Friday, December 19, 2014

A Brother's Letter

Dada,

Forgive me for being extremely nostalgic, do you remember the Barasaat days? When you were giving your boards or something and i started playing cricket with your group in the ground below? I just remembered this one evening out of a sudden today. 

That evening i was playing with Yogesh & others and you were sitting in the balcony. Its funny how i exclaim them as Yogesh and others! Anyway, i was in the side bowling first. I got to bowl a couple of overs, only because i was your younger brother. These guys were absolutely smitten by your left arm 'god knows what' bowling, and never had a clue whether it would swing or it would spin once the ball came out of your thin left arm and stick like fingers. I, on the contrary, as you know had a very conventional right arm bowling talent, without much guile and variation, but would bowl wicket to wicket and had a good yorker. Hence, in a match within friends in a colony park, i was an useful bowler, but never the talisman you were. The two overs i bowled that day, i don't remember much, but what happened after we started to bat is what i remember clearly.

We were chasing a huge total since Yogesh had made the ball vanish quite a few times with his monstrous hits while we bowled to him. In our side too, we had these lanky boys who could hit long sixes, almost as if they were playing golf, but this evening it almost seemed as if the match was fixed. None of the hitters from our side could put bat to ball, instead, the wickets were far more consistent in connecting with the ball that evening.The ball got lost when i finally got to bat and hit the ball in the bushes. No one could find it since it was almost dark, the ball's light green outer cover had already gotten peeled and only the dark grey colored rubber had survived, thanks to Yogesh's ruthless hammering earlier in the evening and the numerous times the ball got wet due to falling in the drain next to the park. It hence became almost impossible to spot the dark grey ball in the bushes in paucity of light.


I came back & you asked me in the balcony- "They didn't allow you to bat, right? "

I replied- " No, they did, but the ball got lost.."

I did not feel like answering or explaining anymore. I felt more enraged with your question, since it was true. I was asked to bat only at the end after everyone else was dismissed, and if i had been given a chance to bat a little earlier, i would have batted longer, if not won it for my team.


I still remember the way you looked at me after asking me. I know that look, of pity, concern, love, and genuine sadness for your brother's insignificance to our playing group. And i know it wasn't only because i was your younger brother, it was also because you knew i was better than a lot of players in the ground, and that i deserved an equal chance. I know it was also because of the way you looked at the game, the way a civil engineer looks at a flyover, because you believed a good player should get a fair opportunity, and it was intolerable to you if it didn't happen.


After almost 15 years today i write about this to you, to thank you for that question. A question which gave me respect, an identity, atleast in your eyes. Sometimes, that's all it needs...


From your ignorant younger brother,

Love


Thursday, July 31, 2014

Death of a thought!

Your dad is no more with us!”
The voice, or rather the person from the other side of the telephonic conversation broke down. I kept the receiver down, not managing to put it at its correct place. I lied down on the single mattress, not thinking of the bed bugs this time, and faced the ceiling with my eyes wide open. The visual slowly became hazy, as water from my tear glands made their place just in front of my eye balls! As I shut my eyes slowly, the tears fell on the pillow via my earlobes due to gravitational force, rather than a more cinematic rolling down the cheeks! I rose after a few minutes, deciding to leave for my home town and being present for the cremation!
My father was a man of arrogance! Throughout my childhood and teens, my mother was the person I felt being with. Dad was always someone I loved to avoid! I always felt and believed that he was too harsh on me, being his kid. Only after my teens, did I start finding a person beneath his layer of rudeness and arrogance, who was genuine and soft! This was the time when I got through the Govt. Art college in Kolkata and shifted base to Kolkata, whereas my parents continued staying in Vardhaman!
I was 15 when in school once I had scored poorly in Sanskrit. Sanskrit was the only subject my mother taught me, everything else was from my father. Hence somehow scoring less in Sanskrit seemed none of my father's business. He remained extremely calm and composed, but there was the other parent. For a change, my mother found all the rudeness, after years of marriage with a rude man! She shouted at me and hit my head with her knuckles. I was too old to cry, instead I revolted, and insisted that it wasn't my fault. After some time, she gave up on me, and came to the living room, where my father was reading a newspaper so relaxed as if nothing had happened. She came to him and complained, “our son has become impossibly stubborn, its difficult to tell him anything!” I remained at the door of my bedroom, watching and listening to this. My father replied to her in the most nonchalant way possible, “let him remain stubborn, it will help him if he uses it in the right things...”.
I used it. In the right things. I became an artist and a creative designer in an ad agency, earning much more than my academically brilliant brother, who went on to become an architect. I needed to be stubborn to reach here. My father's stubbornness didn't pay him. He couldn't be stubborn when he needed to be the most. And he knew it more than anyone else. He possibly didn't even know that I overheard him that day from the bedroom, that how he unknowingly said something that remained with me all these years and helped me achieve what I wanted.
In the living room, lay my father's body, wrapped in a cold white cloth. His abdominal part had expanded and become bigger. It was strange to see him lying like that, not reacting to so many people around. He was not fond of public gatherings, avoided crowded trains and buses in his mid life before owning a car. Both his sons worked in different cities, so it was quite natural that they would take time to reach here. I had reached earlier than my elder brother. Once my brother arrived, and after he touched dad's white and stiff feet, people started hurrying the proceedings. I was asked to pick my father from his legs, along with my brother. My two other cousins picked him up from the shoulders. The wooden ply seemed unusually heavy for a single man's weight. The position of dad's left leg was next to my right shoulder, and vice versa for my brother. It was a difficult walk till we put him in a car. I decided to stay at home with my mother, who also chose not to go to the cremation ground.
A speeding ambulance killed my father. He was on his way back from office, unusually on a scooter that day, leaving behind his car for servicing. The ambulance with a patient inside it, needed to reach the hospital as quickly as possible. In order to do that, it landed up on the wrong side of the road, honking and moving at a good speed. My father, with his glasses and in his not so attentive age, must have missed the sight or sound of it. He crashed head on to the ambulance, a vehicle that is supposed to save lives! I'm not sure about the patient inside the ambulance, but my father was declared spot dead. He couldn't remain stubborn enough to live a little longer, to reach a hospital, to get treated.

Friday, December 27, 2013

The Or-Jismic Experience!

Interviewer- Hello everyone! Tonight we talk face to face with the most coveted female breather..oops..female actor right now in Jollywood ! We welcome none other than the gorgeous Cloudy Diyo-ni?

Cloudy- Hi (breathes heavily)

Interviewer- Cloudy, is there really a question mark after your surname, diyo-ni? ?

Cloudy- Yes (breathes heavily)

Interviewer- Are you a Sindhi?

Cloudy- Sorry, i don't know Hindi! (breathes heavily)

Interviewer- ahem..(clears throat)..are you asthmatic ?

Cloudy- No (breathes heavily)

Interviewer- Fine, so tell me something about your next project, what is it called?

Cloudy- the Orjism (breathes heavily)

Interviewer- And who is directing it?

Cloudy- Brohit Doori (breathes heavily)

Interviewer- How do you see yourself becoming the bust...i mean the best actress ?

Cloudy- Very (sl)eazily!! (breathes heavily)

Interviewer- Wow, you are not just confident but you are quite modest too. So are you learning hindi to make yours... i mean to make it big?

Cloudy- Haan (breathes heavily)

Interviewer- Can the audience know if you are mating....i mean dating someone?

Cloudy- (breathes even more heavily) I....I....I....(breathing heavily)
(Jumps on the Interviewer as the cameras stop rolling while they make out rolling on the floor!)





Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Double bed and double standards!

DRAWING ROOM:

Arpita- (shouts)Shona, are we going for Madhu's birthday this weekend?

Pinaki- Can you please come out of the bathroom and then speak to me? No point shouting from there, I cant really hear you, except the weekend bit!

Arpita- (shouts) alright, wait, i'll be out in a couple of minutes!

Pinaki- still can't hear you babe! (murmurs) these women are more stubborn than badly brought up kids!

Arpita- ya so I was saying..

Pinaki- (startled) What the....?? You said a couple of minutes didn't you?

Arpita- Yes, but you said you were not able to hear me at all?

Pinaki- Umm..ya...it....you know...sounds....ummm...muffled...you know??

Arpita- Ya I know! Can you hear me now baby (licks Pinaki's left ear)

Pinaki- hehehehehe...huhuhu, dont do that, i'm ticklish there!

Arpita- Ya ya alright! Listen, I was asking whether...

Pinaki- No, I have plans for the weekend!

Arpita- And why isn't Madhu's birthday amidst one of your plans? And by the way you heard me properly from the bathroom.

Pinaki- Yes I did, because you were shouting really loud, it's audible, but it's annoying! And the weekend plan was made earlier than I got to know about Madhu's party. Besides, she didn't invite me directly!

Arpita- That's alright baby, she told me to tell you! And how would it look if I go alone there?

Pinaki- Then don't go alone, come with me, i'm meeting a few friends from high school for some beer and pool!

Arpita- Do I know them?

Pinaki- You know about them!

Arpita- See? But you know Madhu, she's your friend too?

Pinaki- No, she's your friend, I befriended her because she was your best friend from college, and whenever I would come to your college, I would meet you and her together. It was not out of choice, but almost out of compulsion.

Arpita- Pinaki, this is the limit now, you are continuously being rude, and am taking it!

Pinaki- What's being rude in this?

Arpita- Why can I befriend your friends as if they are my friends and not feel obligated and you befriend my friends out of compulsion?

Pinaki- This is about Madhu, not all your friends. Why do you generalize all the time?

Arpita- No, right now its about Madhu but there have been other instances! It is pretty apparent that you don't look at my friends in very high light and think that they don't match up to your intellect or something!

Pinaki- Look, this is getting somewhere else now, you asked me whether we were going to her birthday party or not, so I said no I have other plans. Simple. Over.

Arpita- Alright! (gets up and walks out of the room)

KITCHEN:

Pinaki- Ok fine, we will go to Madhu's, alright? Is it saturday or sunday?

Arpita- Saturday

Pinaki- Oh great. I can shift my plan to sunday.

Arpita- No need, don't do me this favor. I won't force you to come with me to Madhu's if you don't want to!

Pinaki- No you are not forcing me. It is my choice. And can you look at me and talk please, instead of crushing coriander!

Arpita- It's not coriander, these are mint leaves. You don't know jack shit about cooking do you?

Pinaki- Whatever! Pay attention to me..

Arpita- Alright. Tell me.

Pinaki- I'll come with you to Madhu's, ok? Now just hear me out why I didn't want to come.

Arpita- Why?

Pinaki- Look i'm very non-cultural, if there's a word like that! I might be a bengali but i'm neither a musician nor a painter nor a poet! In fact I wasn't even a good football player. These people who come at Madhu's place are all true and pseudo intellectuals who sing beautifully and narrate great poetry written either by them or by Tagore! I don't like it there. Its suffocating for me. I only drink with my friends and gossip, that's my hanging out! Are you getting it?

Arpita- Baby I understand, but you can do what you like all the time na? This is someone's birthday, cant we manage this much as grown up individuals?

Pinaki- Precisely why I said i'll come with you!

SATURDAY EVE AT MADHU'S:

Tejas ( Madhu's fiance )- Ok who's next? We can't let this stop, just one after the other we need to keep singing, or else the whole point of a Karaoke is lost!

Lady in Rich Saree- Ok i'll try a Rabindra sangeet...i learnt during my school days!

Lady's husband – All bengalis have...that's why we are so weak in mathematics.....hahahahaha

(LOUD LAUGHTER OF THE WHOLE GROUP)

Tejas- Actually maam, I don't think this Karaoke machine has Rabindra sangeet songs fed in it. You'll have to select something from this diary, all bollywood songs...

Madhu- Arpita will you sing something? You used to be so melodious in college days!

Arpita- Haha, hardly, nowadays not even our singers sing melodiously, how do you expect me to do it?

(LOUD LAUGHTER OF THE WHOLE GROUP)

Pinaki- Excuse me?? Can I sing a song?

Tejas- Sure dude, which one?

Pinaki- Kuchh to log kahenge, Kishore!

Sunday, December 16, 2012

ATTACHED!


My sister was named after Jhumpa Lahiri, the reknowned writer, since my father was and still is an ardent fan of her writing. It is also quite significant to mention that even in one of Jhumpa lahiri's celebrated novels, called The Namesake, the father names his son as Gogol after his favorite author's surname. I believe this is what prompted my father even more to name his daughter after his favorite author.
Jhumpa, my 8 year old sister, was a very busy child. She had no time to sit. She would perennially find herself busy jumping from one corner of a sofa to the edge of another. Many of us believed, casually, that she was a boy trapped in a girl's body. At that age, one would find 'normal' girls fiddling with fancy dolls and setting up a kitchen and house with toys. At my age, which was 13 then, i believed she was some sort of a superwoman, who could even jump from one terrace to another. Atleast that's what she made me believe once. Yes, that was one more positive/negative about her. She would lie so confidently that even Christ would think thrice before doubting her. I was definitely a mere and much lesser mortal, plus i was also naturally unintelligent about most things. Though i was the elder brother, when she was around me, she would tell me more often than not on how to go about things. It was evident to all of us that she was blessed and possessed a brain with which one could call her a prodigy! It was hence, very natural for me to be the subdued sibling, more so once i started understanding her gift, and my gift-less-ness, if there's a word like that. My father doted jhumpa, needless to mention Jhumpa Lahiri, but even my sister. Not that i was not loved, but she was the apple of his eyes.It was very kind of my parents, that even after all this, i never felt neglected. Infact, with all my modesty, i had gained the maturity to understand that she is the 'one' in the family, like Morpheus from 'The Matrix' would say. Hence, even i had not attained the feeling of jealousy on her being the more loved kid. Though there was this one time, only once, when i felt that why wasn't the favorite author of my father a guy, thinking that probably then he would have named me after the author's name. My father was absoltely certain of the logic that anybody named Jhumpa cannot be ordinary, forgetting the basic biological fact that a person is what he/she is due to their genes, not because of their names. He was 'the' father, after all.
I was travelling with Jhumpa in a DTC (delhi transport cooperation) bus one afternoon back from school. This was one of those many times we had to skip our school bus while returning home due to some extra-curricular classes we had in school post school time. Our residence was around 4 - 5 bus stops away from school, which would take us around 20 minutes to travel that distance. Both of us sat together in a more or less half empty bus, trying to avoid direct sun and chosing our seats keeping in mind the mildness of the hot afternoon sun! We ended up sitting on the seats closest to the back door of the bus, which is used for commuters to board. If rules were to be followed strictly, we would have to go down right upto the mouth of the bus, opposite the driver and de-board the bus from the front door. But i presumed since the bus was half empty, there was no need to obey this so rigidly. The conductor came and i paid for a couple of tickets after he asked us our destination.
I had recently began reading Jhumpa lahiri's "Interpreter of maladies", on my father's recommendation. Although i had initially opposed saying she writes stuff for adults, my father convinced me that if i read her work genuinely, i would find enough meaning even at my age. I used to carry the book since then with me in my school bag, reading it whenever i would get free time in and after school. I took it out in the bus, the real jhumpa sitting with me gave me a look that said "you showing off!". I didn't bother about how she felt and began reading from where i had left over the previous night. Slowly but surely i got engaged with the grip and pace of the story, completely ignoring where we had reached. Jhumpa pulled my shirt to make me realise that we need to get off, as i noticed that we were not even 50 metres away from our stop. I suddenly panicked without much reason. I didn't feel there was enough time for me to keep the book back in my bag, so i kept it in my right hand, held Jhumpa's right hand with my left, and decided to get off from the back door of the bus. I noticed our bus not slowing down near the stop. I panicked more.I screamed at the driver to stop but he screamed back at me, asking why didn't we come to the front door, and now he can't stop before the next bus stop.I decided that both of us would have to jump to get off, or else we would end up getting off at a distant place from where i would be unsure on how to get back to our home. But if i would jump earlier, there was no certainty that Jhumpa would be able to jump too in time, so i asked Jhumpa to jump first, and assured her i would follow her by jumping myself. The driver and the conductor of the bus didn't seem to care and were busy gossiping amidst themselves while the bus kept moving at a decent speed. The bus crossed our stop as we kept looking and now it was now or never, as i screamed out of my lungs, JHUUUUMPAAAAA, JUUUUMMPPP!!
I woke up in a white room and white bed, my body covered with a white bed sheet. It took me around a minute to realise i was in a hospital. My mother and my father sat next to me, with visibly swollen eyes. It was apparent they had been crying for a long time. I looked around and searched for Jhumpa. My father understood whom i was looking for. Then i looked at him in his eyes, which told me everything.. I had succeeded in jumping safely. We had lost Jhumpa. The rear wheels of the bus had crushed Jhumpa to death.
It took me years to believe and realise i don't have a sister anymore. My father stopped reading altogether. I recently came across this short story by Jhumpa Lahiri, called 'Hell or Heaven'! I broke into tears, just by reading the title.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

HOW MUCH TIME?

Waiter: Sir, would you like to order something?

 Me: Ya, could you give me 5 minutes, i'm actually waiting for someone.

Waiter: Sure sir! (leaves)

(In a while)


 Lady : Excuse me, siddharth?

 Me: Yes, annapurna?

Lady : Yes...

Me: Oh sit, sit...

Annapurna: thanks, i'm sorry i'm just a little late, couldn't find the restaurant at first.

Me: But you said you've been here before, didn't you?

 Her: Yes, but i said that to avoid embarassment, hehehe...

Me: hahahaha...that's ok! Excuse me dinesh..... dinesh....

Waiter: Yes sir?

Me: Yes now we can order,give me the menu card please!

Waiter : Sure sir, here you go..

Me : Annapurna, will you like a drink?

 Her: ummm.. what are you having?

 Me: LIT

Her: what's that?

Me: A long island ice tea.

Her: oh, i'm pretty bad at abbreviations, i will also have that ice tea

Me: No, but its called an ice tea, its actually a cocktail, with a mixture of quite a few liquors.

 Waiter : (interrupting) Sir, please take your time, call me when you've decided.

Me: yeah alright....(to annapurna) these waiters these days are more occupied than the indian football team!

Her: How do you know his name?

Me: He has it written on his vest coat, there's a small badge, a nameplate kind of a thing. i don't like people whistling or making kissing sounds to call waiters, so i make it a point to know their names, if they don't have a badge that is. Anyway, ya so LIT is a cocktail. You will have a normal ice tea or some juice?

 Her: ok, i will have ummm..one IT

 Me: hahahaha, ok! Dinesh.... (to waiter) one long island ice tea for me and one just plain ice tea for the lady.

 Waiter: yes sir!(leaves)

 Me: so annapurna, what else has to be revealed about us besides what we've written on shaadi.com ?

 Her: A lot actually. But i don't think it will happen in one evening. Now that we've met, we can do this often and slowly we shall have a fair idea of what we are getting into.

 Me: True, i like your directness.

Waiter: Your drink sir, your drink ma'am! (leaves)

 Me: Cheers!

Her: Cheers!

(After 4 months)


 Me: Annu, i'm planning a 3 day vaccation with friends to kerala. i wanted to ask you whether you are keen on joining us, as in joining me?

 Her: Listen sidd, if i do that, then it would mean that we are dating, and are taking this forward!

 Me: Arent we?

Her : i dont think we are dating, i mean common u'vnt even proposed me.

 Me : oh do i need to? why are we here? i thought this was mutual, we dont need to ask each other out and stuff, becuse we met through shaadi.com, the whole purpose of our meeting each other was to hook up!

 Her: And who told you we have? i told you the very first time i met you that it will take time.

 Me: So you need more time?

 Her: Naturally!

 Me: Its not very natural. Girls usually dont take so much time to like me.

 Her: Oh really? that's why you needed a Shaadi.com to look for a partner?

 Me: Shaadi.com was not my need, it was just greed.

Her : Ok relax and breathe.
Ok, now dont frown....sidd? you once said you liked my directness, now why are you so irritated?

( 1 week later, on phone)


 Me : hello? annu? why weren't you picking up?

 Her: I was cooking yaar,tell me!

 Me: Annu, i love you!

 Her: Ok.

 Me: what ok? do u too?

 Her: Ya i love myself too.

Me:  Common yaar, you know what i mean!

Her: Yes i do

Me: what? you love me???

 Her: No Sidd, i said yes i do know what you mean.

 Me: so you don't love me?

Her: Sidd, i love you as a friend!

 Me: Now what the fuck is that supposed to mean?

 Her: Sidd, chill. it means you're a friend, not more than that! and i love you like that.

 Me: Now what do i do with that?

 Her: You can't do anything about it Sidd, you just have to let it be. Anyway, i'll call you back some time, i need to get back to the kitchen, bye , cya!

 ( After 2 months)


Her: listen sidd, i need to tell you something

Me: Yeah, go ahead.

 Her: There's this guy i met last week through Shaadi.com, called Shomik.
 (pause)
 Her: (continues) We like each other.

 Me: Ok, that was quick, how come you took so much time with me?

 Her: Sidd, it has to be natural, you don't need equal amount of time to fall in love with everyone!

 Me: love? you just said like?

 Her: You are making it difficult now, we tried our best and it didn't work out. So we need to move on, me, you, both.

 Me: but i dont want to move on, i'm in love with you, i was waiting for you for so long to reach where i've reached.

Her: that's the point sidd, i couldn't, and i can't discuss this further. I've found a great friend in you. i really expect you to understand.

 Me: i'll try (leaves)

 Her : Sidd.....Sidd...

( After 2 weeks, on phone)


 Her: hello? Sidd are you alright? you havn't called me or replied to any of my texts since the last time we met?

 Me: yes, you wanted me to move on, this was my way. I cant speak to you all the time and move on simultaneously.

Her: Look Sidd, i'm sorry,

 Me: Just give me some time Annu, please!

Her: Alright, bye, take care.

Me: Ya you too, Bye!

 ( After 4 years,in a shopping mall)


 Me : (to a lady) Excuse me...???

 Lady: Yes (turns).....
 (pause)

Lady : Siddharth..

Me : Yes, i recognised you from the escalators. How are you doing annapurna?

Her: Oh it is such a pleasant surprise!

 Me: Ya it is, let's have coffee?

 ( Coffee shop)


 Her: Where have you been?

Me: Well, lots of places actually..

Her: like?

Me: delhi, bangalore, vizag...

Her: doing what?

 Me: I kept getting transferred... what about you? how is Shomik? Heard you guys got married soon after you guys met.

Her: Yes, but now we are not together.

Me: as in? you guys are divorced?

Her: Ya, we got it done a couple of months back.

 Me: Can i ask you the reason?

 Her: Sure. i dont know how to put it. Shomik had a wide friend circle, and posh! They had parties every weekend, where alcohol and marijuana was consumed without hesitation. Inevitably at the end of every party, shomik would be out, like extremely intoxicated. Once, during such a party, he passed out, and i had to drive back home. He seemed to take it very casually when i told him this the next day. It didn't go very well with me. So to take a stand, i refused to go with him the next time. As usual, he got terribly high till the party got over. He was driving back home, when the cops caught him. He was arrested for a day and then released. We also had to heavily bribe the cops, or else he could've been behind bars for a lot many days. But he didn't stop. In the next three years, he repeated the incident nearly 5 times, and got away by heavy bribing. I just one day refused to stay with a criminal !

 Me: You guys have any kids?

Her: No, and thank God for that!

( After 3 months,on phone)


Me: hello, Annu? are you there?

 Her: Yes, tell me?

Me: Listen, Annu, you have 5 minutes?

 Her: Yes, what's the matter?

 Me: ok, cool. i just wanted to ask, you are single right?

 Her: Yes Sidd, i thought you knew that, why all of a sudden?

 Me: I want to propose you again Annu, i've not been able to move over you, i guess its very apparent as well. And now that you are through with the shomik shit and all, can we get together now? which i think we should have a long time back?

 Her: Sidd, i really respect this from you, but i've just come out of a horrid association wid my ex-husband. I need some more time.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Kya Baat!!

"Why aren't the gates open yet? it's 6:45, at 7 the concert's gonna begin right?" i screamed at the security guard on the gate.
"We have not been asked to open them!" he replied to my utter angst.
Siri Fort auditorium at khel gaon marg was hosting a special concert that evening,that of Pt. Ajay chakravarty and Ustaad Rashid khan together in a mouthwatery jugalbandi. It was something that all hindustani classical music lovers would have dreamt of. Two genius vocalists, each of them masters of their art, flag bearers of their respective gharanas! i had purchased the tickets almost a month back for this, and i had spent sleepless nights for the last 4-5 nights anticipating the magic that was about to happen on the D-day. The huge queue outside the gate was frightening, literally. We were waiting outside now nearly for an hour, and hence my tempers went soaring high when just 15 minutes away from the concert we were not allowed in. But on a very contradictory note, i was also pretty pleased with the turn out. i mean, this was no Metallica, Hindustani classical vocalists are not common man's popular artists! Though i must include, the people standing there in the queue were the high society, rich kurta and silk saree wearing, C R park inhabitant bengalis, who have not heard of Raj kumar Hirani but know what brand of smoking pipe Satyajit Ray used!
We finally entered exactly at 7. Needless to say, the concert began 15 minutes late than the scheduled time. As soon as i entered, i came back to my jovial mood which had disappeared for an hour when we were standing in the queue. I was with my singer friend Sankalp, fondly known as Tiwari(his surname) amidst his friends. after we sat, and before the concert began, in those five minutes, i narrated my previous experiences of listening to Ustaad Rashid Khan and Pt. Ajoy Chakravarty individually. As i narrated, suddenly to both of our horror, there came in our row a small kid with his dad, and then sat next to us. This for both of us was going to be a painful evening, because of our past experiences of kids in such concerts or art films, where they cry loudly and spoil the entire ambiance and mood. We started praying to the almighty as soon as they sat next to us, that 'Oh God, please let this baby be the surprise performer of the night, who sleeps throughout silently!' a lot of people from the accompanying rows also looked at the father-son, with a lot of apprehension and fright. But at least for then, the kid seemed peaceful.
Pandit ji and Khan sahab began the concert, and to my utter delight, with Raag Hamsadhwani. It is one of my all time favorite raagas! The evening slowly but surely was turning into this magical time i was having with Tiwari, as Pandit ji and Khan sahab, after a beautiful Alaap and Vilambit laya composition, began the famous madhya laya composition in Hamsadhwani, that being "Laagi lagan pati sakhi sang". The sweetness of the composition has always moved me beyond limits, and Pt. Ajoy chakravarty with Ustaad Rashid khan singing the piece was literally orgasmic! And then between all the 'kya baats' and 'waahs' from the audience, i saw tiwari looking almost at me. i use the word almost, since he wasn't looking at me. He was looking at The kid who sat next to me with his father. I too turned my head towards them now, and understood the reason for tiwari's sudden break of concentration. The kid had woken up. Let me exaggerate a little, me and tiwari started sweating with panic. Now was approaching the moment of horror which we dreaded all evening. Others too in our row and behind us noticed our panic, and participated in panicking!
And then suddenly the kid looked at all of this with big eyes, made a disgusting face and opened his mouth to cry out load. All this happened in ultra slow motion, and just when we were about to lose our entire composition's juice with a whaling cry from the kid, he cried in the same scale of the composition, no kidding, trust me, he cried in C sharp scale. Everybody in the audience in those 2-3 rows who were so disturbed the entire evening with the thought of the kid crying, shouted together, "KYA BAAT"!!