2016 was literally a stuff of nightmares for those of us who live for the arts.
I don’t mean to rant about how the past year mercilessly took some of the greatest artists away from this world; we have countless of those heartbreaking articles on the internet already. While reading one of those very articles recently, I had to take a moment to acknowledge the fact that just how incredible it was that we can feel such surplus amounts of empathy, misery and sadness for the deaths of certain people who never even knew we existed. How is it, that we become so attached to a person, their craft or their portrayal of certain characters, that we personally and very seriously, bear the burden of their loss, even though we may never even have met them in person?
And I say “we” here because I know for a fact that there are millions like me in this world, who bawled their eyes out when the Grim Reaper began the torture by taking David Bowie and Alan Rickman within a matter of days in the very first month of the year. And this vicious assault continued with the demise of Glenn Frey of The Eagles, Prince, Leonard Cohen, Gene Wilder, and painfully ended with the passing of George Michael, Carrie Fisher and her mother Debbie Reynolds. I mean, come on! God must really want to teach us some twisted lesson, to do this in one single year!
So, coming back to my musing – Why do we react the way we do, when our favourite artists depart this world? Now, the answer to this question may differ for different people, but I think I’ve realised the one for me.
Because at some point or the other in my life, these artists helped me escape…
Escape from the monotony of routine life; escape from the harsh realities of people and situations; escape from burdens of responsibilities; and sometimes, even escape from my own self.
Listening to Bowie’s “Starman” always reassured me that it was okay to have an imagination that was beyond the understanding of this world. Alan Rickman walked straight out of my mind onto the big screen as Severus Snape, playing one of my all time favourite characters exactly as I’d envisioned him to be. It took me all but one hearing of George Michael’s Careless Whisper, to declare it my romantic anthem for eternity. And that judgement still remains unchanged, and probably will forever. And let’s not even go to Carrie Fisher and her iconic portrayal of Princess Leia in Star Wars. She made me feel proud to be different- a girl who was so over the whole “damsel in distress” stereotype, and gave a whole new and powerful meaning to the word “Princess.” And even though I can still experience these gems, the thought that we will never hear or see another new masterpiece from them again is almost too much to bear.
None of these artists were flawless, in fact, almost all of them battled with some or the other issue in their lives. Yet their art and work helped millions of dreamers like me cope with the insipid and unsympathetic nature of this world. Reality never appealed to any of us anyway… So now that these flawed yet beautiful souls no longer walk the earth, I can’t help but feel miserable that there will never be another chance of magic like theirs ever happening again. All I can do is cherish what they did and be thankful I got to experience the beauty of their talents. The world truly did become a little less appealing for me after 2016…