up on a bad day.
Not having these people, who shaped my sensibility in one way or another, is like losing a part of me that was so intricately attached to their body of work. It creates a vacuum that is difficult to fill.
In the words of Santosh Desai, “When people who make us who we are die, we grieve as much for ourselves as we do for them.”
A tear is shed and life goes on. Though deep within you know, it’s not like before.