Saturday, February 28, 2009

3 Idiots… and a 4th!

“What did you say? You are coming to Bangalore! That’s great news! When, where, how? When can we meet?” I couldn’t contain my excitement! I’ll be coming down with my ‘play group'” Maggu replied. I giggled. I was all for Maggu’s witty one-liners! “We’re staging the play version of ‘Five Point Someone’ at Rangashankara. I would like it very much if you could make it there.” “Of course, Maggu! I will be there. And I promise to bring my IISc gang along. How do I get tickets for the show?” And then, Maggu being the wonderful friend he is, immediately blocked 8 tickets for us. That was how we all ended up watching an amazing theatre performance at Bangalore’s famed Rangashankara auditorium. We all had a fantastic time, start to end, and a little before the start too, as you will see... Here’s the entire story...

It did not take any convincing on my part to get my IISc friends to come along. Half of us were from IIT’s as it were, and the rest were all great fans of Chetan Bhagat’s first attempt at writing. How well we could relate to the story of those three friends! Didn’t we suffer similar pain and anguish at IISc too - broken hearts, fallen grades, fire-breathing professors and an occasional spark of genius now and then!
The boys decided to start early and visit Forum Mall for some bird watching. Paro and I gladly rejected their offer to tag along and left directly for Rangashankara. We had no clue as to the whereabouts of the auditorium, but a Google search located it to be somewhere in Jayanagar area. So away we went on a delightful bus ride on a wonderful Sunday evening with a cool breeze blowing through our hair (and me getting all upset about looking like a scarecrow by the end of it and scaring poor Maggu away!)

We got off at the Jayanagar bus stop and looked around. We saw (in the order): 1. An empty ground with a huge white building at the far end with a colourfully painted water tank atop it, 2. Two florist shops, 3. A toy shop and 4. A huge hospital on the opposite side of the road. But contrary to what we had been told, Rangashankar, we did not see. Being girls, we did the most sensible thing to do under such circumstances: we asked for directions. I pretended to select a bouquet of flowers for Maggu while Paro did the talking. But the florists were of no help and so Maggu’s bouquet remained with them (Sorry friend!). We tried the toy store next. The owner spoke nothing but Kannada and we knew nothing of Kannada, so it was a vain attempt yet again. However, a young couple with a cute little kid told us we just had to walk straight down and take a right. Rangashankara would be a 20 minute walk from where we were. We thanked the couple and moved on as directed. How could we have forgotten the basic rules of Bangalore: Never to trust directions given by strangers! Bangaloreans, inspired by an extreme urge to help those in need, freely give directions, even wrong ones, if need be! Walking a good 30 minutes still didn’t get us anywhere close to our destination. We decided to trace back our steps.

As we rounded the corner near the traffic signal, my eyes lit up, “Paro, dekh! Young people wearing Evam t-shirts!” Evam alongwith the Madras Players theatre group were organizing the show. “Let’s follow them. They must be heading towards Rangashankara” And so we stalked the Evam-ites right up the street, round the corner, followed them through the gates straight into… their Hostel Complex!

“Eh, er… excuse me. But this doesn’t look like Rangashankara!” Oh, so that’s why you’ve been following us all this while, haan? You kept us guessing!” a smart young man grinned at me. “Oh, ah…well yes. We lost our way, and saw you wearing Evam t-shirts and decided to follow you and…” I blurted out. “Oh, don’t worry about it” a pretty young girl smiled graciously. “Just follow the same route back, cross over at the signal and Rangashankara’s the big white building with the painted water tank right next to the huge empty ground, 5 minutes from the Jayanagar bus stop”.
“Thanks so much” I gulped, turning a beetroot red. Paro giggled away to glory at my side.

Aargghh!!! I had to mess it up, didn't I? That too with so many handsome boys around! Aaaaaaaaaaaaarrrrrrrrrrrrrgggggggghhhhhhh!!! Luckily, Paro promised that the boys would hear nothing of this, and am I glad she’s been keeping her promise still! Thanks PS :)
After our little (mis)adventure we managed to reach Rangashankara without further humiliation and joined the boys who were into their second round ‘eye-warming session’. Uff! Boys will be boys!

We collected our tickets and soon as the doors were thrown open, rushed into the auditorium to get hold of the best seats. We managed to bag seats in the second row quite close to the stage and waited with bated breath for a house-full show of ‘Five Point Someone’ to begin.

At 6 pm on the dot, the doors closed, the lights dimmed and the auditorium was enveloped in complete darkness. The stage lights slowly came on and focussed on the three friends Hari Kumar, Alok Gupta and Ryan Oberoi, sitting in a triangle on the Insti roof, discussing the failed Operation Pendulum and the DisCo that succeeded it. Alok got up, moved slowly towards the edge, stood undecided for a while, and suddenly jumped! Jumped down the nine stories of the Insti building!

The story swept into flashback and recounted how the three friends had met, their vain attempts at studying to get above their five point something GPAs, the fun they had, hot paranthas at Sasi’s, Hari and Neha’s romance, Alok’s cribbing about his family and his sister’s marriage, Ryan’s fantastic ideas, the handsome Prof. Veera (sigh! Why couldn’t IISc have profs like him!), the super strict Prof. Cherian (an even bigger sigh! All profs at IISc are SO like him!), the DisCo… and back to the present. Not once did the audience bat an eyelid, taking in all the actors had to offer. There was no doubt then, that at the end of the play, after a minute of pin-drop silence that was needed to come back to reality, all the artistes received a thunderous applause and a standing ovation! :)

A special thank you note to Nikhila Kesavan and her team for an excellent adaptation and direction of Bhagat’s book. It did complete justice to the book. Thanks also to Evam and the Madras Players group for putting up such a wonderful show and entertaining us thoroughly. Special thanks from Paro and me to all those lovely people at Evam, for correctly directing us to Rangashankara - we would’ve missed the show otherwise! And of course, many thanks to dear Maggu for the advanced intimation so I could make it to the show without upsetting any experiments or the Boss; for the tickets, for answering my phone call 5 minutes before showtime, for doing justice to Hari's character, and, for being such a wonderful wonderful friend. Am proud of you Buddy! :)

That’s my account of an evening well spent. To hear about the show from the horse’s mouth, do visit Maggu’s blog... 

Maggu thanks for the invitation. It was a real treat to watch you perform. I had a wonderful time and wish you all the very best for your future ‘playful’ endeavours (Am I allowed to call u a ‘Playboy’ now? :p)

P.S: There is a time for everything. Work done at the right time bears good results. Procrastination leads to a dead-end. One might keep a promise, but what use, if one takes months to keep it? Especially if doing the job immediately would have put a big smile on a dear friend’s face.
Maggu, I try and make amends here, but am aware that they might not be enough. I won’t give any excuse this time. I want to apologize for being such an idiot and keeping you waiting so long for this piece. Hope you like what I’ve written! ~ MM