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Thursday, January 24, 2013

Desperate Housewife !

10th January 2013

The morning dawned as usual. Regular si subah . Dad , mom, husband and me plonked comfortably with our newspapers.

Was glancing through the mumbai mirror , events page. It had been some time since I had seen a natak. With Dinanath Natya Griha undergoing repairs, the withdrawal symptoms were stronger.. not that I  am a regular theatre crawler, but when the craving struck, there was just that one more option that I could explore. Since last year, when my bucket list has been regularly reviewed, and revisited, theatre , has begun to figure prominently. I love the theatre. The marathi at that. It matches my sensibilities. Not very pathbreaking. Not very in your face. Not frivoulous. Open to discussion. As a person, I have evolved from being a rigid one who responded only to 2 shades black and white, to a moderately accomodating one , who recognises that there are  several more colors with shades of their own and if not loving them all is atleast able to recognjse them and make her peace with them. Similarly I find the theatre scene in marathi. Open to touch topics which were taboo, explore old issues in new light and managing to not being judgemental. Most plays, you  carry home with you.  They remain in your mind.

The whole of last year , the theatre bug bugged me a lot. There have been times when I  have been to Parle on a subzi buying trip and seeing an interesting play on the bill board, have just walked in with or w/o the subzi as the case might be. And with such a history, the auditorium being closed for repairs was like a state of prohibition being declared. I had tasted blood and I wanted more.

Okkk as usual I  have digressed.

So today I happened to read that the Kabir fest had opened. Last year I had read about this fest on the last day of the fest and was disappointed that I  had missed. I did not know what to expect from this one but wanted to see what it was all about. Checked the schedule and realised I  would have to miss this one too. Except one segment which was to be showcased at the Gateway on Saturday  12th Jan at daybreak.. ( yess., i hope to catch this one at 6.30 am)

At this precise moment the husband announced that the Keli festival commences tomorrow. This is one programme he also looks forward too. The chenda players of  . So many of them together, playing their chendas together. The energy, the rhythm,, the melody, the tradition....... it is an Ahaaaa!  moment. I had last seen it atleast a decade ago at Horniman circle. Plan to catch it tomorrow.

At noon , a friend called. She had the afternoon off from work and was ready for an evening out. "Kuchh arty farty kartey hain "she said. "Natak, ya kuch musiic bisiik......the classical type" .She had touched the "dukhti rug" . So we both were browsiing the net and papers while  on the phone.

The chenda festival which she also wanted to visit, happens tomorrow. That left us with a play at Prithvi or a musical evening at Nehru Centre, with Trilok Gurtu, Pt Vishwamohan Bhatt and many others. This seemed super attractive. Called up Nehru Centre.   Yes, they had tickets for us.  No ,  they wouldn't accept telebooking. Problem. Same issue with Prithvi. I am not comfortable with using the credit card on the net.

A sort of desperation was setting in. We had the time, we had the inclination but   jaayein toh jaayeiin kahaan,,!!

Just then happend to read about a play that was doing its"shubharambhacha prayog " today. The inaugural show.  Could find only one  familiar face amongst the cast. Satish Taare. This 'star' has been a laugh riot on marathi channels and comedy shows.  This play offered the convenience of telebooking

Thought we would take a chance. We would target Nehru Centre and if things didn't click there , we had the telebooking to fall back on.

The days 'MUST DO LIST' was ferociously attacked and completed. That which could be put on hold , was put on hold promptly.

But somehow when we eventually started we wern't left with much time or energy to attempt what we had in mind. So we decided to cash in on what we had in hand and marched towards Shivaji Mandir , Dadar. The play "Eke Divshi Kaay Zaala....... a fanstastic fantasy it proclaimed. As I  type this , I am realsing that this could well be the title of this post.   :-)

We were there on time. And in the theatre at 7.30 pm. Were excited at being present at the inaugural show. Like on a blind date, what with not having any reviews to fall back on.

I love theatre. The excitement , the buzz. ...  Of the actors being live on stage, responsible for their act and that of their co - actor. Of being able to overcome stage fright, of being ready to improvise. Am in awe of the director. His vision. Of how the play is going to be interpreted and presented. The lighting, the property and how they are used in the course of the drama. I like to note it all.

The Shivaji Mandir auditorium has been redone since I had been there years ago. It is kind to the long legged ones.

It was 7.40 pm and there was no sign of the play beginning. Through a gap in the curtains my friend saw that the stage hadn't been set. Props were lying topsy turvy. They had ladders onstage with people tackling wiring issues. At 8 pm they apologised sighting tech issues. By 8.15 the 2 of us were thinking of telling them to proceed , in a 'jaise the' mode. Anyway, it was the first show,  none of us would be any wiser. And in any case they called it a Fantastic Fantasy. We would understand. 

Finally at 8.30 , they were ready. And then we weren't. Yes. We were not ready to accept the absolutely pathetic play they were performing. The lead actor, who otherwise is so much in command , on the tv shows, didn't have that commanding stage presence. The story line was lame. It was an insult to the intelligence. Yes , we knew it to be a fantasy. So we were prepared for a bit of light  comedy... silly jokes. Yes,  we would have laughed to them too. But they did not have a story to tell.  They had a bad plot.
We were disappointed. Less disappointed, more angry. What a waste of an evening!  We were angry because   we had invested so much time in this one. Right from the prep time starting at home to the time the drama ended. We were willing to give the performance a chance when it wasn't backed by a solid review.  . We assumed we would be in for a surprise. It surpirsed alright,   but not quite in the way we expected it to .

We had been desperate for an 'enriching' evening and were left poorer.

Curiosity killed the cat ,they say. We nearly died. All we were curious was to find out, EKE DIVSHI KAAY ZALA..........

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

I wish I could touch…..

I wish I could touch…..

I wish I could touch you.  Touch you once more.  Feel  the warmth on your skin.  

That day.   As you lay in the ICU.  Covered .  From head to toe.  Shrouded , I should say.  In that Solapuri Chaadar.  

They told me you had passed away.  Breathed your last.    

I had never  had  anybody  die on me.  Till that day.

I didn’t experience any emotion when they told me.  Just the words.. they  kept ringing in my ears.  “HE is  no more. “

I slid open the door . To the ICU.  I didn’t believe them.  I slid the sheet off your face.  You were sleeping.  No peaceful expression on your face.  You looked just like you slept at home - breathing laboriously, the exertion showing  on your face.   It showed now.

I  touched your forehead.  Just like I used to touch you each morning.  Each afternoon.  Each evening.  Every hour of the day.  For the fever.  To feel you breathe.  To feel you live.

Now ,  as my hand touched  your  forehead, I  feel the warmth still.  Not the warm warmth.  But the kind which is ebbing.

I touch your face.  To feel your breath.

I touch your chest.  To feel  the crackling spluttering breathing.  

It is silent in the ICU.  It is cold in the ICU.  
As are you.  Silent and cold.

I wish I could touch ..... touch you once more.   Feel you live.  Once more.

It's 12 noon. I am restless.  Am prowling around the house.   Thoughts run through the mind. What is in store for me ? How will the day end?

Am unable to concentrate on anything.

I walk into the kitchen. The daal is bubbling on the gas burner.  Ready to spill over. Concentrate, i tell myself, concentrate…I try hard. Try to focus on things at hand.. . Chop an onion here, stir the curry there.. …… No, it is not working. I give up.

I walk to the window. my eyes scan the people walking on the street. Sifting thru the crowds. Searching….

My eyes glance at the clock ticking away. the rhythmic ticking doesn't soothe my frayed nerves. Rather it further agitates me….. the sound.

The doorbell rings. I rush to the door . A smile on my lips. . Ready to beam a warm welcome

It is the dhobi.

The smile vanishes promptly.

I go back to the dal . To the rotis. Robotically, I roll them, pat them on the griddle..,, All the while my gaze is fixed to my right . Through the window…on to the street outside.

Ouchh! I yell. Patted my hand on the girdle. That hurt. The eyes sting. With the pain. Of the burn. Of having been stood up.

Morose now.

And , I spot her. Her short frame. As she cuts though the crowds, determinedly. I wait. just to make sure it is her. The heart is thumping.  Just 2 steps more and I can be sure.... come on ..come on.... my hands are clenched.

She takes the right turn, up the pathway. leaidng to my house . Now I see her . It is her. My face breaks into a huge grin. With a spring in my steps, I rush to the door. Hold it wide open .

"Yaa yaa, Sumitrabai."

 Sumitrabai.  My house help.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

 It is late in the night,

it is silent.

It's the only time I can hear my voice.

The days are busy.  

With demands on me

Some imposed.

Then some which I have imposed

On myself.

I can hear my voice, then too,

but a whisper.

I do not strain.

I let it be.

The voice is honest,

tells me nothing but the truth.

It is not what I want to hear

Not always, atleast.

It gets drowned,

in this  chaos called routine.

Suits me.

The nights are different.

I am the sole audience.

Having my undivided attention, 

The voice rules.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

It is affection I long  for
It is attention I seek
It is recognition I yearn for


That I make a difference.
My being around,
And also when I am not.
I make a difference still,
With that void that I leave behind.

I crave acceptance

I am complex.

No, Not complex
Simple, actually.
I only seek a reassurance


That I have touched

And left my imprint !

Friday, January 18, 2013

I absorb
and then reflect
Do not have a light of my own