Saturday Features

Unrequited dreams

- Timothy Aryal
The video tugs at this universal desperation we humans share: the earnest yearning for unrequited desires

Aug 20, 2016-We humans never feel complete and are in constant search for something or someone who will be able to fill that void within our hearts. Some people resort to religion, some to material possession, but most us try to fill it with love.

Fuzz Factory Production’s latest video, Hawaijahaaj, sung by Sajjan Raj Vaidya and directed by Nhooja Tuladhar, tugs at this universal desperation we humans share: the earnest yearning for unrequited desires.

The motifs the song revolves around are made apparent in the very first verse: That the singer/protagonist’s beloved is somewhere overseas, out of touch from him, and he is determined to go see her: “I will ride a million aeroplanes to come to where you are... I don’t know how but I will come one way or another. And only with your embrace is how I will calm my restless heart.”

A shabby bicycle in what looks like the protagonist’s workshop opens up the scene in the video. He is working on a project, to construct a hawaijahaaj that will take him to his beloved. Then we are shown an ominous ball, glowing red. There on, the somber tone of the video quickly gives way to a sci-fi interplay. The hawaijahaaj is made out of the bicycle with the red ball working in an inconceivable way as the protagonist’s embarks on an odyssey to meet his beloved.

That is when the protagonist takes a metaphysical detour—from reality to fantasy—underscored by the video’s shift from dark frames to radiance. Only then are we hinted to the theme the director is working from: from a dark world of reality to the bright world of fantasy.

Hawaijahaaj tells the story of someone who can’t afford to fly on a hawaijahaaj. He is working hard in his workshop on a shabby bicycle, and clearly he can’t afford a plane ticket to wherever his beloved is. Hawaijahaaj, then, is a metaphor of an unrequited dream, of an unquenched thirst and of hopes deferred. Isn’t that what we Nepalis are living with after all? How many of us can afford to travel abroad just to meet our beloved? Then we turn our heads and resort to fantasy; here, but not quite: endlessly we stare at the fantasy world the oblong devices offer us—and we bask in the warmth of an escape from the reality.

In this video, as in life, the end is as ambiguous as it can be. After the dream of finding his love crashes, as does his hawaijahaaj, the protagonist is seen lying on bed with a blue ball and a blue comb. Does it mean that he met his beloved, finally? Or is it just his imagination? What’s more, he smiles in the end, as if in mirth. Is it that protagonist is smiling because he realises that even though there are miles that separate him with his love, imagination is always capable of bridging that gap?

What is also noteworthy is the shrewd use of colours in the video. The beloved in the protagonist’s fantasy is carrying a ball of colour blue, the colour of compassion and fulfilment, what the protagonist aims to attain through love. Whereas, he carries a red one—the colour of desire (even rage and frustration). The blue ball lurking beside the lying protagonist at the end might well be signifying the contentment he has finally received, one way or another. But there is no obvious telling point here. It is as ambiguous as any wonderful piece of art is. A video that succeeds on so many levels, aesthetically or thematically, is so rare, especially here in Nepal. Hawaijahaaj succeeds at what it tries to tell. While capturing the theme of a common Nepali desperation, it, with its deft artistic touch, renders what is abstract palpable and prods us to rethink our dreams and the notion of fulfillment.

Published: 20-08-2016 09:37

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