Friday, January 3, 2014

Immortality, my dear Watson.

Way back in 1903, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle had to bring him back to life. Because people pestered him until he did. But that wasn't the last time he was going to reincarnate.
When Sir Arthur had published the first story (A study in scarlet) in 1887, he probably had no idea what legend was he giving birth to (or maybe he did, with his genius powers of deduction).

I had first come across Holmes in a dusty little book from my school library. Dear old Ma'am. Bhardwaj had thrust it in my hands and roared,
"Sale, how come you haven't read Holmes? Take it!"
And I took him home. Ended up staying up late, missed out on two lunch breaks, one PT period and my sanity. Before long, he began filling up the void in my life.

As first, it was just the interesting observations and the astounding mysteries. Then, his charisma drew me closer. This logical, seemingly cold blooded, classic British man ... gave me butterflies.
He was Howard Roark, Hannibal Lecter, James Bond and Dr.Jekyll all rolled in one. And, he could play violin.
Feluda, Poirot and many others came and went. But he remained the ultimate master.

I thought I was done with him when I flipped through the last pages of 'The case book of Holmes'. But, I couldn't have been more wrong.
He returned on television. The charming Jeremy Brett ( and I remember my mom got hooked to Holmes too).
The hound of Baskervilles kept returning, in countless movies and TV series ( at the cost of my torrent limit getting over early).
And then Mr.Robert Downey sexed up Holmes. And the entire world swooned over him (all over again).
The latest brilliant modern age adaptation by BBC ( starring benedict cumberbatch), is another feather in Doyle's cap.

So, what is it about Holmes? He is an unlikely hero. No superpowers, no particularly striking sense of style, not over-the-top good looking (if you go by Doyle's modest descriptions).
No love affairs to flare up his image. No kung fu, no gadgets, not exactly humble and nothing supernatural about him too.

Holmes appeals to the scientist in all of us. The hope that we all possess powers that we have not explored yet. He is an example of the heights to which man's intellect can climb.
He inspires nothing but awe, undistilled raw awe. He is as significant today, as he was two centuries back.
He personifies the fact that there exists no greater power than that of the mind. Gadgets, methods, missions and time can change.
But as long as you have a clear focused mind, nothing is impossible.

He shall continue to reincarnate and teach us all. But to most of us, he shall always be the overcoat clad, Deerstalker donning, lens holding, pipe smoking, violin playing 'consulting detective' from 221B Baker Street.