A dialogue on a phone | Daily News


A dialogue on a phone

Being a creative artiste, I consider myself lucky to have a friend like Sidath. A very well known filmmaker himself and I have been friends for at least 30 odd years. We have had our fair share on many facets, be it political or creative works and cinematic art or filmmaking. Together we managed to win the country’s academy award for the best creative work ten years ago. He often called cinematic art is pivotal to change the public opinion for a better and skilled society. That may have an element of truth, but I am not going to extend that. Lately I have not had much of a chance to see him. I may be missing him but why do I miss him and if so, why couldn’t I talk to him, all these questions embedded and teased my mind like a thunderstorm swarming across through a jungle. Ring ring – there goes my mobile phone. It’s late at night almost closer to midnight and I wonder who that might be. ‘Oh, well! Get a life you poor soul, I can’t be bothered to pick it up now. If you need me just leave a message, I’ll get back to you later’ I muttered to myself.

But it kept ringing. I had no alternative. I looked at the face of the phone ‘Incoming call - Sidath Nananayakkara – researcher in cinema’. What a surprise! Am I dreaming? I could not believe what I see on the screen of the phone. It has been many years since I last had a chat with the fellow.

‘Hello Sidath!’ I picked up the phone and started chatting.

‘Hello Asitha! Sorry to trouble you at this time of the night. I’m sure you must imagining your next plot while in dreams. But, seriously, I need a creative plot for my cinema students in the campus. Who else can I think other than you my dear. Can we meet up for a drink tomorrow evening at the university union club and discuss about that?’ Sidath kept at it.

‘Ok sure, I’ll be over there, no worries’ I replied.

‘Make sure, you keep your ideas propagating for the plot OK, don’t let your Edgar Alan Poe dominating. I want some realistic stuff, not a ‘raven’. It’ll be a great time to discuss after our successful attempt 10 years ago, remember that?’ – Sidath laughed and reminded our previous success.

‘Sure, I think beside talking Edgar Allan Poe we can have a chit chat as we have much to catch up’, I retorted.

‘Of course, Asitha, thanks, see you tomorrow, bye’ Sidath hang up.

It was a very welcome phone call. Perhaps this could be our next attempt for the Academy award with the students.

These youngsters yearn for performing art as they have plenty of knowledge and talent to offer. Nevertheless, without thinking too much I went to bed looking forward to seeing Sidath the following evening.

As planned, I arrived at the union club to meet Sidath. ‘Hello Asitha, how good to see you after a long time. How are things? What are you doing these days?’

‘In a changing world we need to change our views. That does not mean changing views for the survival or the onslaught.

However, the onslaught sometimes wins leaving us behind, Hmm that is not an easy thing to face,’ I replied. Then we were quiet for a moment engrossed in our own imaginations.

‘What are you thinking? Are you contesting for the senate?’ – Sidath broke the silence.

‘No, no, I was just thinking what we are going to discuss today for your experimental studies’ I responded.

While heavily engrossed in our own mindsets Sidath and I walked down to the union counter and got two pints of larger and returned to a spacious sofa adjacent to a painting of van Gogh hanging as to disseminate a message for our chat. I stared at the painting for a moment. ‘I always like to see how his bedroom was arranged?’ I wanted to start a conversation. ‘Asitha, you still live in your cocoon.

What about his bedroom? Sidath retorted. ‘His painting, ‘the bedroom’ is one of the rare pieces of art, and it still lingers as if a new creative work, don’t you think? I asked him.

‘What’s so rare about it, it reflects his depressive mindset towards the world and what is new about that?’ Sidath went on about it. ‘Hmm, I think I got your point, I think that is exactly what you need to plot on your new creative piece of work for the experimental work.

This is just like Polanski’s ‘Repuslion’, what a great piece of work’

‘Hmm Repulsion – now you are on about Polanski, that makes some sense, can you unfold bit further on these lines?’ Sidath paused. ‘Yes, of course, this ‘bedroom’ of van Gogh, Polanski’s ‘Repulsion’ and the mysterious lost island, all three have some connection I believe’, I wanted to say something that goes for a while.

‘What mysterious Island are you faffing about? Tell me we need to go on that a bit more?’ Sidath seemed impatient. The narrative started thereon.

‘That mysterious island was kept in dark for so many years just like van Gogh’s bedroom perhaps like the young girl in Polanski’s ‘Repulsion’ until it was completely submerged by the giant sea waves along with its inhabitants just like Poe’s poetry,’ I said. ‘How did that happen?’ Sidath asked. ‘In fact, it all has got to do with something called negligence when seemingly correct and justifiable things are purposely turned out to be otherwise and rebuked as trash in large. In that lost island majority of the people were ruled by some idiosyncratic buffoons who believe in nothing but lingering on power vested upon themselves by the common masses. One fine Sunday there were explosions to be heard from several quarters of the island. In modern sense it may be like bombs. It turned to be fatal, human remains were scattered in pieces. You would not want to elaborate that picture anymore as it is quite macabre. The culprits were known. But seriously were they punished? No. The verdict returned in favour of the exploders. The exploders were eulogised as paradise seekers hence they did not commit crimes. To this end the paradise seekers believed they have reached their destination by getting rid of the non-believers, at least to a certain extent’.

‘What a load of balderdash’ Sidath exclaimed, ‘you are fantasising things Asitha, may be you have been reading Stephen King instead of Polanski’.

‘It may look like balderdash, but it is not really’, I continued,

‘Then similarly there was a medical practitioner in the same land who kept sterilizing young mothers of a certain race. He believed that was merit gathering to reach the same paradise as the ones before. So he kept at his vile act for years and this turned out to be of thousands of mothers who were dispossessed of having young lives for that little island. The mothers complained, cried, came forward to place their pleas. Do you know what happened to the practitioner?’ I took a long breath for a break.

‘The culprit, the genocide practitioner must have been crucified in daylight, what else?’ Sidath replied.

‘Balderdash’ I said….

‘He was freed and bailed out and subsequently was promoted to be one of the most influential officers in the healthcare sector to carry out his yeoman service of reducing the majority race of that island in view of embracing paradise seekers. The story doesn’t stop there. Then there is the third factor for this saga which was a massive university complex built by the same paradise seekers movement as they call themselves. It was incepted by one of their leaders as an educational hub for a specialist language to be promoted for those who seek paradise sooner than later,’ I took a break to gulp more larger down my throat. It made my heated body rather cooler. A wonderful feeling altogether. Perhaps I was in paradise I thought. ‘It must definitely be about the island’s culture and a lost language then’ Sidath responded. ‘Balderdash’ I replied, ‘I need another pint Sidath’. We strolled back to cashier to get another drink. ‘It is an imported language to obliterate the national language of that island, my dear’, while paying the cashier for the pint of larger I iterated. ‘Balderdash – seriously, this is serios balderdash’ Sidath retorted. ‘What they have done is initiated a special curriculum to promote that imported language and to emanate its worthiness to the believers of the paradise seekers thus subsequently to the entire island to make the non-believers believe in that’, I responded.

‘But for sure that is a foreign language, who wants to learn a bloody foreign language unless it is a link for some communication technique. Otherwise forcing a language down your throat is for sure is a cultural genocide, isn’t it? Sidath gradually juxtaposed on my wavelengths.

‘How many genocides are we talking about here?’

‘Were there not any protesters to stand against such nefarious occurrences in that island, at least some of those leaders, or to say the opposition to the ruling for sure?’ Sidath kept on asking. ‘Hmm, No, the actual protesters who were mainly peaceful spiritual leaders of the majority but have been classified as hate speakers and serious criminals. They were under the cosh to overcome and expose the ill wills of the rulers and their newfound love affair to the paradise seekers. So these heroic spiritual leaders were held at gunpoint’, I replied.

‘But what you are saying is just not making any sense, are you saying there was lawlessness or anarchy in that island?’ queried Sidath.

‘None of them makes any sense when we study. Perhaps we cannot define what exactly took place. Neither Ibsen nor Checkov can explain such calamity. Now for an example, those who died of explosions were consecrated as non-believers and sinners thus the killers were awarded as the next potential leader factors of the island. Then the inimitable medical practitioner who sterilised the nation’s mothers in thousands was awarded as a race and community builder, a saviour for obliterating a non-believing race and finally that enigmatic university complex to thrash the island’s national language thus promoting a foreign language as the cornerstone’, I unfolded. ‘So can we not track back and observe what is going on there, the people, the beliefs, the culture and the language etc?’ Sidath queried.

‘By the way, this happened long time ago so we cannot trace any footprints to see what those islanders look like or their believes. I recently read a research proposal requesting academics to submit a project proposal to study on that island. I wonder who can come forward with constructive evidence. It is a lost island with very little left to track back to extract. What we now hear from there is a morning call for gathering in loud and clear’, I completed.

Ring ring, the mobile phone started ringing. ‘Hey Asitha’, it was Sidath’s voice from the other side, ‘have you thought about the plot for my experimental short film?’

‘Hello Sidath, yes, I think I can give you some clues, we’ll chat later in the evening, bye…’ I happily replied knowing I had a seriously good dream to extrapolate for our next collaborative experimental piece of art for the MA students.

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