Bon Anniversaire, Monsier Camus.
You are a bit of a crazy guy and I guess you do know that, right? No, not in a bad way, certainly not! But like that patch of black cloud rubbing a perfectly sun-kissed sky, doing nothing but allowing itself to be suspended in a proximity enough to threaten the sunny painting. Whether the resultant rain will form a drizzle and caress away a nonchalant sun-bathing soul, leaving its skin without anything more than a tremor or it will assume the enormity of a downpour, erasing the unprepared soul of its belonging and stripping it to its bare elements, all soggy and wistful for warmth, is something you have debated in careful yet absurd tones in your books. I have not read you extensively but I have read you good. You have a question; a question to question. And you don’t mind getting any answers from others provided they don’t stop you from advancing on your search trails.
The first time I read ‘The Stranger’, I was a sprightly, doe-eyed teenager. I read the journey of Meursault and pondered: what kind of man doesn’t cry on his mother’s funeral? What kind of person murders with a flimsy excuse of an excessively boring day? I left the book a little confused but underwhelmed. Was I abhorrent? I can’t say. But I managed to pick it up years later and saw the same Meursault in a different light. I know I have had a normal life; nothing unusual, nothing podium-worthy. But if within such non-consequential years, I could color my vision into a new glass and view your book in a different light, I wonder what pearls you would have gathered during your tireless walks under the scorching, stinging sun of revelations.
Have you ever wondered why you were stamped a member of the ’existentialism’ brigade? You renounced it, or say I have read. Is that so? I would have loved to ask you. But perhaps you have answered the question in your many books. Ah! Your propensity to search answers! There! Well, I do believe you; really. You are not that angst laden, strapped, maniac, perplexed wanderer whose very purpose lies in his continued wandering (although he is supposed to draw a good equation of essence and existence or whatever it means!) You didn’t want that; I know. But you loved yourself more than anyone else. You wanted to know about yourself, test your resolves, challenge your beliefs and above all, never stop the discovery. You had a thing about never tiring, for you know, how obnoxious discoveries about self can be. No matter how much we douse, we are least forgiving to our own self. And every time we scrap a new piece of ourselves, our eyes view it with a different light. Were you ever disillusioned into believing that you understood yourself completely? After so many laborious, digging, stirring , tireless years of work, did an all-encompassing feeling engulf you, giving you that one talisman of living life that you had set out to search? I suppose you did come across such a point; only you refused to accept it. You were a traveler, a discoverer and challenging yourself was probably your only way of living a meaningful life.
I am glad you shared your experiences with me. I have come to love your world, albeit dark, but like a soft embrace that dissolves all other colored visions for good. And as and when I keep sinking into the waters of your findings, I suppose I will emerge stronger on some other plain. So, here’s a huge shout to where you are: Happy Birthday!
P.S. I don’t want to admit this but I can’t help having a poster of yours at home. You are very handsome (in a pin-up sense too)! 🙂
[Image courtesy http://www.famousauthors.org ]