Someone, somewhere, once said, “We should not judge people unless we have walked in their psychological shoes.” Today, when Rituparno Ghosh died I realized how true it is. Being reared by this patriarchal society, I was always taught to hate the one who rides against the tide. I was taught to hate Rituparno Ghosh by patriarchy. It’s only now that I know he was right. He was way ahead of his time. The films he made, the statements he made, were all benevolent.
Today, when I first heard the news of his death, I was shocked and like everyone else found it hard to believe. All morning was spent sitting in front of the TV gazing at the screen in disbelief. All this time I didn’t care about him. I suppose the society taught me so. But today, when I heard so many people and saw so many people mourning his death, I realized he was after all someone not to be hated. Comments of his colleagues, about how loving and caring he was, made me realize we all are of the same kind. Instead of discriminating, we must embrace all with an open mind. Finally, foundations of patriarchy in me were drowned in the tears of thousands of human beings out there mourning his death and I decided to pay a final tribute to him.
I soon found myself dressing up and leaving for Nandan. I always wanted to meet Rituparno but I had never thought it would be like this! Hundreds of people had queued up to pay tribute to him. It was a massive queue. But, astonishingly, there was no pushing or shoving in the queue. For once a Bengali crowd was a disciplined crowd. The crowd moved at a steady pace. I soon reached the steps of Nandan, I could smell the burning incense and hear Rabindrasangeet in the background and I thought how appropriate it was! Soon, I was standing in front of his body. The body which was criticized and questioned over and over again. I looked at his still face. It was as if he was dreaming a happy dream, a dream of a society where there are no boundaries be it linguistic or cultural or national or sexual. As if he is dreaming of a place where there are no prejudices, no judgements. There are only human beings and equality and freedom. Freedom to choose – to be who you are.
There was a sense of peace.