Passion Parathas

You are in Mahabalehswar. Its the middle of the afternoon. Right there in the main market. There is a hustle-bustle in the air that the chill clime seems to struggle to ward off.

You squint your eye, catch more the air and store some smell of strawberries before you head back to the plains. You have told colleagues who would care to listen that you have gone there to ‘renew’ yourself.

There is a chatter in the air. Sound of cameras clicking. Of Bargain and memento hunters and odd tractor.

Shopkeepers invite you to buy trinkets and trumpets with an ease and swank of sophisticated socialites slipping from subject to subject in another sundry party that would get a Page 3 feature!

Amidst all the chatter, noise and sights, a song reaches your ear. Its not melodious. Its not classical. You don’t know, for you are not trained. But you don’t think it can be classical music. You are sure it perhaps will not pass the muster of the entrance gate of a music studio. Or perhaps it could.

All the same, the song grips you.

You look around. Without too much difficulty you spot the singer. An man kneading dough and making parathas. At the restaurant nearby !

You spot a small crowd outside the restaurant. They seem to be standing there to watch him make parathas. You wonder what attracts the crowd !

You wonder if its the man. A well built man singing loud enough for the market to hear is not common sight. But you realise quickly,its not about him.

You wonder if it is his antics that attract people. Antics. Of tossing up the dough. Catching it. Tossing it into the Tandoor. Picking it right back tossing it back to find the plate, so much so that it could put an established marksman to shame !

Singing all through.

You aren’t sure. Perhaps, perhaps…you think, its the song. You smile. You realise. You nod your head.

Its not the song. Yet. It is the song.

There is a song that the lips sing, when the heart is ‘in’ what you do. You don’t realise that you are singing. When they say, ‘you really are on a song’.

It doesn’t matter, what you do. Arranging clothes in a retail store, keeping books in a bank, making movies or composing music ! Or for that matter, making parathas for people that you don’t know. Or know.

When you are on a song, it shows.

You smile. You know whats missing in life. Realisation that what you were looking for is right here. You feel light.

You squint your eyes, tilt your head and ask yourself… when was the last time you were on a song !?!

Not nought !

My mind hasn’t moved from the Kala Ghoda festival. Here are two pictures. The first one of an old man. And the other of a set of young men and women ! They spoke to whoever who cared to listen. I did.

The first gentleman, recited a poem. About politics, and how corruption is fuelling a rot of everything. And he recited it with no microphone in hand. No set audience to watch his recital. No arc light to focus on him. And no expectation from anybody around. He just stood in middle of a busy section of the festival, and read his poem.

People walked by. With insensitive disdain. Worse still, not caring to notice what was happening just as they milled around. Some stopped for a second, with ‘whatever is this man saying ?’ look. And moved on. This gentleman continued his recitation.

I counted four people, who stood there and listened. A powerful poem, i thought.

The gentleman though, didn’t seem to think much of the four people who stood or the four hundred people who walked around. He completed. And walked away.

The power of poetry and the passion in the recital kept me awake that night.

At another location, there was street theatre, happening. In full swing. A small crowd had gathered. There were a set of young men and women performing. Urging people to stay awake and vote the right kind of people.

Again, no microphone, no fixed audience, no arc lights, no rosepowder. But just humans and powerful performances.

Coming in the backdrop of noises and sounds of various decibel intensity, this indeed was some performance ! To keep an audience who were just walking by, glued to what was happening there was no small task.

And as i left that place, i shook my head in wonder. There after all were people who did things, because it was the right thing to do and that it needed to be done.

Not for appreciation. Not for praise. Not for money. Not for themselves. Not for their loved one. Not for 5 minutes of fame. Not for today.

But just to ensure, that everything doesn’t come to nought !

Long after they stopped speaking, their words and their spirit continues to echo in me. I wonder why !