At the end of a particularly rotten day, nothing helps more than a good cry. It helped that I chose a movie to do it over and my best friend to do it with. So it didn’t matter that we chose single screen over multiplex. It didn’t matter that we had to buy tickets from a sandwichwallah at a 200% premium (they were still cheaper than what I’d pay at a sterile multiplex). It didn’t matter that the décor was kitsch, the elevators missing, and that there were grotesque planetary delights for murals. It didn’t matter that we had to buy Bobby chips and Saiganga water. It didn’t matter that ‘upper stall’ was all we could manage and the alleged 'back row' seats turned out to be the fifth row from the front.
What mattered was that the tears were real, and they came gushing. What mattered was that the crowd was cheering a little boy trying to paint as much as they were the entry of a really famous Khan. What mattered was that the whistles, the claps, the standing ovation, the wet handkerchieves - was all spontaneous. What mattered was that nobody in the theatre was afraid to cry. Yes, the movie was Taare Zameen Par. And I went home happy-sad after a really good cry.
This Saturday afternoon, I turned into a consummate voyeur— sipping my Rose, listening to English music on radio (yes it’s back on one station at least) and staring at the thriving ecosystem outside my window. There is Ismail the squirrel, Abdullah the crow, Ganpat the pigeon, Swamy, the parrot. It should be mentioned that the names are collective, ie all squirrels are called Ismail..and so on… There are also various ornithological marvels who I don’t know the names or taxonomies of. And before I get assaulted by communities for hurting their sentiments, let me say that the names were spontaneous and had no hidden agenda.
As I was in my voyeuristic mode, I saw one indeterminate bird, with orange breasts, green plumage and sleek black mouth doing unmentionables to attract the attention of the female of the species. (BNHS, please help..).I suddenly felt a spot of pity—because, despite their drop dead good looks, the male of the species still had to play a hard wooing game. Suddenly I viewed the women birds with new eyes — they seemed to be going for the real stuff — like finding out how resilient is their man, how long can he hold out, how deep is his affection, how superficial are his looks…Go bird, go!
Closer to humanity, I haven’t seen the wooing game in a long time. The two and a half times that I have played cupid were disasters. On the other hand, the men are complaining there are no women and the women complaining there are no men. May be they should all go bird watching. No pun intended.