Retired Professor of History, Agastya Sahai, ought to be every pupil’s comeback when pulled up for daydreaming.
Sahai, the schizo, witnesses episodes through the ages, first hand. He’s lived through every peak and trough and twist, on battlefields and conflict zones, in courts and castles, at conferences and negotiations, amongst monarchs and mutineers, stockpiling every debacle; every triumph to reminisce in retirement.
History, they say, is like a labyrinth. Once you’re inside, who knows where it may lead…
To our hallucinatory professor, this is indeed, his-story.
We all dwell on yesterday.
It’s the hardest known thing to snap out of. Sometimes you just don’t. It crops up and you’re caught up.
Rummaging through the facts, drawing up multiple interpretations, battling some memories, reliving some, triumphing over some and letting others defeat you.
But then one day – today or tomorrow or the day after tomorrow, you catch up.
And although you never thought it possible, you’re able to look at it in retrospect, objectively, analytically or perhaps even more participatively.
You catch up enough to know that it’s your past. And although it may not all be in the past, you must give yourself the chance to be at peace with it, or perhaps even own it for all that it taught and made you.
Your personal history.
Intertwined with those of others, it’s history.
And good or bad, it’s important.
It’s almost always relevant.
Of the incontrovertible reality of its relevance, we need to be reminded.
SHOUT! makes place for that reminder. In a professor who puts across, in the most peculiar method of narration, the story of our yesterdays.
The herald who brings, the actor who plays out and the raconteur of our yesterdays.
Preserved in the recesses of our collective memories, in black and white in chests and drawers and bookshelves and libraries, read by the dreamy, dramatic, learned likes of Prof. Sahai,
our yesterdays are the mountains and valleys that got us here.
They are not moments in vain.
We would have to credit them for ensuring we aren’t the same. Acknowledge that we have grown and are growing. Some lessons we have learned and some we are yet to learn.
Because history – that collective story of our yesterdays is his textbook. Our textbook.
An envoy like Sahai brings us pieces from the puzzle of the days gone by. To ascertain and reassert our identities.
And very often, when humanity dwells on its past; on its history; it knows itself a whole lot better.
Professor Sahai has taken it upon himself to relive our shared past. To be the dedicated student reading that textbook. He won’t skip chapters. He’ll read every line, meet every character. May be he won’t enjoy all of it because history isn’t all that happy. Hell, some chapters will make him cry for weeks. He’ll read things he doesn’t want to read, he’ll have moments when he won’t want the pages to end. But he’ll have to keep going. Because these stories have kept the world revolving. He has to live them all and not miss out.
Literally live them all, by being them all.
You will too.
And with the characters you most relate to or the ones you even see a sliver of inside you,
You’ll sure find yourself in History.
More remarkably, you’ll find who you are today.
Even more crucially, you’ll know what to be tomorrow.
That’s when our SHOUT! comes full circle.
From yesterday to tomorrow.
With help from an Emissary in between.