It was my first book launch and i had written the Autobiography of a very dear friend.
The Host of the event introduced
“This Book is based on the life and times of renowned novelist and philanthropist Mr Samarth Rao. The Author Karuna Mitra is an advocate and had been a very close friend and a huge admirer of his work. “ This book is the biography of and a tribute to the great artist “
I had no options left in my life after he suddenly left from my life without any prior warning and all i could think of was him.Some people leave their imprints on your mind.Their overall existence is so impactful that all we can think about is them
i was like meera who was completely smitten by Lord Krishna. I had surrendered my entire being to him. I could never think about any other man in my entire life after he rejected my proposal. He was an insane artist and his fundas of life were insane too
He believed in unrequited love without any expectations. He said that the moment the lovers agree that they are in love, expectations arise and love dies
But his words were true .Today even i believe that the Best form of love is when it is Unrequited
It is the purest form of love when you don’t expect someone to love you back
It needs lots of courage and patience to not expect them to love you
I was slightly nervous but i did address the audience
His picture walking away with his back turned to the world formed the cover of my book and the title read “Safarnama – The Dairy of a Journey ” .. I held the book up showing it to the audience and spoke
“His famous lines were – “
“An Artist is like the wind.breezing through the freeway “.” Free flowing, Unstoppable and Wild”.
“If you stop him and ask him to flow in a certain way. Restrict him by censoring his thoughts. He will be unable to flow at all”
“The Creativity is a natural process. Let the Artist be. Let him flow like a river, blow like the wind”
“He was my best friend. A Philosopher, An Amazing Story teller. His Dreamy eyes would always be analyzing some aspects of life and building up a creative story”
“We had grown up together.Right since childhood i knew that he was special.I was not the only girl in awe of his thought process. He had a huge female fan following “
“Through School and College he kept growing in life as a person and as a writer.
Once he started publishing his work . I realized that i had recognized his value most accurately”
“He had the midas touch. All the stories he wrote were bestseller and sold at-least million copies.”.”He showed the world how to live it up. He donated 80 percent of his income in charity and the rest he spent on himself buying the best luxuries possible. He had a big heart and he was fearless. His charismatic smile never left his face. He was an eternally happy being that loved being alive. His glorious humanity shined through him and radiated on to the lives of each and every person that crossed paths with him.”
There was a huge round of applause and just because his name was associated with it, my book was also going to be a bestseller. But i had not written this with the profit motive. I really wanted the world to know his story. I wanted the world to learn a lesson and change their mindset about certain things. They had forgotten their ghastly deed but there is a very old proverb that the Axe forgets but the tree remembers
I remember very fondly as if it just yesterday. I saw his first book on the shelf at the local store.it was a proud moment.It was titled “The Sedulous Girl” . My friend had become an author. Everyone i over heard were talking about his book, about his story and the twist at the end.
Sitting alone whenever i miss him his memories give me excellent company. They make me smile and laugh.. He would tell me all his stories much before they would be published.But he would narrate them to me like they were real incidents and then see if i was convinced by his lies. He enjoyed pulling that prank on the soft-hearted and naive me who believed in everything he said. I would have believed even if it was daytime and he had called it a night.Such was his impact on me. He was my hero.
I visit the orphanage very often that he donated his earnings to. He ensured that those kids got everything they needed. He knew the name of each child, He encouraged them to visit their creative side, he encouraged them to paint, sing, dance and pick up at least one form of art
He was creating a better world. Rubbing on his zest for life on those kids. When he played with them and made them laugh. When he narrated them his stories there would be a pin drop silence. I saw those faces lost in the beauty of the story that was being narrated with such tremendous skill that they were all in a different world of fantasy.
He had some morals at the end. He taught them tolerance, humanity and spreading smiles.
He was creating helpful and charismatic humans like himself. He was spreading humanity .
15 Years and 11 Major books later. He had become a very prominent name globally. He had been very versatile and had tried every different genre at least once. His Overall personality was awe worthy. His impeccable sharp wit and rational thinking made him a star of talk shows
My thoughts then recollect that he had a new muse that he was completely smitten by and he would even sketch her portrait and write songs for her
I had thought that he had finally fallen in love and i was expecting an epic love story in his real life. His insane fundas did not let that happen. The Wanderer that he was he could not give a commitment to her.
As soon as the muse started getting attached to the art and the artist. He set himself free.
The devastated girl had cursed him and cried her heart out. But he had been clear about his stand , he had never made any promises or commitments.
Separation with her did affect him and he wrote a few tragic love stories in her memory
As he was getting slightly older and whenever we discussed how life has been to us. we would realize that we were both in our forties and now it was time to change certain things.
He had made himself a fortune and now he wanted to write something he had never written.
He was such a Vagabond that one night a story idea stuck him and another morning he would be travelling to the place his story would be based.This time he had targeted Indian Mythology He travelled to each nook and corner of the country and collected all folk tales, mythologies and popular stories of India and compiled his own book around them
Everyday when he spoke to me from the place he visited i wrote my own version of his tales. i titled it Safarnama – The Diary of a Journey.. He told me a new story from the rich world of mythology and expressed his views on it. We discussed a lot on those lines. I still remember those enriching conversations.He had told me that he could actually feel those characters from mythology coming alive in those places.
In his book he connected the stories and showed how they affect the way we perceive things in today’s times. His central character had time travelled to the mythological world and spoke to the epic mythological characters on rational terms. His character had tried to redefine the misshapen in Mythology.. He had removed the god element from the stories and had taken them from a layman’s point of view He left his perspective on that story open for interpretation and discussion. He left many things ambiguous and when i read the first draft i was overwhelmed by the creativity.
I told him this was going to be his masterpiece
After the launch, the book did sell like hot cakes.The Elite club of book readers and reviewers gave a fantastic review to the book. They were left in awe of the man’s style of narration and his ability to connect those stories to today’s times.
The praise was short lived.. Religious tolerance is something that no religion teaches i guess. The Moment an artist turns slightly blasphemous, the religions caretakers start taking offence
The Sight was tragic. Books were being burned and his posters wore a black face.His effigies were burnt outside his house. The talk shows had people discussing and fighting
The Religious groups waited outside his house to pelt stones at him the moment he walked out.
His life was in great threat. That night i saw him break down. I saw him disappointed. All his adulation was over. He no longer had any fan following. It was just one book that had changed the course of his literary career.This was followed by a court case for hurting religious sentiments. The Policeman that came to arrest him was a very stern believer and he made sure he humiliated him and hence he started off by slapping him and then made him walk handcuffed through the busy street till the police station.
Why is it that your faith has the power to move mountains but it cannot stand the criticism from a creative writer and he is termed as blasphemous and insulted ?
Raja Ravi Verma had been an renowned painter in the 16th century and he had faced the same ordeal . However the British courts had then decided that art will not be judged by morality and hence he was set free at that time.
I used all my expertise as a lawyer to argue and made sure he won back his respect and dignity.The Same act of law worked for my hero too. I saw that enigmatic smile on his face when we won the case. That night he slept in my lap and professed his love for me.
I was teary eyed and i wanted to go berserk and crazy. It was like a dream come true for me. But i resisted myself. His words came flowing into my mind that the moment two lovers realize that they love each other, expectations arise and love dies. He may have felt it in that moment but i did not want this artist to stop flowing for me. He was way ahead of his times and he still had a long way to go.I declined his love, i told him it was too late in the day. I told him all my feelings for him had died a natural death. It takes courage to finally get all that you want but decline it from the fear of losing it again.
On One Sunday afternoon we were returning back from a book fair and he saw a jeep stuck in a manhole. He asked his driver to stop his car and he walked towards the jeep with his charming smile and asked “ Do you need any Help ?”
He had forgotten all the rage and atrocities but they had not forgotten anything
It was the same religious group that had burned his books ,effigies and posters
But he was like a child, he never held any regrets. He recognized them but still his smile remained undeterred. His faith in humanity unshaken.. He tried to make an effort to help them push the car out from the manhole.
But they had also recognized him.
The leader of the group wasted no time. He too had a smile on his face but that smile was of triumph. He had caught him unguarded and he could satisfy his rage and hatred for him without being stopped. He wanted the world to remember this as a lesson
He shot my eternally happy hero in the head at point blank range and shouted some slogans.
The world suddenly became non existent for me. I saw him falling flat on the floor
The Triumphant slogans continued. This was a victory for the religiously inclined but a big loss to humanity. He may have not been a very religious man but he was the best human being i had seen.I was in a state of shock keeping his blood smeared head in my lap. i keep staring at his smile.They even spit on his dead body while gathered people clicked pictures. He shrieked out loud that anyone that speaks against our gods and goddesses will face the same fate.
My Hero was an insane artist, he had just dared to think differently. Was it justified to kill a human being for just being blasphemous. i condemn such people that are so fanatic that they cannot tolerate a small point of view.He was a much better human being than most of the diabolical people who hide behind the mask of a good religious man.
I hope his story can inspire other rational thinkers. I hope his story can change the mindsets of a few fanatics. I wish they had seen that boyish charm of the childish man through his enigmatic smile. I am sure that even if god was present there at that moment he would have forgiven him for his small sin and embraced him for his other good deeds
© Jitendra Kotai