Saturday, August 7, 2010

Primary Colours - part V

So many people touch your lives in so many ways. Some such people from my primary school days are mentioned here.

Shaila Didi

One day, my mother sent me to Swamy uncles house to give a casserole of 'idlis'. Their daughter Shaila Didi was alone at home and practicing some dance movements. One leg here and one hand there, something similar to our PET exercises. She told me it was Disco.

She was dancing on 'Tu mera Hero hai' and 'naino mein sapna, sapno mein sajna'. Come to think of it now, I fail to understand how anybody could do a disco on these two. But she did.

She had a tape recorder and a bevy of colourful audio cassettes in front of it. We didn't have one at home. I was drawn to them. My aunt 'Sandhya maushi' used to sing very well. She had a tape recorder too and had taught me how to record ones voice on it. I used to record hers as she sang, at my grandmas place. All tape recorders had big rectangular buttons jutting out of the main body. 'Stop, pause, rewind, forward, play' were the normal buttons and next to 'play' would be a nice big red 'record'. Press play and record together and capture any sound for time immemorial. Simple!

Shaila didi asked me if I knew what it was. I said of course. 

She asked me if I knew how to operate it. I said of course.

She asked me if I wanted to learn the dance she was rehearsing. I said no! 
Doing PET in school was bad enough. To learn and waste time on it at home was beyond me.

She said these were the new hit songs and she would let me take the tape recorder home for a few hours (till her parents returned) if I helped her with her steps. But to learn, I must sit and watch first.

I said ok.

For the next half hour (that's how long it seemed), all I did was press rewind and play for her as she rehearsed line by line. Anytime I wanted to stand up and perform a step just to get the hang of it, she would ask me to sit down and learn by watching first. After sometime she was exhausted and wanted to rest. I stood up, ready to take the tape recorder home. I wanted to surprise my mother.

Shaila Didi flatly refused to give it to me. I asked again. She said "No". 

I had to leave without the tape recorder. Got scolded by mom for coming back so late. One of the first times, a feeling of 'having been had' engulfed me. Someone had fooled me. Tricked me and I couldn't do anything about it. 

Few months later when I heard she had failed in some exams, I was happy with my wicked sense of justice and celebrated it with a ragtag army of dolls. Later, Dad bought a JVC tape recorder which not only recorded our voice, but had place for two tapes. We could record from one tape to the other! It also had tiny little bars of dancing green and red lights that went up and down. So much better than Shaila didis. In my little head I thought, God did have his ways of making up for things that went wrong. All he needed was time!


  1. What I like the best about writing is it gives me freedom to have pictures of my own.... it's not like a painting... and the way you write you take me with you.... seeing and experiencing all of that with you! :)


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