Nothing excites a crazy person more than running into an even crazier person…
I was attending a business summit in Hyderabad in August 2012. It was the sort of event where people go to, in order to watch some speakers spout mumbo-jumbo crap on the state of Indian economy and Infrastructure, and then drown out the sorrows over copious barrels of alcohol under the guise of networking with the “Fraternity”.
There are a few positives from such events too. Business cards are exchanged, inter-firm gossip is exchanged, and a fair share of boasting, ranting and complaining culminate in a sizable number of under-the-table business deals.
Coming back to “Isaac Mendez”. This is a nom de guerre for a person who I ran into at the summit. Isaac Mendez was a fictional character in the epic TV series “Heroes”. He was an unremarkably lonely man living in lower Manhattan. An artist by profession, he was a failing cartoonist. This failure saw him engulfed by Heroin addiction. Sad, you say?
Only, the Heroin addiction became a silver lining for him and his career. You see, the character of Isaac Mendez would relapse into a state of trance after his “drug sessions”, and in his state of trance would produce works of art – prophetic images which would describe events from the future. The quality of his arts was mindblowing. And his comics based on the prophetic images slowly gained an undercover following even in faraway comic-crazy Nippon!!
The catch – he could only draw when in trance.
And that brings me to the local Hyderabadi Isaac Mendez. His name was Chandru – a man who had never drawn a thing in his sober life. Dark skin, unkempt and receding hair, dressed in a wrinkled pair of formals with a beard that signified laziness more than style. He had exactly 7 neat pegs of Directors Special on his table, arranged in a semi-circle, like he was having a brainstorming session with his pegs. And in his hands was a premium Mont Blanc pen – the kind you would expect a person like him to have stolen.
The sight was pure magic. He was drawing in ink, an image that should have come from years of practice. And he was stoned out. The talent flowing from his pen had to be seen to be believed. And it was fun listening to his disjointed tales. He was a self confessed self-styled artist, who had taken to the comfort of bottle after failing to get a job, and the bottle helped him get a job in a small architectural firm, where the boss encouraged him to get drunk when in office. That is a job worth having, and a boss worth having!! The pen he had stolen from some Andhra politician – the reasoning being that the Politician himself had stolen it from the “People”, and anyway the politician was way too dumb to understand the value of a Mont Blanc. The pen was in the service of humanity in the hands of Chandru. And it would attain its Nirvana there.
I never met our desi Chandru again. But that’s the fun part of our lives. We meet the shitty people often, but the real gems who entertain us and provide that spark to our mundane lives – we only meet them in passing. Just like an oasis. He will never achieve greatness as it is defined. But he has achieved a level of Maverickness that has not been defined.
P.S. I Thought You Could Glimpse Through What Isaac Mendez Drew…