Two people... Journey... that clusive joy... the moments in it.
Sunday Indian, 28th May 2007
We talk about two worlds, but we seldom can back that with true awareness. Misconceiving empathy for unwanted pity and sympathy, we screen ourselves from unearthing real issues and turn, at best, into misguided armchair rhetoricians. We talk about AIDS and we say we care, but how and where?
Leaving the city arclights behind , as the sun sets and shadows rise in the alleys, a theatre stage at the National Centre of Performing Arts(NCPA) in Mumbai prepares to transport spectators into another world. A world where life for most is pitiful, a world of the dejected and deprived – the world of HIV & AIDS.
Lushin Dubey’s Muskaan, which opened in Mumbai last week, stands apart from the usual plays crowding most urban theatres and much like Dubey’s earlier acts, it strives to send a strong message willingly interwined into a narrative worthy of a standing ovation.
Shifting gears back and forth, Muskaan can be at best described a journey. A tale of two lives that starkly contrast each other, are brought together by an ‘unwanted’ virus, or maybe destiny. Chitra and Vish – the former, a woman in her forties from a typical low-income middle-class household, a woman who is “a cog in the wheel in a joint family” is infected by her husband and a victim of circumstances beyond her control, whereas the latter, Vish, an English speaking, jovial escapist who hides his fears and insecurities behind the philosophy of ‘Lightness of being; In a chance encounter in a bus, the two discover solidarity for each other and thus what follows is a chronicle fractured and fragmented, but woven together intrinsically by a strong underlying message. A message of love and care and of understanding and empathy. Baesed on true stories, which Lushion chanced upon while researching on the subject at the Naaz foundation, a care home for children infected with the virus, it is a small wonder that the various acts of the truck driver or the misinformed sweeper represent the exact thoughts that the majority deal with when confronted with a virus victim. It is this very ‘ill fated’ thought process that this play attempts to correct. It’s perhaps a bid to unite the two worlds, perhaps to spread love and care.
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