2006-12-10 23:31:58 UTC
By Ethel Da Costa
A memory called Pedro
I know all about dying. I know all about the sound of the heart, when the
pulse hammers against your chest, pounding in your ears, in pain, in anger,
in frustration. Sometimes, in sheer injustice and the loss of control and
grip over fate. And then the dead silence. Nothing fills the vacuum
anymore. It happens with the people you love. It happens with the people you
care about. It happens when people you love hurt you. And sometimes, you don't
need any reason to cry. This helplessness I experienced when a friend called
me, in the midst of my IFFI deadlines, that Pedro was no more. For a second
I blinked twice, and then my fingers went heavy. In the midst of the
Carnival all I could hear was a deafening silence. I wanted to say `Why?'
but it was only nameless faces crowding past me. Pedro had passed off when
there was so much more to do. He wanted to do. He wanted change. He was the
change. Few people dare change and live to fulfill it. So, why did Pedro cut
short his journey? There was so much more to do. The Art Festival, the
artist exchange of musicians and artists across the borders to facilitate
bigger exposure. So many ideas that went to and fro, every time we crossed
It was dear friends like Yahel and Doris who first introduced me to Pedro's
creative other-self. There was a mind beyond the face. And a sharp, creative
mind it was. Full of humour and life. Beyond the board room and the stiff
collar formalities, the man had a purpose. I like people who know where they
want to go. And they go. So, over wine and chips, we watched a short film so
creatively conceptualized and artistically shot, that I suggested a bigger
audience showing. Pedro brushed it off with embarrassment colouring his
cheeks. "It was just fun," he humoured me. And then his artistic forays into
Goan art, digging deep into his own pockets for grand exhibitions, cultural
festivities and artistic platforms, opening up communication with flare and
genuiness, but most important of all, opening his soul to ideas. A dramatist
when under the spotlight, the mediator when negotiating stormy territory,
the savvy diplomat when under fire, friend, colleague, humanist, humane
being, an actor, and he loved life allowing the space to live as well. Few
people afford you these spaces, because it's so comfortable living in a box.
There's too much crowd and less life in the spaces I see and don't like.
Pedro withdrew when he wanted to, and then danced with panache when he
wanted to. On his own beat. Perhaps, he wanted the music to go on forever?
Its late night as I write this. The blare of noise outside my office is
offensive. My deadlines feel like a trap. I find my mind shutting out the
words. There is a pounding of the heart hard against the rib cage. My
daughters call to check the burn-out. A snack box lands on my table. I have
people I want to go home too. Life is so, so short.
Pedro was at best a creative, kindred spirit we meet in our journey from
this life into another. But sometimes you wish God would just slow down.
A heartfelt adieus to someone I wish had walked this earth a little longer.
Sleep well Pedro. (ENDS)
The Ethel Da Costa column at:
The above article appeared in the December 3, 2006 edition of the Herald,