Poor three vedic chanters, sitting up on stage yesterday, at the last ceremony -- my grandmother's prayer meeting -- wiping their sweat with their brahmin wash cloths, their turkish towels ('gaamchas'), but still, chanting away.
Poor fabulous sitar lady and her hymns that made me cry, she also - no respite from the damn heat.
Not so much the damn heat as the damn fuse and the no power back up at the, dare I?, the damn Arya Samaj mandir! God, it was torture! How can you have no power back up? Or rather, how can WE, the moronic family of the bereaved, not ensure stupid fuses won't blow and if they blow they better be fixed in time to not cause sweat puddles and restless .
My father, poor him also, in his crisp white cottons, looking every bit the grey haired-eucalyptus, dutiful son-in-law, brisk walking, opening windows, doors, throwing back curtains. I opened one door, too, but I was waddling. Nothing brisk for me. It wasn't so much the sari's fault. I'm most comfortable sprinting about in a sari. But like a total idiot, yesterday of all days, I had to invite a crisis.
So, I was to wear this pale yellow sari with white chikan work on it, very pretty etc, pearls on me ears to go with, but I, efficient I, didn't have a pale enough petticoat to go with it, soo.. instead of NOT wearing the sari, and settling for a perfectly acceptable alternative, say a salwar kameez, I wore the sari over a churidar.
This idea was put in my head by my friend who knows who he is. And it was brilliantly contested by another friend; her one argument was: bathroom kaise jaayenge, yaaar? Yea, no, you can't go pee if you're wearing a sari over a churidar. I knew this. I invited this crisis. I didn't pee. I drank less water. I lived to tell the tale. But maybe once bitten...
Oh, and I said a few words. My Bombay best friend, who I had spoken to had given me the following advice: don't giggle, don't stay stuck to your phone. I did neither.
My few words must have been under a minute. I hadn't planned what to say. While sitting cross legged in front, near her enlarged and framed picture surrounded by motia, tube roses and white lilies ( and, i didn't mind at all, not a single 'glad'), and three fat incense sticks jammed into a green baby banana, and wiping away the inconvenient tear, I'd thought I'd get up there and say, good thing she's not here, she would have died in the heat. But callous word choice alarm went off. I thought I'd say she would've lost her cool. But that's so meh. Finally, of course, I said none of that. I can't remember exactly what I said. Something about missing her. Something about how kicked she would have been about so many people turning up. That I feel bad I can't go back home and dissect with her how it went. Yea, that got to me, that I couldn't tell her who was wearing what. I think she might have approved of my saris. I told sitar lady -- yes, I remember now! -- I told sitar lady, she would've loved your singing AND your sari. Pretty lavender-grey thing it was.
Throughout all this, I don't think anyone at the back could hear me. This my father said: well done but you could've been louder. I got irritated at this. For god's sake. I wasn't going to bother with a sound check, hardly an open mic night! But a couple of people said variations of well, that I spoke okay, and that's how it should be, all the smiling-laughing, so I will choose to believe that. And I'm happy to have been the grandkid who spoke.
But really, in that indoor heat, Nanu.would.have.died.