Thursday, September 4, 2014

'One Kind of Happiness' VIJAY NAIR 1962-2013

“If those whom we begin to love could know us as we were before meeting them … they could perceive what they have made of us.” Albert Camus

In his 50 years, Vijay refused to be cubbyholed. He was a writer, a playwright, a poet, a good actor (mostly off stage), a bad singer, and an even worse dancer. He kept his role of a corporate trainer but spiked it with generous dose of theatre and creativity.

How can then one even begin to comprehend the irony when his life now is so definitely contained in between the years he came and went from this world?

It is too early, too soon.

Through these images I would like to share my memories of him which flit about knowing no boundaries.
Memory is like that. With different people it assumes different shapes,” he wrote in his unpublished book, ‘One Kind of Happiness’.

I choose to shape mine in a full moon, drawing solace from the reflected sunshine.

This floor-to-ceiling bookshelf was especially made for Vijay in his study in our new house. He organized the shelf himself (a rare event considering being organized was not his habit) though in no particular order much to my consternation. He never worked in the study though, choosing the dining table instead to do all his writing.

Vijay’s idea of a holiday was a comfortable hotel room with the television on at all times, except when the new Harry Potter series was out. Here two people read, no, consumed ‘…the Deathly Hallows’ in one go. That’s how Vijay inculcated the love for reading in Dhruv since he was two. Reading stories out loud was almost a ritual before bedtime.

Vijay loved to eat and cook for others. In 2012 when he went to Pittsburgh on a Fulbright Fellowship, he had practically opened an Indian eatery in his residence. The friends he made there would often cook up some excuse or the other to drop by. He loved making chana masala, jeera rice, chicken curry, and mushroom stir fry for them. Once he even fried puris setting off the fire alarm!

If he had had his way, every weekend would have been a party in the house. In Pittsburgh, he did just that. The fridge was always stocked and the door always open! Writers and poets, lawyers and librarians to mill workers and managers, he entertained an eclectic crowd. He had a knack to draw out stories of other people. ‘How else will I write my books,’ was his justification.