Lockdown च्या सुरुवातीच्या काही दिवसातच डॉ नाडकर्णी यांची मुलाखत पाहिली. त्यात त्यांनी सहकुटुंब चांगले सिनेमे पहा असा सल्ला दिला होता. म्हणून त्यांनीच सुचवलेला ‘Forrest Gump’ हा १९९४ सालचा सिनेमा पाहिला.
आपल्यातल्या अनेकांनी ‘पान सिंह तोमार’ हा चित्रपट पाहिला असेल. त्यात एका लष्करातल्या जवानाचा ‘आंतरराष्ट्रीय धावपटू ते कुप्रसिध्द डाकू’ असा प्रवास रेखाटला आहे. ह्या उलट ‘Forrest Gump’ मधील धावपटू हा जगाच्या दृष्टीने “slow learner”. पण जगाने त्याच्या बद्दल केलेली सर्व भाकिते तो मोडीत काढतो. कॉलेजमधून पदवी मिळवतो, फुटबॉल, टेबल टेनिस या खेळात राष्ट्र पातळीवर खेळतो, सैन्यात व्हिएतनाम युध्दात शौर्यपदक मिळवतो आणि मासेमारीच्या व्यवसायात लाखोंचा नफा कमावतो.
ही जरी संपूर्ण सत्यकथा नसली तरी प्रेरक नक्कीच आहे …… आणि पाहता पाहता आम्हा तिघांच्याही मनात येते, हा तर चक्क वेधची faculty आहे की! त्याला बोलतं करण्यासाठी डॉ. नाडकर्णीनी यायलाच हवे! फिर देर किस बात की!
आमच्या मनःचक्षूसमोर आलेली ही मुलाखत तुमच्यासाठी शब्दबध्द करत आहोत.
( टीप: हा सिनेमा ज्यांनी पाहिला नसेल त्यांनी नक्की पाहावा…… नॉर्मल ह्या शब्दाची व्याख्या पुनः करायला हवी असे तो चित्रपट पाहिल्यावर वाटलं.)
AN: नमस्कार, सर्व प्रेक्षकांचे वेधच्या ह्या मंचावर मनापासून स्वागत. यंदाची आपली संकल्पना आहे ‘नियती आणि नियंत्रण’.
वेधच्या माध्यमातून आपण नेहमीच तरुणाईच्या समोर अत्यंत स्फूर्तीदायक असे रोल मॉडेल ठेवत असतो.. कोरोनाच्या संकटाने आपल्याला दाखवून दिले आहे की आपली विचारपध्दती “glocal” होणे आवश्यक आहे…… म्हणजेच think globally act locally……जगाचा विचार करत असलो तरी ते ज्ञान आपल्याला इथे वापरता आले पाहिजे. त्याकरता ह्या वेळी आपण प्रथमच एक आंतरराष्ट्रीय faculty आमंत्रित करत आहोत.
ते बोलत असताना त्यांच्या मागील पडद्यावर Forrest Gump ‘Facebook Live’ च्या माध्यमातून दिसू लागला आहे.
AN : Hello Forrest! Welcome to VEDH! It is a pleasure to have you with us today. And everybody here is eager to hear your story. Shall we start right away?
FG : Hello. Yes let’s start.
AN : So let us begin with talking about your childhood. Tell us about your school.
FG : I was born in Alabama. I had a crooked spine at birth. So as a child I had to wear braces on my legs to keep them straight and to help me walk. And I had an IQ of 75. According to the American rules, anyone having an IQ below 80 has to attend a special school. But I went to a normal school like all the other kids around me. That was because of my Mama. She asked the headmaster of a ‘normal’ school, what he meant by Normal. She said that all children were special in some way or the other. So should they all go to special school? In the end he had to accept me as a pupil.
AN : Oh! But did you get along with all the other kids in the school?
FG : Oh no. I had only one real friend..…. Jenny. The rest of the kids in school teased me, threw pebbles at my braces and called me stupid.
AN : So what did you do? Fight them back?
FG: Not at all! I didn’t mind when they called me stupid. ‘Cause Mamma had told me that nobody is born stupid. But the pebbles hurt my legs. So Jenny told me to run away; run as fast as I could. And then one day while running really fast, my braces broke. I thought I would fall down, but I didn’t! In fact, I found out that I could run faster without the braces. I went on running. I was the fastest runner in the college football team.
AN : Oh! I was going to come to that. How did you do in college?
FG: I did not like to study much. But I liked the sports there. Then America started the war with Vietnam. We all had to enroll ourselves in the army.
AN: Tell us about military life. Did you miss your life back in Alabama?
FG: Well, I didn’t think much about what I was missing. I just did what our sergeant told us to. There I made friends with Buba, a boy of African origin. We had decided that we would go to Buba’s village and fish for shrimps, once the war was over .
But then suddenly one day the firing started. A bullet hit me in the buttocks. I wanted to slip away just as Jenny had asked me to. But I could not leave all my fellow soldiers behind and run alone. So, amidst all the gunfire, I went back. I carried our wounded Lieutenant Dan and Buba away from the firing. I could save Dan’s life. But Buba died. We were then carried to a military hospital.
AN: And what about your wounds?
FG: They removed the bullet from my body. But Lieutenant Dan lost both his legs in the war. He kept yelling at me, that he was destined to die with honour with his men. And instead I had saved him and forced on him the life of a cripple. And that I had meddled with his destiny.
AN: Did he never thank you for saving his life?
FG: No. Not at the hospital. But the country awarded me a medal for my bravery. After a year or so, my service in the army was over.
AN : So what were your next steps?
FG: Then I went to Buba’s village just as I had promised him. I bought a boat and a fishing net and started fishing for shrimp. And then one day I had a surprise visitor, Lt. Dan had come there to join me.
AN : And we have him as a surprise visitor at VEDH too! Please welcome Lt. Dan on the screen.
A big round of applause follows as Lt Dan walks slowly and sits on the chair and faces the camera.
AN : Good evening Lt. Dan. So glad to see you on your feet again.
LD: Yes these are artificial legs but good enough to walk.
AN : Did you have these when you started fishing for shrimp with Forest? Tell us about your shrimping business.
LD : Well since the Army could not keep me in their fold, I decided to join Gump in his new enterprise. I moved about on a wheelchair. But I could climb on the mast of the boat and predict where we would get more shrimp. Initially we managed to catch only the waste and garbage in our nets. No shrimps. Those were trying times, and I felt a bit disheartened. But Gump often quoted his mom. She used to say that life is a box of chocolates. You never know if you will get a bitter chocolate or a sweet one next. We can choose, but then we have to eat what we have chosen. I had chosen to come here, so I had to be patient.
AN : So when did you come to your turning point?
LD: Oh that? It was after a very wild storm. It hit all the boats at the pier. We just held on for dear life. That night, all the other boats were damaged and ours was the only one to survive the storm. And since then, as we were the only boat afloat, we had all the shrimps to ourselves. Soon, we expanded the shrimp business; Bought more boats; Hired people; Established a company. Our turnover went into millions, ’cause there was no competition. After a while, Forrest wanted to go home to Alabama. I gave him his share of the money. But he didn’t keep all of his share to himself.
AN: What did you do with your share, Forrest?
FG: Well I gave half of my share to Buba’s mother. My Mamma always said we should only keep as much money as we need. We should give the rest to people. So when mamma died of cancer, I donated some money to the church and the hospital. I came back to Alabama. And Jenny joined me there, too.
AN : But then all of a sudden, one fine day, you started running. You almost covered the whole of America. Why was that? An awareness drive of some kind?
FG : Oh, no! I had started running just after Jenny had left me, because I felt restless. It is the reporters and cameramen who tried to stick some kind of motto or meaning to my running. I ran because I just felt like it.
AN: And where did you reach?
FG : Oh, I didn’t have any particular target for my run. After 3 years I was tired, so I stopped. But running earned me fame. And Jenny came back into my life again. This time along with young Forrest, my son. I was so happy to know that my son was not stupid like me, but smart like Jenny!
AN: So you lived happily thereafter?
FG: No, Jenny had been ill with a virus. She died a year after we met again.
AN: That must have been so sad.
FG: Yes, it was. But mamma always said, death is a part of life……. So now I don’t think about it much. And then I have to take care of young Forrest. I don’t have much time for feeling sad.
AN: Too busy for tears……. Forrest, you could not have summarized your journey better….. Wonderful!
प्रेक्षकांकडे पाहून: तर मंडळी, ह्या दोघांनी आज आपल्याला स्वतःच्या उदाहरणाने कितीतरी गोष्टी शिकवल्या आहेत. बुध्दिमत्ता म्हंटली की आपण अभ्यासाच्या, परीक्षेच्या गुणांच्या फुटपट्टीने मोजतो. परंतु ह्या बुध्द्यांकात खेळाचे गुण, म्हणजे खेळातली चिकाटी, एकाग्रता आपण हिशेबात धरत नाही…….. जे कदाचित यशस्वी होण्यासाठी अधिक आवश्यक असतात! Forrest हा मानसिक दृष्ट्या इतर मुलांच्या मागे होता, पण शारीरिक दृष्ट्या अव्यंग होता. किंबहुना, त्याच्या braces ह्याच त्याला मागे ओढत होत्या. त्या मोडल्या तेव्हा त्याला आपला खरा वेग सापडला.
ह्या उलट Lt. Dan ला शारीरिक व्यंग होतं. पण सर्व गोष्टींसाठी आपल्याला पायाची गरज नसते हे त्याने दाखवून दिले. समुद्रावरच्या त्या वादळाने त्याला शिकवले की संकटात धीर सोडायचा नसतो, वादळ ओसरतेच कधी न कधीतरी. मग बाजी आपलीच असते. नियतीच आपले नशीब लिहिते असं म्हणणार्या Dan ने आता आपल्या नियतीवर नियंत्रण मिळवले आहे.
ज्या गोष्टी आपल्या हातात नसतात, त्यालाच आपण दैव, नियती असे म्हणतो. पण ह्या दोघांची व्यंगे ही त्यांची नियती असे मानले तर त्या नियतीवर त्यांनी पूर्ण नियंत्रण मिळवले असं म्हणता येईल…. आणि सगळ्यात महत्वाचे म्हणजे हे करताना स्वतः आनंद मिळवला, इतरांनाही दिला.
Background ला वेध गीताचे शब्द ऐकू येतात……..
जे सारे ना आपुल्या हाती, दैव म्हणावे वा नियती……
परी नियंत्रण तुझेच आहे, तुझ्यात लपल्या शक्तीवरी.
नियती आणिक नियंत्रणातील सीमारेषा दिसो तुला……….
नियती आणिक नियंत्रणातील सीमारेषा दिसो तुला
टाळ्यांच्या कडकडाटात सगळे प्रेक्षक Forrest Gump आणि Lieutenant Dan ला निरोप देतात.