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A THIN LINE ~ Sushant Singh Rajput



Sushant by Mario Testino for Vogue





(21st January 1986 – 14th June 2020)



“People are afraid of themselves, of their own reality; their feelings most of all. People talk about how great love is, but that’s bullshit. Love hurts. Feelings are disturbing. People are taught that pain is evil and dangerous. How can they deal with love if they’re afraid to feel? Pain is meant to wake us up. People try to hide their pain. But they’re wrong. Pain is something to carry, like a radio. You feel your strength in the experience of pain. It’s all in how you carry it. That’s what matters. Pain is a feeling. Your feelings are a part of you. Your own reality. If you feel ashamed of them, and hide them, you’re letting society destroy your reality. You should stand up for your right to feel your pain.”

That is pain, and, no, I did not write that, Jim Morrison did. The power of words is magnificent: they can heal and they can slay, and one can infer whatever one wishes out of them as far as one’s imagination can stretch, but feelings, well feelings are feelings, they supersede words and leave you with a sense of desertion, isolation, barrenness and impassiveness, and feelings such as being distraught, hollow and their relatives and their families and their offspring’s mean nothing before the stab in your heart. Grief raids you when you least expect it to. You tend to lose all sense of time and space. You feel like you have descended into an abyss from which there is no chance of escape. You do not try to quell the feeling. You address it. You give it voice. You cry at length, cry in spurts, and you ignore the drivel that you have been ingrained with about how time would heal all wounds because you know that this is a wound that time will never be able to heal. 

Sushant was a thirsty seeker of knowledge and questioning. The feelings that hurt him most, the emotions that stung him most were those that were absurd. He longed for impossible things, precisely because they are impossible; nostalgia for what never was; the desire for what could have been; regret over not doing something else, not being someone else; dissatisfaction with the world’s existence. All these half-tones of the soul’s consciousness created in him a painful landscape, an eternal sunset of what we are. And when he was in that disposition to seek we spoke about art, architecture, science, sex, literature, life. About Rilke, E E Cummings, Rodin, Goethe, Monet. About the sky and the earth, about music and psychology. We wrote each other letters by hand, we sent each other books, and what I treasured about him most was the late night conversations. He was one who would call me at two or three in the morning and say: Bhai neend nahin aa rahi, yaar, chal baat karte hain. (Brother I am unable to sleep, let’s talk.) And that is the one thing that I shudder to think – that I would never be able to receive that call ever again, something I knew I hadn’t to think about before because it was a habit, a routine, a pattern, and each of us had taken it for granted that it was going to be the way it always was. 

“Do not take the world seriously. Do not think that if the doors are shut on you that nothing else will open.” Sushant had told me one night, and I cannot bring myself to understand that a man who was so clear would not have been able to battle his terrors. Then again I know he was only human, and that he had all the normal human feelings of anger, moodiness, excellence, security, insecurity a normal human feels, and still none of those feelings were magnified so far as such that they interfered with his demeanour. He was a stickler for perfection and that got onto peoples nerves. He was surrounded by mediocrity, and as author Anand Ranganathan remarked, he was searching for a library in a fish market and we know that that is to ask for the impossible, particularly in context to the world he was in. He shared with the world some of the wisest anecdotes from his own experiences and he would find himself, at times, dismayed, especially with the online elves, and he would begin to lose his temper on Twitter. That is when I would immediately ring him or message him to make him understand that it was not worth the effort and that he had to stop engaging in a verbal duel with such buffoons, and like a darling little brother he would say – Done! 

Did we fail him? As much as we can theorise and analyse and harangue ourselves – No. We each tried in our own ways to keep him fastened to his beliefs and to us, and yet being the strong one that he was his processes collided with his logic and his fragilities, and in an unfortunate instance, a mere nanosecond, the latter took control of him and lethally consumed him. Like many others I don’t hate the time or the state he was in. I won’t blame people because he was not someone who cared about what people thought. He was a confident young man who was certain of himself. In the larger scheme of things I know that we are predestined to live the life that we come preprogramed to expend, and therefore he had to go that way and he went that way, and nobody could have saved him because his time had come. Some might find this awfully harsh or immensely barmy, but it is indeed the stark truth. 

People whom I know who had worked with him told me that rejections are so rampant in the film industry that you begin to think that you are not loved anymore, and when the feeling that you are not loved anymore tends to linger longer, then you accept it as the truth, and you start to victimise yourself, and then self-doubt creeps in, and things begin to go downhill. I know that the world that he was surrounded with was not a world that he actively listened to. He had a mind of his own and he did as he thought it right. He never bowed down to anyone, and in a true heroic manner fought for that which he thought was not right for him regardless of who was opposing his way of life and thinking. Thus, I do not subscribe to the fact that the Sushant I knew took the words of those who were shallow seriously. He would learn from them not to be like them, but it was not them who had him in the end. It was only fate and destiny that took him away with both hands.  

Yes, I lost a soulmate. I lost a vital part of me. Until now when I would hear someone else say the same I would empathise with them, but to go through it is an entirely unspeakable experience. Yes, everything has been far too quick and too distressingly difficult to digest. Yes, he will be missed every moment of my conscious and subconscious life. Yes, we will keep him alive, some of us, constantly, but, yes, we will never be the same without him, not in our life at least. 

Loss makes up of two things, one is the actual physical loss of a person where you know that the person is not feeling any of their pain and cannot feel the pain you feel for them, and the other being that you know that they are in a happy place. We cannot claim to be certain on both the counts considering that nobody has actually managed to go across and come back to tell the tales. I think we conjure up convenient ways in order to convince ourselves that everything will be fine and he will be fine wherever he is. Honestly, it won’t be, but we will live as Dickens said with the hope that the pain of parting is nothing to the joy of meeting again because one day we shall meet again.   

I have absolutely no pleasure in the stimulants in which I sometimes so madly indulge. It has not been in the pursuit of pleasure that I have periled life and reputation and reason. It has been the desperate attempt to escape from torturing memories, from a sense of insupportable loneliness and a dread of some strange impending doom. Those words of Edgar Allen Poe ring true to my own Sushant who lived his life on his terms and madly indulged in his idiosyncrasies and wallowed in a sense of insupportable loneliness and welcomed the dread of some strange impending doom. 

Go on my little baby brother, regale the world that you are currently inhabiting with your richness and your love, for that was what you were for us here, and that is what you will always be forever, wherever you are!

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