Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Bala Kailasam


The first time I met Kailasam was during the two-day residential exploration on 'What is India?' that he graciously hosted in his house. We watched a series of insightlful films directed by him, along with a few others 'on India' that helped us take a critical look at how 'India and Indian are grossly exoticsed and misrepresented' through the western lens. The most impactful of his films was 'Vaastu Marabu: A Shilpi Speaks'

The two days were filled with insight, laughter, wisdom and authenticity - a lot of it inspired and anchored by Kailasam's lovely energy. I was deeply moved by the intensity of his quest, passion, commitment, willingness to learn and share, and most of all, his humility. He was a dreamer, like most of us. And there was an immediate unmistakable connection because of that.

The second and the last time I met him was in May, at a meeting which was about enquiring into the nature of the 'Indian psyche', its relationship to the election results, and India's future. Kailasam had been in the ICU until recently, and had been discharged from the hospital only the day before, and I was quite shocked and pleasantly surprised to see him there. He said "But, this is too important to miss!"

He could not sit through the meeting after about two hours (for very obvious reasons!) As he was leaving, he said "Sangeetha, I've been meaning to stay in touch and call you all over to my place for a get-together. I'm sorry I've been out of touch. I'm really looking forward to us all meeting soon!" I really looked forward to it too, but soon started hearing news about his being very unwell again; and later about his death.

Though my encounter with Kailasam was a very brief one, my life has been deeply touched by it. He's most definitely one of the most beautiful human beings I've met. As much as I am sad and I mourn, I am also deeply grateful for having met him over such an important question of our times. It's almost like he flagged off my / our journey into the exploration and took leave. I am carrying his inspiration as I pursue the path.

3 comments:

sashikala ananth said...

The passing on of BK as he was known, is a difficult edge for us. We felt his presence in our life in so many ways for over 30 yrs. He was a friend a co traveller a confidante and an adopted brother. He was a constant presence when we nade the film A shilpi speaks, arguing and learning with both Raghu and I and sitting in with me while I had my discussions with Sthapati. We revisited traditional knowledge holders together, lamented their lack of openness and celebrated their wisdom. Ours was a gentle relationship, he was a delicate person with very tender capacities. His moments of anger were never de humanising, they were so self critical. Oh the hopes and dreams we had! Now to hold them alone

tase said...

I read this with a sense of loss. I enjoyed the times I spent with him, however few, and loved his eye for capturing details in his filming. This is a sad moment - I take pause.

Happy heart said...

Sangeetha, I'd like to watch this film. Where can I get a copy of this?