Outside a "fun" school for kids I saw a board saying they took kids in for
Play school,pre school, nursery,L.Kg and senior Kg. Now is this how many levels that kids go through before entering std.1? so when exactly do they start - right on the day they are discharged from the maternity ward?There was also something on the same board about "young achievers" in the age group of 5 to 10. So the pressure to "achieve" starts from that level!!
That same evening,while waiting for asha and company before the Indian ocean & strings show at IIM, amboj and I did receive a lot of curious glances from the 20 something crowd waiting impatiently to get in.
But the best part came at security check point. Amboj opened her bag to reveal the contents when she saw asha's being checked but the supervisor quickly walked over,stopped her and asked her and me to pass. We heard her scold the younger security, "don't stop the senior citizens!!" yeah, that is us!!
So you start your race of life , the "achievement" path sometime around 2 plus when you have bladder control and can speak . And at 45, when you stop running because you suddenly realise ther IS no race, you are a senior citizen.
When does one actually have fun??
Jagjit was melting hearts on a moonlit night in the open garden of IIM.Wonder if God cast that voice in gold and wrapped it in velvet before putting it in ( well, souvik, THAT voice needs a God!) A voice meant for singing about love, life and God - the theme of all ghazals and the result was magic. People of all ages were remembering the time they first fell in love or if they did not have the experience , they were falling in love with love itself.(It was agelessbonding!!-like what he sang in one of the songs: "na umr ka seemayein; na janm ka) The setting was perfect, the weather was just right and there was love everywhere. But then there was a separation between the singer and the listener - a clear gap.It was a brilliant performance but a "performance" nonetheless.
And then it all changed when he switched to punjabi folk music.The audience became part of the performers, adding the ahas and ohos at the appropriate moments and danced. That was lovely. The abandon, the participation, the obliteration of distinctions - you did not need to be a professional,it was souls dancing to their inner music, a complete identification. Joy filled the air.
It is extremely cathartic to let go and sing and loosen up completely and dance to the music making your own steps. Most villages and tribal cultures have this tradition- time we revived it to relieve all the stress that city life imposes.
Anyone willing??Aha! oho!!
Accompanied Vaish on an important mission before the class last saturday - changing the water and food for Kitkit, Anita's cat as she was away doing Tsunami relief work at chennai. Both of us were nervous to say the least as we hadn't the tiniest clue about cat behaviour. On top of it Anita had warned that kitkit waits behind the door when she hears it being opened and charges out as soon as it is. The last thing we wanted was to lose her cat as we were pretty sure we would never know how to coax her back if she decided to charge out. So we opened the door ever so gently like two thieves and entered the apartment with our hearts going thud thud thud. No sign of a cat....I lay flat on the floor in each room and turned my head around looking for something like a stuffed toy....Nothing.....Sniffed around...couldn't smell a thing...Finally I sat in one corner and started chanting what I thought was cat language "....psss...pssss...kitkit...kitkit...where are you..pss.pss.." And it worked....There was a plaintive "meeeeeeeeeeaaaaaaoooowwww" and it was not particularly friendly...perhaps my pronounciation was so awful that she decided to protest ( happens all the time in French class!!!)
Then a tiny white thing peeped from behind the fridge assessing my philistine self. I was shaking as I obvioulsy smelt of Amigo who was all over me just 15 minutes earlier and Saba. Fortunately Kitkit just concluded that I was too weak to confront and slowly marched past me while fixing her gaze on me as i withdrew more and more into the wall...and I called out to Vaish that she had emerged.Vaish was so excited that she did the most sacrilegeous thing: she said, " nice puppy.. where are you?" yes,she actually said "puppy" and that was it!! Kitkit decided to hide herself from us for ever and never said another word or came out until we finally left after changing her food and water. I bet she later complained to Anita about her taste in friends!!!
God, we were miserable and shaky for people who communicate with dogs so effortlessly. Thanks to the hype that cat lovers do about the superiority of cats, we felt like slum dwellers looking at people from page 3. And the worst part it, cats seem to believe it too.....god, wonder which paper they read....

"Thousands of years ago, cats were worshipped as gods. Cats have never forgotten this."

They sit in the park benches placed around the walking path - these very old people,in sweaters and mufflers,alone.Sometimes two of them share a bench without uttering a word to each other. Would you forget words if nobody spoke to you for days on end?I look for the feeling behind those faces - are they sad, are they worried, are they contented? Or do they just wait helplessly and alone with only Death to claim them as his own?
What happened to all the people who they thought "belonged" to them, the ones with whom they laughed and cried and LIVED? These faces betray no emotion - they look like faces in a long shot,indistinct;lost to the present and future, they seem frozen in some remote past.
Perhaps they do not have use for their "feeling" faces in a world where no one seeks them out.Do they keep them "in a jar by the door"* to be worn when someone from their past drops by to see them and talk to them?

Eleanor Rigby (The Beatles?)

"Ah, look at all the lonely people!
Ah, look at all the lonely people!
Eleanor Rigby picks up the rice in the church where a wedding has been
Lives in a dream
Waits at the window, wearing the face that she keeps in a jar by the door
Who is it for?
All the lonely people
Where do they all come from?
All the lonely people
Where do they all belong?"
Have you been on Bannerghatta road recently - specially the part that leads from JP Nagar to IIM? Yeah, the potholes have been covered,a layer of tar has been poured and the road is divided and looks broader. People driving the economy (as well as qualis vehicles and fancy cars) to and from call centres and Mantri Paradises look happier - at last "Bangalore is catching up", they say!
Only the birds sit pensively on the corner temple looking lost.They are confused by the sudden disappearnace of those large trees that used to line the side of the road which used to be their home or rendezvous point - now gone with only the stumps left to mark their graveyard!Those trees under which you knew you could find the tender coconut and mango venders on summer afternoons, under which the cobbler sat with his dog; those trees that were covered in red and yellow and lavender every now and then adding colour to your day; where you stopped your scooter and waited for the rain to stop while taking in the smell of water mixed with the leafy barky smell of the tree.
Of course all this was when Bangalore was a small town - now it has grown big and perhaps needs to "catch up". In any case people do not have the time to listen to the birds or watch the colours on the trees - their cars need broader roads.
Perhaps this is a small price to pay for all the dollar income from the call centres and technology companies!