Why I want to break a leg


I want to break a leg because the newspaper is dead.

Why is the newspaper dead? Same reason I want to break a leg.

Okay, you haven’t accidentally stumbled on the cryptic crossword. I’ll clarify -with a logical syllogism.

All cliches are real.

Life is no longer real.

Life is virtual.

This is a cliche.

Therefore it is real. (resisting the desire to put a smiley here.)

But seriously-insidiously imperceptibly our existence shifted from three to four dimensions without our realizing. Like some vague B grade scifi flick. Will historians  ever be able to put a date on when the phantom limb (iphones, ipods, ipads) became the limb?

Doc Ock lives. We are Doc Ock.

I shall not mention the daily dose of existential angst dished out by whatsapp BBM and Twitter. Two people don’t need to physically meet any more. They can conduct an entire relationship online. Is there an app available for sex that I haven’t heard of, yet? Quite possible.

We need to redefine a lot of stuff. What is infidelity? And if you still have a Facebook account, like Schrodinger’s Cat, are you ever really dead?

How many of us remember when we stopped reading the newspaper? Those who are still reading the paper with their morning tea are just hanging on to old habits like their dependence to-morning tea? All the world’s and their uncle’s news will come to us whether we want it or not. Whether you find the news or not news will find a way to find you. That is a fact.

Very difficult to keep secrets these days. That is the reason  why the detective agency specialization on extramarital affairs quietly died away without anybody noticing. It is so easy to have an affair online and so easy to get caught or not get caught that it doesn’t even matter whether you had an affair or not. Just like it doesn’t matter whether you read the paper or not.

Today’s newspaper is not tomorrow’s garbage lining. Pish tosh. The newspaper IS garbage. I mean the hard copy of course. It’s going down people, like the video parlours and the STD booths went down, way back in the Mesozoic era.

In the Jaipur litfest a lot of canapes were eaten over the death of the book. I too munched and tut tutted about how Landmark and Crossword stores are beginning to look like musty sarkari offices. Abandoned, like in some ghost town. But hark! when we talk about the death of the book we mean hard copy not soft copy! The soft copy lives on. Boldly, beautifully in many downloadable versions.The best of them are on film and t.v. and the ubiquitous youtube. This is a fact all writers have to come to terms with. If your written word is not at the cutting edge of technology it is pretty close to extinction. Diversify or perish! Writers, read the writing on the Facebook wall!

But wait, something else, something quite interesting happened when more than ninety percent of our existence became virtual, besides lets say our beating heats and other bodily functions. We started craving reality.

The more aware of us know how starved we are for a real experience. A real conversation, a real dinner, a real event. Its the subconscious craving of atrophying sense organs crying out for sustenance. Like an anorexic crying out for carbs.

That is why theaters like Kamani are filling out, plays in book my show are selling out and theater groups are burgeoning in the cities like frogs in the monsoon. What has changed? Is this the Indian Renaissance? Not quite. Its the fat lady on a diet singing for her carbs. Its the weekender sick of films and t.v. and youtube looking for the real deal experience. And in that department both truck racing and theater are winning. And since I’m a lousy trucker I’ll go with theater.

Also because the future is in the small group. The small group is the crucible for all future change. It is here where sparks will be lit, revolutions made, trends created, social political and economical. And it is here where the sponsors will come, like homing pigeons ,to a captive audience. And I, as an artist am very clear about the integrity of my craft. I go where the sponsors go. And since I am also a complete martyr for a noble cause-I want to break a leg.

BTW it is considered bad luck for actors to say ‘good luck’ before getting on stage. Instead it is customary to say ‘break a leg.’ Why?

Go back to your meat and potatoes virtual existence. Google it.