‘Is this a story?
Or is it simply
We are traveling
Through the moments,
We stop and restart alone,
Will these lines
Aspire to become dialogues,
Or will they remain monologues
Of a lonely writer?’
As I was reading his poem from his diary, I thought of how reticent he was as a boy. Sushanta was not a simple guy you’d find next door; he was known as someone who was very opinionated, outspoken; he had intolerance towards social injustices, like gender inequality, racial discrimination, and, above all. towards meaningless disputes. For him, all disputes are naïve and ignorant. When Sushanta was doing his research on Jean-Paul Sartre’s diaries he wrote during his mobilization, the arrogant Indian got into a severe dispute with his Camusienne professor in Montpellier. Her name was Madame Audin who was always against anything that had to do with Sartre. Sushanta’s guide, Monsieur Dutrand, often laughed at the mild irritation he saw on his face every time Madame Audin would refer to him as ‘Un Sartrien indien’! He found this dispute meaningless because, according to him, both were excellent and right in their own ways. If Camus didn’t subscribe to engaged literature, it doesn’t mean Sartre was wrong to have shifted from individualism to socialism. Why can’t both be right, he’d wonder. Sushanta liked Baudelaire, Yves Bonnefoy too, and for this, he was labeled as ‘Un faux sartrien’ (a false Sartrian), by Madame Audin because she thought that no Satrian has the right to take a liking to poetry. He found all these arguments naïve and laughable. He admired Sartre for his total transformation; his works before and after the mobilisation would seem like works of two different persons. This never meant he had any less appreciation for Camus; they both talked about ‘transcendence’ didn’t they? Why can’t readers look at the similarity? The leap?
Why is he thinking of all these now! After twenty-five years, how are these even relevant? He is completely a different person now. He doesn’t smoke, he doesn’t drink, he doesn’t argue, nor does he fight anymore.
If you believed in the proverb, ‘people don’t change, they become more of what they are’, you would regard him as an exception.
This is what he wrote in his diary, quote-unquote.
‘For a long time, I believed that to be an intellectual, one has to imagine horrible things about God. I need to say that he doesn’t exist, if I don’t say that, I cannot be considered as an intellectual. So, in order to belong to this group, I have to say I don’t believe in god. By believing in God, I have doubly become a false Sartrian, at least for Madame Audin, wherever she is now!
I feel so good when I think of God. I have learned many things from him, of which two are very close to my heart, one is, I don’t blame anyone or anything anymore, and the second one is I don’t argue with anyone on anything; god, my friend, tells me that it is a sheer waste of time, it doesn’t get us anywhere. I enter into dialogues, meaningful dialogues, but I shun from arguments. I have also stopped judging; it is such a relief, I never thought I’d be able to achieve this ever in my life. I know I have to work on my addiction for judgement, but I am at it now, all the time. He has also taught me to take care of my organs, what a beautiful learning that is! I choose the sweetest of words, I know how to use my tongue, I use my ears to listen to nature, my eyes to see what is truly beautiful. Whenever I converse with him, I have this feeling of security and acceptance.
Being with god gives me such a wonderful feeling. I feel so good about myself, about people around me, about the tough situations I face every day. Why should I ever leave him? What do I get by leaving him? Mistrust, disbelief, conceit, hatred, judgements, insecurity? He says all of these acquired qualities are like garbage. Why should I eat garbage? Being with such negative emotions is just like eating garbage. He asks us to relive our original seven qualities, viz. happiness, peace, power, love, purity, knowingness, and bliss. I am slowly discovering all these qualities inside me, but I know ‘I have miles to go before I sleep’, but this journey is totally worth it, for me. It is exhilarating, satisfying, rejuvenating. Socrates says, ‘know thyself’; by this could he have meant, discover thyself?
No, I am not an intellectual anymore
I believe in god, so therefore
Count me out from your list
I have no pretence, to say the least.
I don’t blame you at all
My friend, if ever you fall
I will give you a hand
Till on your feet, you stand.
I will never ever blame you
With you, I will neither argue.
You are here to play
Your role, in your own way.
Your journey is written in your role
So is mine, but I am delighted
To know I am a soul
I feel united and connected.
Yes, I am now ever ready
To accept you as you are
You see yourself as a body
You are nevertheless, a shining star.’
I recited the nameless poem and closed the diary on Sushanta’s discovery, for good.