Friday, September 6, 2013

That evening

in Kamani,
- we had gone for
a Hamlet adaptation
as the sky outside had rained grey -
and the actor playing Fido (Polonius)
had said - 'Imagine Gertrude,
all of us will die, everyone today
sitting in this theatre
will one day be gone. All
of them.'

Outside in the lobby
as we had waited to be ushered in,
I had known three faces in the crowd.
Two were old students
and one
was a woman who on the metro once,
fortyish, spectacled,
had asked me about the book I had on my lap -
Dorothy Parker's 'Enough Rope' - 
she had said her poems are so clean.
She stood near the door now
holding her ticket,
by herself, a face that I had once seen.
(Gertrude: What will the next century look like, Fido?
Fido: It will be, Gertrude, unfamiliar.)

That evening
in Kamani, as the DMRC cranes outside
dug deeper into the ground,
the under-study stole the show,
walked on air, an' ended his song -
after the music, after the ball, 
a cold ground awaits us all.
The idea is so neat - all in the audience
will be gone, nothing
could be easier than this, nothing
was simpler than this,
this - our doing the rounds -
old students, old friends.

There was a standing ovation
(the actors did not come twice for the bow)
and, at the end, moving out -
no ground beneath our feet, in the crowd
I once again spotted her, on the stairs
(should I go and say something)
and before I decided, on the last step
she had turned to me,
her spectacles hanging on her neck,
and said - 'Dorothy Parker!' - and I felt,
at that moment, somehow, that I could embrace her,
even in this crowd, even in this city, if only I try -
both of us will one day be gone.
'A whole world lies in the goodbye,
and no matter what you tell me, Fido,'
Gertrude had said,
'I don't 
want to die. 
I don't want 
to die.
I don't want to die.'

(thanks to Rajat Kapoor)


flygye12 said...

So it *was* a funny play.

flygye12 said...

So it *was* a funny play.

Akhil Katyal said...