It started off well enough. With just a 15-minutes delay. Which isn’t alarming by our standard. The resident bengalee community was regaling themselves with the splendor of dakais (sarees), kantha-work silk kurtas and enough gold to put fort knox to shame. The evening air was cool and crisp with no threat of rain. Greetings of “shubho nobo borsho” abounded. Most importantly, the ubiquitous screaming unruly toddlers ambled about with no concern for either the entertainment or the excitement that their parents shared. New-age parenting must be.
The cultural program began. The stage wasn’t wobbly. The sound system cooperated. The light guy knew what he was doing. Must mention this is a rarity in itself. Usually the technicians are local and have no comprehension of the language and goof ups because of it, are common. The singers sang surprisingly well and the dancers were well coordinated. Everything was going as planned. Now it was time for the bangla natok (play). Ten minutes into it, I miss my cue. The practiced script went blank. Hell! The others on stage are staring at me. Few seconds and a couple of heartbeats later I manage to squeak something that wasn’t completely out of sync with the scene. Praise the Lord! My ‘stage -brother’ glares at me but the rest of the cast catches on to the improvisation. All’s well. But moments like these are not meant to last.
“Mommy forgot the d-i-a-l-o-g-u-e-e-e !!!”
My six-year-old screams sitting in the front row (and now standing) and pointing a finger at me on stage. At least a dozen pairs of eyes turn towards him. I hear a few loud giggles. Ignore, I tell myself. But he wouldn’t give up till some one acknowledges his opinion. Why did I ever take him to the blessed rehearsals? Last I saw, he was being gently dragged by my mother, who had a hand covering his mouth.