Tuesday, October 25, 2011
The Delhi Nostalgia
It was a usual weekday. The time was somewhere between the end of a tiring afternoon and the beginning of a fresh evening. I was done with my work at the office for the day, but it was too early to go home. I was confused. I started calling my friends- Anshuman, Nitish, Vikram, Happy and Nishtha. They were all busy in one thing or the other. This was tempting enough for me to go back home for a nap, but I somehow stopped myself. I didn't want to waste this time. I decided to spend the time with MYSELF. I left for Mandi House.
Mandi house is quite far away from the place where my office is (Gurgaon). In the last two years I have spent in Ahmedabad, I have driven very little, almost none. The bike rides this week , majorly for work, reminded me of that time when I stayed here in Delhi, during graduation. The wide roads, the rude fellow-drivers, the 'green Delhi clean Delhi' boards, the unreasonable honking- they all came back to me. As I drove towards Mandi House, these thoughts made me feel happy that I was back in Delhi. Delhi is a city where I have spent good enough time to be called a 'Delhi-ite', but still I don't consider myself one. Undoubtedly, I love the city. Every nook and corner of Delhi has a story to offer. And strangely enough, you would never get bored of these stories.
I reached Mandi House and parked my bike in front of Sri Ram Center , a very important venue for the staging of plays. This drama school has it's story- quite reputed, and has a list of celebrities who have passed out or performed at the venue. In fact, Mandi House is known for 'theater', or the performing arts. On one hand, this place is house to formal drama schools like the prestigious NSD (National School of Drama) and SRC (Sri Ram Center) and on the other hand, there are innumerable independent theater groups which work here, coming up with new plays every now and then.
I sat there with chai thinking about how I had missed this location. Two years ago, my theatre group would rehearse here, I would spend the winter evenings with the same chai. Nothing much had changed. As I thought more, I felt more nostalgic. May be the early winter smell combined with the taste of chai, took me back to that time. And going back felt good.
I bought a ticket for a play which would start in an hour. 'The Tale of the Taj' was the play and I was quite excited about it, but I still had an hour to kill. So, I started walking across Mandi house. It was nice to see theater groups rehearsing,
I shifted from one chaiwala to another. I sat at those 2 sops next to Sri Ram Centre which sell hot chai and hot samosas. This place is always crowded and there are various conversations taking place in various volumes. I looked around and I saw one of my lecturers from my graduation college. We met and spoke for a couple of minutes. Again, it was nice to go back.
I sat down with 2 hot samosas and wondered how much conversation this road (Safdar Hashmi Marg) would have seen for years. Safdar Hashmi was this theater artist who was killed while he was performing his famous street play 'Halla Bol' in 1989. Another story! The samosas were too good and the evening had begun to get cold.
I was pretty lost in the story when I heard "Harish". It was Ankit, a member of my previous drama group. We were meeting after 3 years. We spoke. He was with a group in Mandi house and he invited me for his next play, to be held after two days.
It was nice that all my friends were busy. It was nice I left office early. It was nice that I came to Mandi House. It was nice that the samosas were hot and the evening was cold.
It was nice to go back.
I left to watch the play...