For the past four days I have been consumed by thoughts I did not expect to have when the week started. In fact, the week started very well, as I got the chance to see Guardians of the Galaxy, an old fashioned, full of fun, kids movie, refreshingly different from all the gravitas superhero films in the 21st century aspire to. While going through forums discussing this film on Monday, I came across a thread that mentioned Robin Williams. It piqued my interest because I did not happen to see Mr.Williams in the movie, and so I thought maybe he was joining the franchise. What I found was quite something else.
I am unable to keep thoughts away that might come across as disrespectful to some. I not only hope that Mr.Williams finds peace and laughter where he has gone to stay now, I know he will. He is a magnificent, magnificent man, and I shall not miss him because he will always touch my life with his work. I hardly have any other option, such is the nature of his inescapable genius.
I cannot understand the violence of his final act and so I shall keep my questions away. He, of course, had no problem being called a comedian. That is what he was. But, to me, Mr.Williams carried the length and breadth of human emotions and behaviour, in forces that were not only positive, but realizable. I have laughed with him, like we all have. But, I have also cried, many many times before, for reasons opposite to what they have become now. Dead Poets’ Society and Good Will Hunting were the Robin Williams films for me. And they were not just films. They were instrumental in shaping the core of my being at a young age. As a teenager living in the suburbs, I was lost, with all my hope rested in the future. My reality was in conflict with the tender, growing shoots of my tendencies. To put it more plainly, all I ever wanted was to be in the vicinity of art, but my reality made it imperative that I did not waste my time and hopes in such fruitless pursuits. But, when he made those boys tear up their textbooks, I found myself. When he told them to believe in passion, in poetry, in their own humanity, I found my hero. John Keating, his character in the film and not far in his professions on life from the poet Keats, was the role model I could look up to.
The film maybe about a society of dead poets, but Robin Williams was a living one. A poet maybe a better description of what he did in his work, than just a comedian or an Oscar-winning dramatic actor. I had never known about his struggles with depression before, but I find it extremely remarkable now, when I have got to know how open and discursive he was about it. How he was in constant search for the meaning of life itself, accomplishing results that were far more illuminating than many others’. His work had such humanity because he was never, never complacent with what his life was at any given point. Initially, I found it highly disturbing and unjust when I got to know the nature of his demise and how much it was in contrast with the heroic roles he had played. If My Captain, the one who had guided me through misery and hopelessness, decided to go this way, what hope is there for the rest of us? But, I have reached some sort of an understanding, though not nearly enough. It enables me to write about it, but not to look at his work the same way again. I never can.
But, my dear Mr. Williams, I will always be grateful to you. I will show my children your work so that you can teach them to dream too. You were one of the best teachers I ever had. I pray for your beautiful, beautiful soul.