Not everything in life can be synopsised. Sometimes it is a blessing when we can’t! For the daughter, the father turns life into a theatre, full of music and colour, muses Piu.
It was Baba (Dad) who dropped me to CLT (Children’s Little Theater or also known as Sishu Rangmahal) and waited there in the little park till the darkness descended. I used to run out with the little ‘botua’ (cloth purse), safekeeping my pair of ghungrus. He was always there, sweaty and tired. It was a long walk, back and forth from home.
CLT was founded by Samar Chatterjee, way back in 1952. He himself was a pioneer in children’s theatre but there was a group of selfless art lovers, art teachers who joined his hand to make an ideal ‘Aban Mahal’.
But this is not about Samar Chatterjee nor Abanindranath. It is about me and my dad. About our journey to and back after the recitals and daily practices.
Almost every time, which was twice a week, the father and the daughter would steal a quick pre-dinner snack before reaching home.
It could be any from a plate of crispy butter dosa in the Sonali restaurant or sizzling hot egg rolls from the roadside strip malls.
It was always one! We shared. That time, during that age, I had always seen Baba counting his money before ordering. Always. We ordered one plate. He waited for me to stop and look up at him and say, ‘Baba, khabe na?’ (Dad, won’t you?)
He waited for me to say that!
I never failed him as well.
And then…there was this evening, when I performed. Thankumani Kutti was a very strict and dedicated teacher. On the contrary, my dad was never strict, but dedicated! She used to beat at our young feet every time we missed a step. We were scared and we made more mistakes. But she was like a fire, a spirit!
That evening, Baba took me to this studio and counted his money, like always and asked the photographer, ‘Take the best shot! That’s my daughter, you should see how she performed today!!’
It was only one photograph, just like that single egg roll.
Then again, all we need is one father, to make our life a theatre. Full of music and colour.
(Artwork: Piu Mahapatra)
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