“We don’t teach you how to act. That will come from within you. Our aim is to instil good virtues in you. Because the real you comes out on stage and not the actor in you that you think. So, to be a good actor you first need to know how to be a good person.”
“Do you think it really matters?”
“What Sir is saying that you need to be a good person so as to be a good actor??”
“I don’t know. I mean, well it is good to be a better person….but is it necessary so as to be a good actor…ummm..I don’t know!”.
“Well, I think it is.”
“But actors fake things. You know, they always aren’t like the characters they play. They pretend. So how does it matter what kind of a person you are as long as you are good at pretending? Right?”
“ Yes. But those characters are all within us. Actors are better at recognising them and bringing them out on stage. Well, that’s my theory!”
“Ummm……whatever it is….there’s nothing wrong with being good at heart. So…”
“By the way, I’m Nishant!”
“Hey! I’m Gaurav.”
“Well, nice meeting you Gaurav! Hey! Are you hungry?? I have these giant starving monsters inside my stomach!!!!! You must have noticed the tea stall right outside this building. Let’s go there when we are done with this….what’s say?”
The class ended an hour later and so Nishant and I went to satisfy his giant starving monsters.
“Gaurav! Man!! You are so damn talented!! And still so humble and down to earth. Man!! You are my inspiration from today onwards. You know what?!!..you have better chances of becoming an amazing actor since you already are such an amazing person.”
“Oh! Stop it Nishant, will you? It’s embarrassing.”
“Okay fine!! But seriously….believe me, I know what a person is from inside in a couple of minutes of meeting him. You and I? It’s been three hours. So, I know you. The real you.”
“Okay!okay!! Fine. You know me!!”
“Hmmm…okay. What’s your full name Gaurav?? I’m gonna add you on FB.”
“It’s Gaurav M_____.”
“Oh! M_____. Oh..okay!”
After hearing my last name, the realisation of something dawned on Nishant’s face. I couldn’t figure out what this something was initially but after ruminating over it, I did figure it out.
Right then he excused himself from there saying he suddenly remembered some work he had to attend to and left with just a handshake. A guy, who in past three hours had hugged me more than five times left abruptly with just a handshake after knowing my last name.
The expression he had on his face, that feeling of disgust like he had touched something that wasn’t even meant to look at. I knew what disgusted him.
Now when he looked at me with antipathy in his eyes, I knew I was being judged neither by my abilities nor my talents nor my nature but by my last name. It slipped my mind that it didn’t matter who I really was, all that mattered was a tag that was attached to me, a tag that for sure can’t define even a bit of me but it definitely is a tag that makes them ignore the real me because this tag is my last name which is indicative of the region I belonged to or even of my caste. This tag traps me under the general perception people have associated with the last names. This tag hinders the halo of my being by something I have nothing to do with. It’s just my last name like I have my first name. It’s just a name. It doesn’t define me. And here I was thinking that we were growing out of this canonical mentality, but NO! as long as we have these “Sorry? What’s your full name?” questions to simply know the caste or the region that person belongs to, we should prepare ourselves to be labelled by them.
That was the last Nishant and I spoke. Although we were in the same class for a month, he always found a place distant from me. And the FB friend request….guess what?! It never came.
Yes Nishant, you were right that you can know what a person is, but there is a little correction here, you judged them because their last name was all that mattered to you and not that person.