Monday, May 23, 2011

Eclipse with a little streak of a tiny star

It has been an odd few days. I don't know how long it's been since I have been feeling...well...odd. It's like I have so many options, but I still feel stuck. I feel like going everywhere, but I also feel like staying on the terrace, sipping a lemon and honey concoction all day. Sometimes things happen, though, that stop the drama of dichotomy for a little while.

A couple of days ago, I had a really nice tea-time session with my neighbor. We met on the terrace and brought a couple of treats along. Mine were store-bought, of course. (Kitchen and I go as well together as Dracula and Mary Poppins - and even they have a better chance getting along.) A couple of All-American muffins from CCD and a bowl of vegetable hakka noodles made at home. My neighbor got a platter of really tasty mushroom toasts topped with slivers of strong cheese.

We chewed the fat as the weather got moody. At some point in our conversation, the light fell behind her head. In an instant, she glided from being a cheerful, mommy-to-be to this evanescent figure you'd want to see in stained glass. Her other baby joined us a little later and got very curious about the muffin. (It was nice, by the way - moist with a tea-cake texture.)

By the time we finished off the last of the crumbs, this melancholic restlessness was numbed for the time-being.

It acted up again the next day. As providence would have it, A and her husband were going to NCPA for a show that evening. She invited me along and I said yes. Wrapped up my work really quickly and headed off. Now, it was a 7:30 show and I reached VT around 5:45. So, with a long time to kill, I decided to take a bus instead of cabbing it to Nariman Point.

The bus I  took was headed to Colaba bus stop, but it went via Sassoon Dock. I think the last time I'd gone there was when I was nine or ten with my father. I love docks. I hate docks. They are delciciously dangerous, with sturdy, crude men and huge ships. But that buzz of industry and 'bigness' is unmistakable. It's like watching the nuts-and-bolts side of magic. As the bus weaved in and out of narrow lanes through Sassoon Dock area, I felt a shiver up my spine! These roads were just as I remembered them - labrynthine and heavily fogged with secrets.

When I reached NCPA, though, it was still way too early. I sat in their hot waiting area where a single fan droned on. The simple 'basicness' of town is what touches me the most. There is enough money in the NCPA zone to have that spot fitted in with a hundred ACs. But that hasn't happened. And it's not een as if that place is uncomfortable. It's just slow and quiet. You get sweaty, you rummage through your handbag for a scrunchy to tie up your hair. You adjust the plastic seat  to be in direct line of the fan breeze. It doesn't work. So you go into the bathroom and splash yoru face with water. You come out feeling fresh and just a little peckish. You get a cute little glass of cold coffee and a plate of samosas and the world is good again. It has always been.

I sat on my chair, taking my little sips and bites and watching the people trickle in. They were mostly over 50 and carried with them this...I don't know how to put it...this fragrance that spelt class. All wore crisp cotton or linen. There were parrot green saris with little flowers embroidered in Jaipuri pink. There were mirror-work sewn discreetly on the hem of calf-length linen skirts. There were sari blouses that were cut as formal shirts (with collars and cuffs). There were oxidized bangles with aquamarine stones and pearl studs and solitaire pendants. That 'class' that I detected? It was all muted, but unmistakable.

After a good hour of people-gazing, I got a call from my friend telling me she was running little late and could I go pick up the tickets? So I had to go around NCPA to the other side - the Tata theatre area. And the world changed. It flipped to its completely opposite side. Now, there were spotlights and young people and cameras flashing (this was all for the Cyrusitis show). There was noise and brightness. Women with glossy hair, shiny lips and patent-leather heels posed. Men with spiked, gelled hair and animal-print shirts posed. After a whole lot of posing and posturing, we all trooped inside the theatre and the show started.

Now, here was my problem with Cyrusitis. The puns were a little dated and I, frankly, have had it with jokes about North Indians. I think unless someone comes up with a new angle on this front, there must be a moratariam on the cliches. Ditto with sex jokes. But what really bothered me about this show was that it was too big. It didn't have to be. Ideally, NCPA Experimental or the Little Theatre would have been better. But the Tata theatre stage was far too huge for a show of that standing or calibre. Maybe I would have liked it more if the setting was more intimate. The way Prithvi is. This auditorium setting was too jarring.

Anyway, after the show, we dined at Le Pain Quotidien. I really wanted my friends to eat at Woodside Inn, but it was crazy crowded at the time. Le Pain Quotidien was the only place we could get a seat without waiting. A and husband seemed to enjoy their dinner, while I preferred my dessert a lot more. For the main course, I had ordered some broken wheat with tofu and roasted vegetable medley. It was nice, but a little too constructed for me, I suppose. Also, too healthy. I think the entire preparation was managed with just one teaspoon oil. And that didn't exactly gel with my mindset at the time, which was: "If there's no butter, it's all bullshit." Thankfully, the warm homemade breadpudding more than made up for it. It was wholesome, rich and tasty.

So that has been my last few days. Lengthy spans of cool darkness with scratches of brittle light.


subbulakshmistoned said...

I love how food makes a quiet but powerful entry into your posts!!

Mukta said...

:-) he he!