Sunday, December 21, 2014

Shantaram, Milton and Eye check-up

Fitness and health check-up have become novelty today.  Periodical health check-ups are recommended and followed meticulously.  Check-ups do not guarantee good health for the future, but certainly provide mental relief.  Mental relief, if the results of the tests are satisfactory.  Of course, more tension and worry if the results are not as per expectations.  There are many advantages of health check-ups.  It is ensuring good health of the doctors and health-care industry.  It is also providing hospitals and drug manufacturers with wonderful growth opportunities, besides giving employment to thousands of support staff.  As for the patients, they can pride themselves about the number of tablets and capsules they consume each day.  Patients can also have their breakfast, lunch and supper regularly, since prescribed medication should either precede or follow in take of food. Their days are never dull and swallowing the tablets as per the given time schedule keeps them totally occupied.  They always have something to look forward to; the next tablet, syrup, capsule or ointment.  Ensuring that all the tablets required for the next two weeks are available at home makes them remain physically and mentally busy.  It also keeps the other members of the family on their toes; if the patient does not take a tablet for headache, it often becomes their headache.  If the patient at home is an elderly person, their patience is tested as well and teaches them many advantages of being patient.  Patience is a difficult trait to teach or develop, we all know.

We are all given one body by the nature or creator.  Hence one place for check-up should be fine. We may so believe, but it is not that simple.   Health care industry tells us that the body may be one, but it consists of many parts.  As each part of the body specializes in some important function, there should be as many specialists to take care of them.  It is quite natural that all specialists cannot be brought under a single roof.  If they are so assembled, it threatens the very concept of specialization. We are, therefore, advised to meet specialists at different centers so that special care is taken of all the parts of the body.  For some parts of the body, there are many specialists as the parts and specialists perform and monitor diverse functions.  Eye is one such organ and naturally requires special care. Bacterial, fungal or viral infections, age, cataract and diabetes add additional dimensions to eye care and eye check-up may result from any of these issues.

Visit to any specialist is a time consuming errand.  Eye check-up is not so.  It is a day consuming mission.  If you go to a temple, you can see the main deity only after visiting three or four other deities. Likewise, you can see the main eye specialist only after you go through three or four rooms presided by the junior doctors.  The receptionist prepares your profile and then passes on the profile along with you to the first junior doctor.  He or she checks the external eye and makes noting on the file.  Then you move to the next junior doctor (senior among the juniors) who checks eye sight and the power of your present spectacles. Then a nurse pours some drops into the eyes and asks you to keep the eyes closed for sometime.  She does not allow you to dream uninterruptedly; she keeps repeating the eye drops till the specialist is free to see you.  This way waiting is made painless; there is no feeling of prolonged waiting as you are actually undergoing the process of being prepared for the specialized scrutiny.  You are advised that the eye has to dilate for the specialist's eye to have a clear view of your eye.  On line dictionary defines "Dilation" as the act of expanding or the condition of being expanded; the widening or stretching of an opening or a hollow structure in the body.

When sitting in a multi-speciality eye clinic with drops in the eye, the mind naturally remembered V Shantaram and John Milton. Why V Shantaram? Why John Milton?
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Shantaram Rajaram Vankudre, popularly known as V Shantaram, is a well known film personality.  He devoted his life to acting, making and directing movies in Hindi and Marathi. His entire life spanning 88 years were spent in dreaming about art and presenting those fantastic dreams to art lovers in the form of movies. His movies had many different themes of social relevance and fine arts.  Story, music, dance and sculpture were seamlessly blended and captured in his movies with delightful effects.  He dreamt big and his films had huge and colorful sets, even if the sets were used only for shooting a single scene appearing on the screen for two or three minutes.  He was a strict disciplinarian and brooked no disruption to his schedule of work.  It is said that he replaced his daughter Rajshri with Mumtaz in one of the films since Rajshri did not report for shooting on time. That was one of the triggers for a highly successful career for Mumtaz later on. He is also said to have firmly told Jeetendra, film's hero, that Mumtaz cannot be changed as the heroine in the film "Boond Jo Ban Gayee Moti". 

"Do Aankhe Barah Haath", produced in 1957 is one of the most popular and famous movies of its times.  The film is based on prison reforms and the necessity of providing opportunity for reformation to the most hardened criminals too. Shantaram himself played the lead role in the movie. While shooting one of the scenes in the movie, known as the bull-fight scene, he was badly injured in the eye.  His eyes were treated and bandaged for several months and doctors feared that he may never regain eyesight. A person who enjoyed full eyesight for  56 years was now blind for many months. Shantaram's artistic mind worked overtime during that period and he experienced a riot of colors in his dreams. Treatment was successful and he regained eyesight.  He was able to see and resumed his film making with the next film "Navrang", meaning "Nine Colors", released in 1959. 

The film "Navrang" opens with a song "Rang De De" (meaning "Give us colors") with a black and white shot of closed doors on the screen.  After the titles end with the name of Shantaram as Producer and Director, the doors open and Shantaram himself appears with his eyes covered with dark glasses, as shown in the picture above.  He tells the audience about the suffering he had due to temporary blindness and how he imagined a colorful world in those days.  He mentions that he now shows that imaginary colorful world as "Navrang".  The film (its color poster is given alongside) has the theme of a dreaming poet-patriot and his wife in the backdrop of freedom movement.  It is a fine blend of poetry, music and dance with huge sets and is an example of film making with passion. Among the many films made by V Shantaram, Navrang holds its own pride of place.  It is a film conceived by a temporary blind person who had sight of the normal eye and the vision of a great film maker.


*****
John Milton (1608-1674) is considered as "one of the greatest English authors" and was an important supporter of Oliver Cromwell's Commonwealth.  He was a fierce defender of free speech and freedom of press.  His life was an inseparable part of the political upheaval in England's 17th century events.  His major works came after he progressively lost eyesight and became blind.  He lost his eyesight in 1651-52 at age 43.  He married Elizabeth (third wife) who was 31 years younger to him, in 1662 and dictated 20 to 30 verses each night to her.  His "Paradise Lost" and "Paradise regained" were thus written.   One of the popular jokes is that he wrote "Paradise Lost" when he married and "Paradise Regained" when he got divorced!

Milton's famous sonnet "On his blindness" is a remarkable reflection of his own talents and spiritual pursuits.  It is said to bear reference to the "Parables of Talents" in the Gospel of Mathew.  Milton blossomed as a poet after he lost his eyesight.

It is true of many other artistes as well, especially in music.  Loss of eyesight probably sharpens their talent to identify the many nuances of sound, its effects and variations.

*****
On the lighter side, both Milton and Shantaram had three wives.  Milton's third wife Elizabeth was his support for bringing out his literary works and talents.  Shantaram's third wife Sandhya brought out Shantaram's dreams on the screen as lead artiste in many of his movies, "Do Ankhe Barah Haath" and "Navrang" included. 

It was just and proper to remember Shantaram and Milton, while sitting for dilation with closed eyes in the multi-speciality eye hospital! 

13 comments:

  1. very nicely presetneted Happening in different era find simily in artistic view of a person in another yug

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  2. Very good reading; presentation with humour.

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  3. Couldn't stop reading till the end!!!!!!!!

    Sumangala

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  4. I enjoyed reading this; written with the breezy style; all the same, it was very thought provoking.

    P.Narasimhan

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  5. Very Nice remembrance & Presentation

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  6. Reading this till the end was indeed a visual treat!!!!!!!

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  7. Clean presentation of the topic. Could not take out my eyes from the article till the last word. Amazing capacity to narrate. Hats-off.

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  8. An article which hooks your eyes till the end ! Kudos !

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  9. THIS STORY AGAIN PROVES EVEN DARKNESS HAS MORE LIGHTS AND COLOURS SIR...

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