Memories - we seem to make them what we want them to make us seem. It is easy to be all tall and proper and revel in the warmth of old childhood joint-family memories, eating mangoes, picking heavy mattresses and carrying them through narrow staircases, but now living in a huge apartment with only one and a half persons.
The Blue Mug is a devised piece of theatre in which actors Rajat Kapoor, Sheeba Chadha, Munish Bhardwaj and Vinay Pathak go down the path of their personal memories - their childhood, adolescence and youth, and also immediate past in their middle age.
The play depicts the larger canvas of Indian memory through monologues and improvised scenes between the actors. The four actors struggle to construct themselves on the basis of what they remember; reflecting in a theatrical manner the image of India, its history, its people and its joys and turmoil as seen through the memories and confabulations of these artists.
They present themselves as they are, as they were; the actors narrate memories that are specific to their past and that are rooted in their social, political and cultural upbringing in postcolonial India. Their recollections range from childhood memories in the lanes of Old Delhi to the terraces of Bihar; joint families in Saharanpur to casualties and celebrations in New Delhi…from adolescence spent in rural India to youth in urban Indian urban universities. They struggle to separate the truth from the fiction of their past and present themselves here and now. This can easily be said to be the truest, most candid and truthful depiction of Indian identity in the form of theatre.
The play also depicts a story of a patient from Punjab who travels to Mumbai with his family and then loses his memory. He tends to remember things only prior to his 20th birthday. He is now 40 years old. The doctor treating him then takes on to himself to unravel the beauty in his memory loss.
Echoing this are Ranvir Shorey and Konkona Sen Sharma who play a doctor and a patient of memory loss. They evaluate the journey of this patient whose journey from war-ridden Kashmir to Punjab to Mumbai is depicted in a very funny yet poignant manner.
If only Sacks knew what to do for his patients, if only Sacks knew what we do to his essays, if only you knew the sincerity behind each fabrication that we, with integrity, confabulate for you…if only I knew what I just said…if only, only if...if only.