Billy Holiday plays on my laptop as at the neighbourly temple, navratra beats resonate. They are banned an entry into my room. I close tightly all doors and windows which act as the possible routes for the sound to escape and enter my space. The sound I talk of is actually noise, literally, bollywood music with “Jai Mata Di” lyrics jammed in it, sung by singers who my father claims drink before going on stage. They are interesting these songs, aping latest Bollywood numbers from Mera Piya Ghar Aaya ( not so latest) and many more. How they transfigure spontaneously as religious songs is indeed a work of sheer genius!!
The charm is over now, of the navaratra days, when these colony musicals were the meeting spot at night and the Temple with its underground water cave was the place to be. It needed to be paid visit to at least 3 times in a day, gufa became a substitute for the park, the dark dingy path leading us to the little statue of goddess, was the eventual find of the pilgrim’s progress. On our exit we’d be given the Prasad, that of groun-nuts with mishri. We’d hold on to it till we got home, our hands sticky and sweaty.
It’s an annual event now, during school days these “musicals” would clash with my exams, thus causing a very dramatic intervention by my family with the temple authority. The “pulls” would be used to lower down the volume or maybe end the event since we kids were trying to study, to build a better future. Years later with a unsatisfied present and still yearning a better future, I find my own mechanisms to divert the noise. Bob Dylan takes over now, its 12, time for the goddess to sleep, time for the music to end, time for the singers to rest. Time for me to wake up and start work.