When you are young, life is uncomplicated. Student of the year competitions. Ishq wala love.
No big deal.
As you grow older, other more important things start coming into the picture. Cholesterol. Loss of muscle. Tingling of fingers during rainy season.
And the realization that each day lived is a day closer to death.
Nothing though brings home the truth of mortality more than the death of a dear friend.
To be honest, I had never met her. Not in person at least.
But I felt I had seen her, or rather the character of Emmanuelle (after all true artists becomes the character), more than I have known some of my best friends. I have spent more time with her, quality time if I may add, then I have spent with some of the people I call my chuddiest of buddies, a relationship so special that though I never spoke to her, she still spoke back to me, even though the sound was muted.
How many people can it be said that share this wordless chemistry, one that pauses time and video tape?
For those who have never heard of Emmanuelle or the series of movies that bore her name, I don’t blame you.
She was not the kind of friend that needed constant “Say ma name, say ma name” kind of validation.
As a matter of fact, many of her best friends, those who had spent hours interacting with her over bowls of chowmein, would often deny in public any knowledge of her.
But she never held it against them.
To be fair, many who met Emmanuelle didn’t even know it was her.
I mean, how can one know the name of the artiste in a punched scene from a video-showing of “Born Free” or “City Lights” (punching being a cinematic technique used in many alternative theaters in the 80s and 90s wherein scenes from other movies were “mixed” into the narrative of that which was being shown, a technique I discuss in great detail with adequate socio-economic context in my book “May I Hebb Your Attention Pliss”) or recognize her from a poorly printed poster stuck on a cow-dung-caked brick wall, that too sometimes defaced by a strategic rip or a charcoal smudge, the handiwork of moral police type people?
As for me, I am proud to have known Emmanuelle. And thankful. For she taught me about different peoples and different cultures in the course of her peripatetic peregrinations across the world that went beyond the monochromatic dullness of our prescribed text books like “Peoples and Homes Of Many Lands” that contained in its pages soporific descriptions of Lapland and the Isle of Man, which I hasten to add was nothing as entertaining or as informative as how Emmanuelle did the same concepts.
Right now though, I shall console myself by the fact that Emmanuelle was a concept more than a character, one that transcended Slyvia Kristel, metaphorically and literally (there were many Kwality-Quality type of altered-spelling inspirations including Black Emanuelle [note the spelling] played by another icon).And take solace from the fact that she and her character have attained immortality in the hyperspace of video-scan-lines and the nooks and crannies of our liquid memory.
So no, my dear friend. I won’t say farewell. That would be too final a defeat.
Instead I will just press the rewind button.