Chirping birds are flying to their abodes. My HMT watch reads 17:50. Bitto Chholevaala is gathering his belongings. His job is done for the day. “Lucky chap” I thought to myself. Now he’ll get to spend time with his children. My day or rather night is about to begin. Our band is booked for the next 15 days. At days we have to do double shifts as well. There are no auspicious dates after 14 December this year. It seems as if the entire city wants to marry in these 11 days. No regrets however. I am toiling hard for my family. I want to gift a good lifestyle to my children. I want them to be rich and drive around in big cars. Inshallah, they’ll touch the stars one day.
We were told to assemble near the Pepal tree on main road. Most of the band members have arrived. I am 20 minutes late. The tempo carrying the equipments is parked in the corner. I go there and collect my set from the stack of neatly folded starchy white uniforms kept aside a drum. Using handkerchief I sweep off dust from my shoes. Damn it! Why don’t they shine and show my reflection? Why should I pay a cobbler to do the same job when I too can manage! It’s my hard earned money after all. Ouch! The cut in the wound is getting deeper. It’s nowhere near the healing stage. The sole is worn out. My wife is right. It’s about time to purchase a new pair of shoes. While donning the uniform, I feel elated. The uniform somehow makes me feel worthy. I feel wanted. Army men, Police men and pilots all of them wear uniforms. I get a sense of belonging to that elite group. A job is a job and I am proud of what I do.
All of us assemble together and start reciting the verses. I was told that this has been the tradition since the inception of band. Bauji says that these verses remind him of his great grandfather and by reciting these we are assured of his divine blessings. Recitation over, we move towards the tempo for our equipments. My job is to carry the chandelier on my shoulder in the marriage procession or should I say baraat. Sound of drums and trumpets infuses a spark in the muted wintery evening. I see people looking over from their balconies in nearby buildings. It’s as if the entire colony is a part of celebrations. I sense a renewed vigor in the environs. That’s why I love my job. The groom and his family members are here. The groom is seated in a horse drawn chariot. He’s looking like a prince from heaven. The chariot is decorated with exotic flowers from abroad. All the ladies are shimmering like apsaraas. Big stones in their jewellery are glistening in generator powered lights.
I imagine my wife in this attire. Mashallah, the noor on her face could never be matched up by these stones. Clothes and stones are mere facades. Ultimately it’s all about money and power. Our body is made up of the same matter. Our hearts beat as one and pump blood in the same style. Then why these manmade barriers and discriminations? How does this superior and inferior thing come into picture? Kaka says that it’s the money and influence of power which corrupts the mind. Ahh ‘My wife’. I was too harsh on her last night. I don’t know why I behaved like that. It’s as if some demon overpowers my being and makes me say all those words. I just can’t differentiate between right and wrong. I have this feeling that a dormant beast resides in my being. When he awakens, things take a topsy turvy turn.
I love her; I can’t imagine my life without her. I have never expressed it though. I don’t think these feelings and emotions can be worded. I think she understands. That’s why she silently bears all my atrocities.
People are moving rhythmically to music. They are capering around zealously. I have been a part of several baraats but this mindless capering has never ceased to perplex me. Most of them are drunk, I excuse them. What about others? What kind of a high are they on? I deem it as superficial. The ostentatious display of status and wealth bothers me. To an extent it’s alright, but beyond that it annoys me. May be I am jealous and insecure. They have what all I am aspiring for. Ouch! The pain is unbearable now. “It’s a matter of few minutes, endure it” “You don’t have the luxury to quit”. I reach for my pockets and pat the bottle. “It will dissolve your pain, keep going”. I limp my way to the destination.
I keep aside the chandelier carefully. I take off my shoe. The wound is bleeding profusely. Skin has peeled off. I pay attention to this excruciating pain. What a sensation! I take out the bottle from my pocket and gulped the elixir in one go. I am in a state of ecstasy. The pain is dissipating.
Wanted to post an award by Rohini
the rules are as follows:
1) Post the award.
2) List seven personality traits, as evidenced by your blog.
Simple- My simplicity is reflected in it right from the layout to the words in it.
Insightful- My friends say so!!
Unique- It's one of it's kind and unique in a positive as well as negative sense.I am short of words here.
Illustrative- It has real time examples :P and pictures too at times.
That's it! Seven is a big number.Can't think of more adjectives here
Give the award to 7 others with notable personalities and let them know!
Parul, Sobhit, Veenu, JalPAri, Kasabianngirl, Faith and Angelina
I have posted other awards too Rohini. Check out the slide show.