March 11, 2012

In fond memory of Ashish Lakhia

(PHOTOGRAPH by: Mohammed Farooq)

It was a hot Sunday morning. I was woken up by the phone to hear Ashish Lakhia had passed away. Ashish Lakhia-collector of things, writer, documentary filmmaker, artist and a man brimming with stories was no more!

I couldn't collect myself. Snatches from my film kept playing in my head. His voice echoed.What is it with voices? Why do they always hold so much more?

We fled to the Jama Masjid. Anywhere else, and we would have split into two like a peapod. On the way to the masjid I had seen a fire and emergency water tank while Lata's voice constantly resonated the line '...chale hi jaana hain' from 'Baahon mein chali aa' and I couldn't shut it out.

In Jama Masjid, there was silence and the metronome of a bird. It was bright.I wore my glares and wept behind it. It felt funny to be hiding little things like tear drops in such a wide expanse. Could I get some glares to hide the weirdness as well?!

The silence, the stillness, the incessant voices in my head- everything was driving me mad. How can someone who talked so much, who collected things like a hoarder, who left behind scores of memories even in those artifacts, not exist anymore?

He was brimming with fantastic bizarre and wild stories. His eccentricity was what drew me towards him as a subject for my documentary film, and made him endearing. There was a lawless charm about him that enchanted me even the first time we had met.

I hate the past tense when it comes to people. Death can't make a clean cut, ever! It always severs so shoddily-parts of the flesh dangle loose and messy. 

There was something about the open space of the masjid that reminded and settled for me that Ashish Lakhia wouldn't walk and talk again- in life. But I have some memories strung together when I want to hear the crazy genius again. When I wish to hear a tale. Of some fascinating object. From that fascinating man.

Rest in Peace Ashish Lakhia!
Watch The Creeper, the Alien & Other Stories, my documentary film about him:

No comments

© Dryad's Peak
Maira Gall