|A scene from Ezhattumukham in Kerala|
One of the most alive characters I can mention without having to think twice is Zorba, a creation of Nikos Kazantzakis. Even in his sixties, he possessed all the passion of a young man. He sang and danced, made love, drank wine, and did not care much for the silly politics of ordinary mortals and the gods of the same mortals. What would Zorba answer if you ask him, “What does being alive mean to you?”
“To have the stars above, the land to your left and the sea to your right…” Zorba would begin. Life is freedom. Free to sing your own song and dance your own steps. It doesn’t matter whether the song jars or the dance looks clumsy. Just liberate yourself from all man-made snares like isms and religions. And live. Live your life.
To have no ambition and yet work like a horse as if you had the all the ambition of a conqueror. To live far from men, not to need them and yet to love them. To be able to stand with the land behind you and the sea in front, feeling the wind in your face, and to enjoy the urge to fling all that you have achieved so far to the wind… and move slowly to the realms of fairy tales.
I have admired Zorba from the time I came to know him. I was in my twenties when I read Zorba the Greek the first time. I read the novel many times later. Now I am as old as Zorba is in the novel. I have committed a lot of blunders which Zorba might think of as natural. At any rate, I have learnt certain valuable lessons from most of those blunders. That’s what being alive is: learning lessons from your blunders. Zorba would agree with me though I never possessed his wisdom or even the potential for such wisdom.
PS. A certain dullness of spirit is overwhelming me these days. But fellow blogger Parwati Singari’s prompt - What according to you is being alive? #beingalive – became a gentle breeze wafting from the sea…
PPS. This blog is participating in The Blogchatter’s #MyFriendAlexa campaign.