A dilapidated house. Things are scattered around. A man sits on a chair, a glass of whisky on the table in front of him. The air is filled with an old romantic melody playing on a tape recorder –

aapki nazron ne samjha pyaar ke qaabil mujhe
dil ki ai dhadkan theher ja, mil gayi manzil mujhe

Outside, it is totally dark except for moonlight and the odd streetlight. It is cold, quiet, eerie. The song whiffs out through the window into the neighbourhood.

In the quiet of the night, in the desolate silence of a small town where all go to sleep early and there is little nightlife, a solitary man, ageing, loses himself in an old song and finds his sense of beauty and meaning.

This old man has been through a lot. He is going to experience more struggles in the time to come. Stubbled, unsophisticated, yet not without a sense of the beautiful, the man sits in the utter stillness of the night and lets the melodiousness of the song envelope him and take over his being.

That is, in short, Aligarh. A quiet meditation on solitude, loneliness, and the pains and pleasures of living on the outside of society.

This old man is a homosexual. To be a homosexual is one form in which one finds oneself cut off from the world of people. It is one manner in which the beautiful can only be lived in secret, and in which the facades of the social world are revealed to be just that – facades. But all of us live lives in which we quietly, guardedly, softly, but passionately nurture a vision of beauty. If not a Lata Mangeshkar song, then a treasured memory, a delicate hope, or perhaps just a sense of something meaningful, not yet made explicit, not yet spoken about. It is this vision that sustains us, nourishes us, and carries us through.

The old man in the dilapidated house, completely absorbed in a romantic song while the world sleeps, his silent ecstasy completing the immense stillness of the night, is only one version of what we all are. We all are sparks in the eternal darkness of existence, little songs that complete the deafening silences of the universe.

Aligarh, then, is a tribute to the beauty inherent in every person’s life, no matter how suppressed. It is a tribute to those moments when go deep inside ourselves and find a vision to live by, a meaning to sacrifice our lives for, a fragrance that cleanses off the ugliness and noise of the outer world. It is this vision which makes our lives precious, even if we are, by external standards, insufficient human beings – as Siras was, and even if we have suffered tremendously, as Siras had.

Aligarh is about us all.

~ by tdcatss on March 3, 2016.

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