As I came out of the hall, I was trying to take in the things- moving and still all around me. Work tags, new goodies safe inside branded plastic bags, hand bags, coolers and tri-colour battered and pinned on shirts. For some reason these things did not enter into me. Something bigger was occupying my mind. A bigger question. Was I in it? The place around, the world around me?
When I saw the tri-colour on people- I wanted to have one too. My mind went back to the school grounds where I stood fourth from the first, singing flag songs and the National Anthem- waiting rather impatiently for the distribution of toffees. I used to get hold of the entire stack of tri-colour that was left over. The stack would find its place inside a big bag, along with other broken toys and tiny pieces of pencils and erasers where it would remain for the next few years until the entire bag would be chucked into the trash.
I wanted to ask one of them- from where they had got the tri-colour? I don’t know why I did not ask. I was just watching around and trying to take in the blur of colours around.
Be it the rain pouring down outside the window or a Baai’s daughter reciting Tennyson’s ‘Brook’. Munna insisting on his photos being taken in a studio or Arun washing the silver ring left behind by a house wife- Yasmin. From Shai’s photographs, Munna’s ‘Salman’ bracelet to Arun’s painting and Yasmin dissolving into light in her video letter to her brother. The fifth character in the film, Mumbai- left me with a bigger question deep down in me. Was I the sixth character in it?
The auto ride back home was all thoughts. A sun-lit Chennai had become a part of my life for the past two years. Its different shades never escaped my thoughts throughout. Yet, I’m a stranger trying to identify places around. The city was a part of me- but never became mine.
As the auto tuned in with the rocky roads beneath- my eyes were searching for tri-colour s around. School children and a teacher leading them around. A man making ‘parotta’s outside Sri Pandi Vilas hotel. An old man whose knees came in together while he bent back- waiting for his bus.
I did not get my tri-colour today.
Oh… and ‘Dhobi Ghat’? Of course… Please watch it…