It pays to be in a place sometimes, where everyone knows everyone. The household blasted into roars of triumph when our siblings and I learned that Sorcar was a friend of a close associate of our father and we actually got invited to see the show lounging in the best seats of the auditorium, smack dab in the center of first row. When the show started with the curtain rising and a flood of disco lights and loud music, my heart thumped in resonance and excitement. It was a borderline over stimulation to my single digit nerves, but I was so engrossed in the world of magic that each and every frame of that evening etched into a perfection of memory on my impressionable mind.
Mr.Sorcar made a grand entry with all the crew in a gaudy sherwani, turban and exaggerated makeup. I probably stopped to blink while devouring all those visuals to a point where I still can recollect most of the two hour show in great detail. He placed a pot on one side of the dais and emptied it into a bigger tub at random intervals. "Oh, the water of India ' he would exclaim once in a while, jog to the side and empty the pot into the tub. Each time, the pot would be full - magically! - There was a grand finale where he performed the last act of his dad before he passed away and I felt fat tears dripping past my cheeks. But the one item that really made a permanent impression on me was the act where he called for volunteers on to the stage, blindfolded himself and made them write on a chalk board. He would respond appropriately to all writings, drawings and signs written on the chalk board with witty answers, and perfect doodles. When a young woman wrote "Alas he is dead" he wrote back with impeccable timing "Who? your boyfriend? " while the audience burst into peals of laughter. What really struck me was the speed and perfection with which he made drawings. He drew a caricature of himself around a little cross symbol one volunteer provided on the board.
Bang. The etching happened. I absorbed each visual with mechanical precision and came home and tried imitating him and thinking that I did quiet a good job drawing quickly like him. from that day, a part of P C Sorcar's speed of creating seeped and pooled permanently into my psyche. I started believing that everything creative had to be impromptu, free hand and fast as lightning. It delivered good results most of the times but when one is vying to be fast, there is a constant adrenaline rush that happens in the background, like you are competing with yourself in a rat race. I diligently did all my creations in first draft glory, be it a story,a poem, a painting or a drawing. Even when I cooked, I had a part of me that tried to do it fast...chop chop chop. Stir stir stir. Though there wasn't any outward evidence of my rush, I did it subconsciously and somehow, at the end of every creative endeavor I felt a shortness of creative breath, like I just stopped running. Sometimes, I looked back and convinced myself that my quick creations are how creativity is supposed to be - uncut, un thought and straight from the gut. Till I realized the after effects - sometimes a regret of not having done a specific part better or not having completely enjoyed the process of its creation.
This summer I cooked an elaborate meal as a part of some annual festivities. Just like Sorcar's magic, something clicked inside me when I started the process of preparing a buffet of nine time consuming dishes in one go. I relaxed, took a deep breath and concentrated on what I was doing than the process of being done with it. I finished my cooking in my usual record time, with zero physical or mental strain and then had some more energy left to move on to more creative projects during the course of the day. Suddenly what I learned almost a quarter century ago dissipated into an absolute calm and peace of the cathartic experience of doing the stuff that I enjoy and chose to do. Ironically, all these years, I refused to put the shackles of time, routine and daily grind on my life but I did in a very minuscule way, incorporate that very shackle into the little things I did. Perhaps I enjoyed that raw, unedited phase too, but now I feel a sudden calm and meditative experience settle into even the most gross and mundane things that I do on a daily basis like changing a diaper of carrying the trash out. Many thanks to Sorcar who gave me a moulding experience of my childhood years and to nature's own magic of ripening over time, I finally experienced it first hand, the fine line between knowing and understanding :-)
Photo - From my hotel window by the Westminster bridge - a partial view of the London eye :-) Summer of 2013