There are days when the morning breeze is humming a tune. Sometimes you see a rhythm in the brushing of twigs; you know people around you are in love with you. It was 23rd of October, my first singing lesson. I am a terrible singer. I confessed it to Lady Penguin.
Lady Penguin Patch-up: Now my child, don’t be disheartened. Give it a try. If u can’t sing we will have your lines dubbed or even better real time playback singing. (got upexcitedly from her seat) Ooh I just love my job!
Kalsh: Madam I knew you would think of something.
(Her trust in me translated into self belief. She had this effect. Often I noticed dancers who were struggling to remember their steps or singers who fumbled on complex rhyme schemes. All of them returned reassured after having a few words with Lady Penguin. I needed to hear all her magical words.)
Kalsh: Oh Helen of Hamilton don’t leave me without no peace,
My melody of words duped your heart,
So make me suffer till my time is done,
Oh Helen of Hamilton thou forgive me
May demons chain me in fires of hell, but so I lay in peace!
Helen: Thou come in search of solitude, Knock on the door whole night!
Her doorstep you shall find none, She maketh you cry!
Not one, Not two, but so much Thou could never count,
Count Thou sorrow, For You could never amount.
Kalsh: Me on the Verge of Death, All I did in Vain,
My Sorrow Went in Hollow, Like Oak Whistling in Rain,
Judge: Edward You Shall Stay, As God May Have
Lady That Cursed You, May Forgive What God Can’t
You Took her Only Daughter, Separating Two Parts One Soul,
Seek All Peace You Can, For Tomorrow You Shall Be Hung!
These were the very first lines I recited. And I fell in love with my character. He is not at all like me. The story is from Sicilian history, rewritten with Indian value system to lay more emphasis on contemporary issues. My character, Edward, is being tried in a court. He is accused of stealing the daughter of a woman named Helen. To feel the pain of the mother and to know the truth behind Edward’s intentions I had to wait for I was yet to memorize the whole script. On hearing my first lines Lady Penguin made a face to declare that probably her biggest mistake ever was to cast me in the lead.
I could feel her disappointment leering into everyone else’s performance. She asked one of the teachers to prepare an audio cassette to be played with my performance. All that was expected from me was lip sync. I was disgraced to hear this. This was my act. I was Edward. This was my play. I was the hero as well as the vaudevillian.