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"Ah-ha-ha, what a mellifluous, rich voice! What expertise and look at the utter bliss on her face!" Nina was gushing in rapturous whispers to Nikhil, who was still upset with this disruption to his sacred weekend sleep routine!
It was a Sunday morning at 11 a.m and they were ensconced in an auditorium along with what looked like a majority of bald and greying heads, most likely aged relations of the performing artist. Nina had received the free invite for the carnatic vocal concert, courtesy her boss who happened to be related to the lead singer. He had better things to do on a Sunday morning and hence large-heartedly given her the tickets and ordered her to take the standard-office-allowance-permitting-bouquet along with his visiting card stuck to it.
The program had promptly begun at 10 a.m and was going on full swing by the time Nina and Nick came in at 10.30 a.m. They fumbled in the dark to find empty seats, managing to stamp half a dozen feet, land on an already occupied seat (who wears all black to such events?) and finally finding a couple of seats wedged between two older couples.
Uncle 1, sitting next to Nick tut-tutted disapprovingly at Nina's whispering and she settled back to lose herself in the world of carnatic music, something she had never heard before.
Wouldn't matters be a lot easier at office if she could pal up with her obnoxious boss?
She could imagine casually chatting with him over coffee discussing his immensely talented relative. Hmm...that would be nice!
The relative in question, the lead singer seemed well in her 60's and in full form, belting out what looked like chart-busters from the Carnatic world, going by the ohhs, aaahaa's and vigorous head-nodding and lap-slapping that the audience seemed to be cheering her with!
"You know Nick, the lap-slapping thing there," she said pointing to the stage and also sideways to their immediate neighbors, "They are keeping track of the rhythm...amazing na?"
That earned her, throat-clearing from Uncle 1 and a glare from Aunty 2.
The songs all seemed alien to their ears but also somehow familiar. 'That must be the greatness of classical music, it is the birthplace of any kind of music,' Nina wisely mused.
She was further enthralled by the amazing harmony between the singer and the supporting musicians who played the mridangam, ghatam, the violin, the veena and the morsing. She learned that thanks to a quick search on Google by peering into her phone inside her over-large tote. Spell-bound she listened to the entire performance for the next hour, ducking into her tote every once-in-awhile to google her doubts. By the end of the concert, her mind was completely made up. Life does come around in a full circle!
She vividly remembered her whimsical childhood years when her mother begged her to take up some art form....music, dance, embroidery! But no! She had insisted on taking up a more vigorous art-form - Taekwondo! A few weeks of the intensive back-breaking training dissuaded her from further interest in any form of martial arts. Skating came next and she confidently visualized herself gliding across the park on wheels while normal mortals trudged on their feet. The repeated falls and minimal progress even after a month, deflated that dream dramatically and she started making excuses to get out of it.
Painting seemed like a relatively more comfortable occupation and she was soon enrolled for it. While her peers graduated from crayons to paints, little Nina was happy coloring by numbers. Her enthusiastic new hobby ensured all and sundry received her hand-made scrawls for all occasions. Her doting parents proudly pinned up her art on every vertical surface and proudly showed them off to all who visited their home. By the time she was in 8th grade, her drawing file which her mother studiously maintained had grown to several editions. Sadly the quality of art left much to be desired Nina realized, when one unwary visitor remarked how well her mother had preserved her infantile scribblings, on seeing her latest creations!
Now was the perfect opportunity to renew her mom's dream of a musical angle to round off her darling daughter's talent cornucopia.
She mentally visualized herself sitting on the very same stage giving her own performance, her entire family proudly watching her from the first row of audience in a filled-to-the-brim auditorium.
A train of audience, bedecked in a bevy of kanjiveerams and jasmine flowers was coming out of the auditorium, knowledgeably dissecting the various aspects of the performance. Nina told Nick, "Go get the car from the parking, I'll be with you soon."
She quickly scanned the stage and watched the musicians pack up and file through the back entrance. She hurried behind them clutching her bouquet. Someone was distributing tea to all in the green-room. She spotted her new idol and 'guru-mata-to-be' gaily chatting with one of the organizers.
With a glowing smile, Nina approached the Artiste and introduced herself. Eagerly she held out the bouquet and bent down reverentially. At the same time, the tea-man came with his laden tray. Just as she was rising after touching her musical goddess's feet, the tea-tray clashed against her head flying up and crash landing all over Madame Artiste!
The Artiste was dumb-founded as she found herself splattered and showered with several cups of tea and water from the bouquet...damned florist, hadn't emptied it before selling!
Pandemonium broke loose with the organizers screaming for towels, mops and more and the Artiste frantically dabbing at her gorgeous kanchipuram silk saree.
Thankfully the tea hadn't been too hot, Nina noted. Discreetly plucking off her boss's visiting card from the toppled bouquet, she slipped away from the scene.
Today might not be the best day to ask her new idol to become her teacher....it could be a while before she could do that! 'How long does it take a person to forget another person's face?' she wondered as she spotted Nick waiting outside in the car.
Nick asked her, "What took you so long?"
Nina replied, "Oh, just having a cup of tea with the Artiste! She insisted when I went to give her the bouquet."
Read other stories from Nina's World:
1. Sunday - Happy Day
2. A Change of Heart
3. Delirious Dilemma
4. Holiday Ahoy - Part 1
5. Holiday Ahoy - Part 2
6. Party Time - Wardrobe Woes
7. Party Time - Beauty Woes
8. Musical Rhapsody
Disclaimer: All the characters in the Nina's World series are fictional, any resemblance to anyone living or dead is purely coincidental and unintentional.
Copyright © 2016 KALA RAVI