11th feb 2013
One phone call, One greeting and a wish come true! - RAVIVARCHI GOSHTA
Sunday . We were to have no power for 7 hrs. to 10 am to 5 pm. As per the action plan, I had rushed through the morning and finished all stuff which would remain "bijlee ke bina adhure"! This rush left me with a very bad headache. With the TV and computer not available, the others in the house sported morose lookst too.
The mobile rang . Rao kaku's number flashed. She is a very good friend of mine. She is an old neighbour. I say "old" coz she was my neighbour at the place where we stayed before we shifted to our current address. Otherwise she is jut 80 yrs young ! :-)
"Hello A...Agaa, tula Haappy Sundaaaaaaaay "she chirped. It was so unexpected, I burst out laughing. She joined in the laughter too. Such a simple greeting. Kuch aur occasion nahi hai celebrate karne ko, toh joh hai, ussiko celebrate karo !! It sure made the dull Sunday Happy!! And then the good times rolled in.
Last month I had seen a play at Prithvi along with the husband’s sister. The play was called THE DIARY OF A WORD OR HOW I PROPOSED TO MY SECOND HUSBAND ON THE 321ST FLOOR . It was written and directed by Ramu Ramanathan. He is a friend of a friend. I had been hearing of Ramu R from my friends for the past 8 -9 yrs atleast. About him being a playwright and a director. About how his plays were very compex and difficult to understand. About how the writing has a deeper meaning hidden and the challenge lay in decoding it. I remembered to keep myself alert all through the play so that I did not miss a single line and I remembered to dig for deeper meanings. The process was taxing. I forgot to enjoy the play. The fact that the S-I-L was snoring did not help. I got distracted. The play had a lot of conversation . Quips. And after a while I could not keep up with the flow.
I received an SMS from the friend who had arranged for our tickets at Prithvi. Complimentary tickets. He was a friend of Ramu’s. I couldn’t tell him the truth. I tried to bail myself out, using the time tested ruse, “acchha tha re, but thoda tough tha. Samajh mein nahi aaya poora. ” He was disappointed. The message got conveyed to Ramu , who replied, “Which parts did you not understand ? I will be happy to fill in the gaps. “
It was a perfect “chullu bhar paani mein doob maro “ moment for me.
I needed to redeem myself. I decided to see the play again. The next performance of the play was at the NCPA on the 24th of February. I decided to go and buy a ticket on the 10th of February after the booking opened. In the meantime, I was wanting to read some more of his works. To know the varied issues that interested him. Interested hi m enough to write on them. His thoughts on the same. I read several of his interviews on the net. Google Dev, helped me find a compliation of 8 plays by Ramu Ramanthan. 3 , Sakina Manzil and Other Plays. Got it from Flipkart . As I read the plays, I started liking his writings. Reading the interviews helped understand the person that he is . He did not seem so formidable now. And I developed a respect for him. Thus armed , I hoped to see the play and comprehend it and may be, communicate with him someday.
Yesterday was the 10th of February.
I thought I would book my ticket and then check out the Kalaghoda Festival too. So I picked up the newspaper to check the schedule for the day . And Voila !! The Diary of a Word was to be performed at the Max Mueller Bhavan !!!
Called up Aneeta. Woke her up from her afternoon siesta. And we both made plans to meet at Churchgate station in the evening
I left home at around 5.00pm. Carried the book with me I wanted to continue reading in the train.
At 7.00 pm we were at KalaGhoda and at 7.20 we had taken our seats in the hall at the Max Mueller Bhavan. It was then I saw Ramu. He was at the controls. The audio and lights console. I was pleased to see THE MAN in person.
I could not help but steal glances at him to see his expressions change as he saw the performance. He was smiling at some points. It was interesting to watch him watch his play not knowing that he was being watched !
About the play. I knew a bit of him now. The play would be a well thought out one. The writing would be crisp. Quippy. The approach would not be the mundane. This time I did not have the fear that I would not understand the play. And there was a bonus….., I had Aneeta by my side this time. We would have a good time talking about the play later.
The play got over. We both had a smile on our faces. We both liked it.
And then it happened…. I wanted to go and speak to Ramu. I could not make up my mind whether I should . I was not sure whether I could. I wasn’t sure whether I would… I so wanted to speak to him. To tell him I liked the play. To tell him I liked his writing. To tell him that I knew him a little better now, though we had never met . I did not want to leave.
Asked Aneeta, “aise hee jaake baat kar loon? Shall I tell him about our common friends? May be I could get this copy autographed? “ “ would I make a sorry sight?” Aneeta was reassuring. She offered to come along with me.
So we went upto him. The heart was thumpppingggg.. almost had a mind to turn back. He was talking to another man. That guy was asking him whether any of his plays were available in the printed form. And I got my moment. Ramu started on telling him about this book called 3 Sakina Manzil and I butted in, flashing my copy,” This is the one” I said, smiling a biiiiiiiiiig smile.
The ice broke. And Ramu and me, we got talking. I told him about our common friend,. That this is the 2nd time I was seeing this play. “You are brave, usually they give up the 1st time, saying it is difficult to understand.” , he said. I admitted that the 1st time I did not follow it too, so I had been planning to catch it at the NCPA and found it playing here. He Smiled a sweeeeeeeeet smile. And asked whether I understood it this time. ‘I did ‘, I said. I also told him abt having bought the book and having read a couple of plays frm the book. Also requested him to sign my copy. He held the book, straightened a teeny dog ear on the first page. I loved that gesture. He smoothened that corner and dated it. Behind the cover page , he wrote ,
“Thank you A
Also we share a great guy (NMD) on this planet, who does not see a single play of mine. So you’re brave to see a tough play twice.
Lai Lai Abhaar !”
I am absolutely pleased. For having honoured the commitment I had made to myself . For having gone today. For having spoken to him. For having had my wish come true.
I usually fear making a conversation . And after being a homebody for so many years, making a conversation with somebody outside my immediate circle is terrifying for me. . I have this huge fear of being tongue tied. I fear stuttering. I fear making a fool of myself. I would have had a 1000 mental conversations with the person, but when I come face to face, it takes a great effort to get the tongue moving. Most times I make do with a stupid grin.
This stroke of luck…. AAAAAAHHHHHH. Can’t help gloating.
No I am not star struck . more of a hero worship. about appreciating and admiring another who is doing well, something which is close to your heart . for doing it passionately . I appreciate his ‘hatkey’ thinking on the topics he touches. His sensitivity. It all came through in the book, in his play and the conversation we had with him, as Aneeta too spoke to him.
I had a satisfied grin on my face and a contented feeling in my heart .
It turned out to be a HAPPPYY SUNDAY after all !