Thursday, May 08, 2008

The Hams of Broadway

Somebody told me that I could not act. And ironically, that day, I feigned an innocent tardiness, while it spear struck me in real. I boomed into the middles and highs of a lengthless monologue at anybody and flopped in a Beckett silence under a dead tree that suddenly seemed to make sense.
The terrifying air on the lonely stage held me with its inactivity. I butted a palm onto my chest and heard it thudding death in a megaphone, awaiting the curtain bell.
A distant screech told me the show was about to start. And as the curtains rose and the sudden yellow halogens burst my eyes apart, I stammered blind. The play had begun.
Where was I? Did I want to be here? I didn’t ask to be. Here. Or anywhere. Now am awake; awake? Now what could that mean? Did it mean that right around now, everywhere in the world, there are people running about, minding their own businesses, procreating and crying for the dead? Or did it mean that the same rabbit people waited for the night to turn away from wakefulness? Rabbit people in a closed room. Man. Woman. Rabbits. Night. Rabbits. Children. Man. Woman. Morning. Rabbits. Run. Run.
I shut my ears and opened my eyes and I was still where I had always been. I vice-versaed the eyes and ears and I still hear the same silence of the place. The place. I shut my eyes and ears and flung my arms around; the same familiar air broke me into sweat; and the smells of the same people entered and re-entered me, like rabbit sex. Mechanical. Productive and yet unproductive. So as I run into another circle, I demand to know if I was going clockwise or not. Clockwise, said the wise man. Anti; said I. Did that mean that I was not wise? Did that mean that I was not a rabbit? That I was a dead bird in a smelly rabbit hole? I looked for my feathers. They seemed severed at birth, their reminders like unhealthy infected stubbles, waiting to grow out but never would. There were no wings. I was not a bird then? Or was I a bird in a cage?

Will you shut the fuck up?
Shut up.

The lonely man in the third row from front stared into my eyes, his shirt a terrible misery with dark Cs around his armpits. His hair slathered like a limp wig onto his wet scalp.

He was coming towards me. He cupped my face in a friendly embrace and said I was beautiful. Confused and rabbity, I felt lonely and crowded on the same clock. He said he was sorry that he had made me cry. A stranger apologized to me for life. I told him I wanted my legs. He carried me and promised to be my legs. Down a flight of stairs. And up again. I flung up the board that said the show was off for the day. I felt sorry for the other lonely man that sat in the fifth row from behind on other days. Where was he?

If only walking up an unlit flight of stairs were as easy as coming down a lit one, I would have prayed for the legs for it; legs that would have me sway in a spotlit dance, seemingly simplified by the lilting pings of drumstick on xylophone.
He carried me down to bed and dropped me down, as my legs bumped into the bedstead. Where had they come from? I realized that all the stage was a world. And as a failed actress, I refused to go back to it. Thank goodness I knew now. I am. A ham.


Praneeth Reddy said...

just beautiful arun. Congrats for getting shorlisted as well :) !

Arun Sethuraman said...

@praneeth:thanks man! :D read on!

Anonymous said...

Hey man !! Got your blog from one of your mails in Iowa State Group. It is simply amazing. Really. You have a charm in words. Something not what I get to read daily. Thanks for a wonderful read.


sap said...

sending sublimal messages, bitch! :P

Anonymous said...

You have to megalomaniacal even when talking of yourself as a sad actor! Aham I believe! :P

Arun Sethuraman said...

@sap: Ah well! :P
@jay: LOL! :D Modesty, you see! :P