One more dawn
A pot brimful of the sun
emerged in the distant water
holding the dawn’s finger
walked across the water
returning to yet another horizon.
Like some comet hidden behind in the mystery of time,
You came from the cosmos and returned to it.
(From the poem ‘Like A pot Brimful the Sun Upturned’ by Gulzar)
As the earth continues to spin and revolve around the sun, the circle of life and death also continues to spin. Death come to all. And as the saying goes, “the tragedy of life is not death, but what we let die inside us when we live”.
But what if early death is looked at romantically? Poets lament about the death of love, the end of romance in the eyes of their lover and the demise of emotions in their hearts.
Some of the most talented and brilliant artists, like Amy Winehouse, Heath Ledger, Paul Walker, Janis Joplin, James Dean, Mozart, Smita Patil and the romantic poet John Keats died very young, with most of them never reaching 30 years of age.
Is there something romantic about their deaths?
Each one of them were a power house of talent, leaving a legacy of either iconic music, marvellous movies, heart stirring poetry or magical music. In the short span of time that they resided among us, they experienced fame and adulation that most of us may never experience even if we live to be septuagenarians.
They will forever be etched in our memories in their youthful versions, remembered for their accomplishments and their glory. We will never see them grow old or decay.
Do their early deaths not make them more iconic?
In between the Oscar or Emmy award ceremonies we see a set of images of people who left the earth that year. In there are numerous faces of individuals in their 70-80’s. Do I recognise them? No. I am sure they were iconic stars of their time, but relatively unknown to us today.
But somehow James Dean is a name I recognize among so many of his contemporaries. Did his early death not immortalize him?
And does not an iconic death seem fitting for a life as illustrious as theirs ?
All of them were also creators. And as with every creative pursuit, it demanded a piece of their soul as is evident in their creations. Their work also laid bare the pain, the despair and the sadness that might have been housed inside of them and ultimately pushed them towards early deaths. In many ways as this poem by Gulzar says, they selected the cages they wanted to enter, choosing them by will and voluntarily seeking captivity.
Kayi Pinjaraon ka Kedi hun,
Kayi Pinjaraon mein basta hun,
Mujhe Bhaata hai kenden katana
Aur apni marzi se chunaav karte rehna
Apne Pinjaraon ka
Miyaadein teh nahi karta main rishtaon ki
Asiri dhundhata hun main
Asiri acchi lagti hai.
I am a Prisoner of many cages
I live in many cages
I like to be incarcerated
And to keep on choosing, by my own sweet will
My various prisons
I do not fix the length of my relationships
I seek imprisonment
I like to be a captive.
Maybe each one of them was a shooting star, bright and powerful, flying with gusto across the starry night, as we watched aghast at their rise and then just disappeared into the darkness of the universe, leaving behind a testament….
Dhup Ka Purza- Gulzar
Shaam ka suraj jate jate
Darwaze ke niche se
Dhup ka ek choota sa purza phek gaya hai
Kal aaoon nishisht toh nahi hai
Lekin is mamoore mein
Aaj ka din bhi ji paaye tum
Yeh parchi rakh jata hoon
Ki Sanad rahe!
A Piece of the Sun- Pavan K Verma
The sun as it sets
Has flung from under the door
A small chit of sunshine;
Whether I return tomorrow is not certain
But if you have managed
In this waste-yard
To live for this one day more
I leave behind this chit
As a testament!