“Movies will make you famous; Television will make you rich; But theatre will make you good”, said Terrance Mann. As I sit in solitude on a cold winter night like this, my mind starts wandering even as I start wondering. A sense of nostalgia sweeps my being. I enter a sort of trance as my heart restlessly starts visiting the lonely corridors of a building in 23 Darga Road and it invariably finds solace on what people call the stage. I have never written a piece like this. This is not the cynical article I am wont to writing. This is different. This is about my temple. This is about the place where I actually reside. This is about my temple, the stage. The stage for me is different. It is not a place where I go in search of name and fame. It is rather the place that knows the real Pulak Chatterjee. It is the place that has seen the vulnerable side of the frivolous, sprightly and smiling entertainer. The stage is a place that contains my blood, sweat and tears. The journey so far has been like living a dream but it has not been a fairy tale. Since I began my rendezvous, I have been extremely lucky to be a part of great teams. But I keep wrongly taking that luck for my brilliance. I was arrogant and all the applause and praise made me a complacent kid. Just then came the blow. For the first time I felt real pain. I realised in this great stage of life no actor is bigger than the play itself. That day the actor bled. The character remained intact but the actor cried. Knowing not what to do, I went to the stage. It was dark but it suited the feeble me. I wept copiously. My heart lacked a companion. The stage very calmly accepted all of what I had to say. It made no fuss. It neither demanded nor complained. It soaked in whatever I had to give. That very day I made a promise; A promise to be humble to myself and the stage. From that day I have never rehearsed on stage with my shoes on. Since then till tonight and maybe for an eternity and beyond, the stage has been my temple; My heart’s dearest companion. Since then whenever I have gone up on stage, I have worked hard; I have spent hours rehearsing, falling and realising how the greatest glory in living lies not in never falling, but in rising every time you fall. The sheer joy of spending unadulterated time on stage is unparalleled. People say that I’m very dedicated to the stage and devoted to my roles. Honestly, I try to give the stage my hundred percent in the distant hope of repaying it but with every passing performance, I swiftly fall in deeper debt because on retrospection, I realise without the stage I would never be the person I am. With every passing moment I understand that the stage is not meant for answering and avenging. It is too beautiful for such trivial things. So when I have found people often mocking me for crying after performing on that stage for the very last time, I just smile. I smile because I feel sorry for them for they will never know how sweet success is when you deserve it. They will never know the real value of the stage. Now the praises, claps and applause are inspiration. It is a reminder of how much it is left to fulfil. It encourages me to work harder than before because I know I can let myself down but I cannot let the people down. I realise I have to do justice to the stage. Distance, they say, makes the heart grow fonder. Though I might never be able to perform on that stage ever again yet it is never too far away from me. The stage has become a part of my system and our intimacy is beyond my own comprehension. As I come out of my trance on this cold night, I know not the implication of my erstwhile words. I know I have hardly made sense. I might have sounded like a lunatic because I’m only a seventeen year old little boy lying on the hospital bed with wide awake sleepless eyes staring at the ceiling. The doctors said they’ll take me for another of those chemotherapy cycles tomorrow. However, the greed has transformed into hunger. The impatience has taken the shape of perseverance. And as the night closes in, I begin to fathom how I have miles to go and promises to keep, though at my back I always hear time’s winged chariot hurrying near!