Wednesday, January 30, 2008


Listening to good old Noor Jahan and Suraiya songs takes me back to the Intermissions (or what we then called “Interval”) of countless Hindi movies seen in matinee shows at the Imperial Talkies on Lamington Road, close to 233 Khetwadi Main Road. The mood at that moment used to be a mixture of part yearning to step out for a cool orangeade (or, was it orange crush?) served in a tallish glass beaker with a straw stuck in the neck, part curiosity about what was going to happen after the break and part certainty that it was all going to turn out all right. Or, sometimes not. Pity, I have never had since that kind of feeling. But, then, I have not been a nine-year old since then. At the Imperial, you stepped out from the stalls almost directly out in the open under a thatched covering to protect you from the afternoon sun or the monsoon shower. The booth selling the cool fizzy drinks was a few steps away. You stepped out with the song just before the light came up still swirling in your head. You handed over the one rupee coin to the vendor. You walked back to your seat with the drink in your hand. Maybe, you even bought potato wafers wrapped in cellophane – never quite crisp enough to deserve the title “potato crisps”. The song had still not stopped playing in your mind. The ad slides had already started. The lights were dimming gradually. Soon, it would be pitch dark once again with the light reflecting from the silver screen lighting up the faces of the movie goers and the rest of the movie would start unrolling.