In her wedding dress that one day she stopped counting years
I met J uncle on a very cold january morning this year. It was raining and we stood outside an empty swimming pool. His room – 705, is just beneath my room – 805, where i am writing this.
J uncle had his own quiet world till he met my sister. My sister, Ruspsi is a kathak dancer(banaras gharana). J uncle would not know about it for a month till one day they meet in the elevator, she moved and her ghungroo rolled from her bag.
J uncle and his lovely wife had come from Banaras. In a quest to live with their son, they sold their house. They used to sing all morning there, he told me.
He disliked it here. Everything. But he never spoke about it. He was just visibly sad. In his walk, thats how mostly i saw of him. A singer coming from a gharana who doesn’t sing anymore. In the meantime J uncle grew fond of my sister and attended one of her performances in Delhi. That day I imagine he was the most happiest person present in the auditorium.
In many evenings that i spent in Delhi, we met, went on walks together, always in a circle crossing the empty swimming pool. We somehow never spoke when we crossed that swimming pool. Now Rati, my sister would be getting married in a month.
One morning he called me downstairs at his place. He sat amongst 100s of old cassettes laid out on his bed. Looking at me, he said. 34 years ago i composed a song for my niece’s wedding. Would you please play it for Rupsi when Jaimal happens ! And it was played when Jaimaal happened. I am posting it for readers to hear what he composed, back in the time when he lived in Varanasi.
This also came at a time when I had only recently started working on my ambitious project of documenting Rural Weddings in India. The above image is of my friend Amita’s wedding in Chhattisgarh. The Project is still a work in development.