Reading two autobiographies at the same time. One is of my grandfather Pannalal Patel’s another Ingmar Bergman’s.
I think I have time travelled and reached the black & white era. My dreams are all mixed up, its like the movie Inception.
Once upon a time I use to read a lot of autobiographies. But these two “Jindagi Sanjeevani” and ” The Magic Lantern” are the most favourite along with Bapu’s “My experiments with truth”. After reading these autobiographies all the others feel incomplete and superficial (ones that I have read earlier, I am sure there would be equally good ones which I have not managed to get my hand on)
I love both these books as both of them are are extremely self aware people. Both have written beautiful confessions with honesty. They have been self critical as well as come to peace with whatever has happened in their lives.
Both of them had absolutely opposite lives in two different corners of the world.
Gattu ( Pannalal Patel) was born to an extremly warm and loving mother, he has no memory of his father as he died very early. He had seen really tough times, poverty, he wanted to study but he had to sell his books as his scholarship fund got expired by 6 th grade. He lost his mother around 12 years and for the rest of his growing years he was an orphan, had to fend for himself. He loved 3 women in his life including my grandmother, he loved them for the joy of loving and yet he was a man of character. He loved writing but he was not ambitious. In his later years he was amost deaf. Yet he was the most happy and secure person I know. Never complained, expressive of emotions always, extremely spiritual, full with positivity and even took his disablity as a gift from God, he use to say “God has taken away my ears as he wants me to just write.”
Bergman on the other had had a very cold mother, she was lost in her own personal problems and a strict abusive father. His childhood had many materialistic pleasures but he felt very neglected. He felt very lonely and got himself engaged in a lot of affairs and he admitted that he did not know how to love another human being and had give all his women a very hard time. Eventually he learnt to feel. In the earlier years he admitted being very insecure with everything and extremely ambitious. Bergman questioned God’s existence but in his later life he became spiritual which helped him come peace with the pains and rage of his life
Confession, both these men I love for their self-awareness, honesty and their passion for their work. Pannalal always knew he was good looking where as Bergman realised this later.
All day I think about them so it is obvious that I dream about them as well.
Just the other day I had a dream, when I woke up I totally forgot where I was..
No psychoanalysis please , read it as a story.. After the dream I realised that parts of Gattu and Ingmar life are quite similar..
My story starts with Gattu when he had left for Idar Boarding school..
Gattu leaves from Meghraj with his small potli which had two shirts, one dhotiyu and a slate. Naked feet he travels a long way. First time in his life he sees a pukka road. When he hears the sound of a train, shivers of fear and excitement run down his spine…
From Modasa he buys a ticket to go to Idar in the train… Gattu is now on the train….
On the other side a young well dressed Bergman had a train track runing behind their summer house. During his summer holidays he would ride his bycycle right down to the station master and he would ask him to let him wave the red green flags, Bergman loved waving the flags, he would do them all day, as he waved the flags and the trains obeyed him, he felt in control as at that age born in a family with a extremely dominted and strict father, he had a need to take control.
Gattu in the train was excited with the energy of the train, he leaned out of the window to see the red, green flages dramatics. He was facinated with this gimic and through out his journey he looked out and watched them change. As he was peeping out of his window he noticed Bergman changing flags, Gattu waved him and Bergman waved back..
Next time on his way back home as Gattu was boarding the train, he saw bergman standing next to the train gaurd with the flags in his hand. Gattu invited him home.
On the way back both talked for hours, during their gowing years both were lonely and they both wanted someone to talk to…they talked for hours.One Thing they both wanted to share with someone but could not, they both had seen a nude lady at the age of 7-8 years and finally they could confine in each other this big secret which could not be uttered in front of anyone..
As they went home Gattu (who was breastfeed till about 7 years ) immediately went and lached his mother where else bergman did not get this privilege in his life, he sat in the corner and watched in envy.
Then Gattu took Bergman to meet Reva his childhood love, he also warned him to stay away from her and Bergman obeyed as bergman claimed he had always been a loyal friend but never that much of a loyal lover.
After playing and swiming in the river both hungry and tired came to my home.
I cook channa dal and wheat rotlo for gattu where else for Bergman I made his favourite Swedish cabbage soup.
I wake up smiling, its my ultimate fantasy to cool for these two men which in reality now will never be possible.
For the next two days I made both dishes one by one for dinner..
Well both are yumm to eat but For me rotlo and dal was to die for, the ultimate farmer food but then I have farmer blood running in my veins 😊