He was ‘an ancient man who belonged to modern times’ | mumbai | Hindustan Times
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He was ‘an ancient man who belonged to modern times’

About 10 years ago, I met Grace for the first time at on the sets of a television show. After five minutes of me attempting a sensible conversation, he said, “Write to me sometime.”

mumbai Updated: Mar 27, 2012 01:44 IST
Prachi Pinglay

About 10 years ago, I met Grace for the first time at on the sets of a television show. After five minutes of me attempting a sensible conversation, he said, “Write to me sometime.”

A year later, I dared to write my first fan mail to him in 2003, when I was studying in London. A few weeks later, the reply arrived. In his decorative handwriting, not once mocking my gushy letter, he wrote about himself and asked me to preserve the craziness and sensitivity. London winter was over for me!

Grace was an extremely sensitive human being who depicted emotions such as love, pain and death with extraordinary detail using powerful imagery. He referred to himself as “an ancient man belonging to modern times”. Often, he reminded me of Sylvia Plath; sometimes his metaphors seemed to match Gulzar’s earlier poetry. “When I find that my flower is dying for dew, I at once cut the throat of my flower and release the dew,” he once wrote in a letter.

Each time he wrote about his travels, he unfailingly mentioned his desire to return home to Panthviram, which he called his “green, lonely solitude”.

Years later, our interaction snapped when he wrote to me saying he was depressed and was going to be silent. I lost touch for a few months, then mustered courage to call him. “Prachitai, where did you disappear,” he asked, sounding most cheerful.

I met him last month at the Pune hospital where was being treated for cancer. The room was full of his pictures, awards and a study table.

“I want to go home, but everyone insists I will be better looked after here,” he said. I asked him if we could resume correspondence. He said, “Yes, life goes on. Stay in touch.”