Monday, 15 December 2008

A Movie, an Exhibition, and a Show

Oh man, yesterday was a busy day.

Went for the 10.00 A.M Mass, which I realised was a Feast Mass when I got there. The church grounds (formerly a parking lot) and the streets outside were filled with stalls selling interesting stuff and mostly junk respectively.

Mass finished early and I spent about an hour at home before catching an almost empty train to Bandra for a one and a half hour movie that started at 2.00 (supposed to start at 1.30) - Good Morning Heartache - which turned out to be a dud. I was only one of four viewers.

Ate a Sub after the movie, walked to the station, and took another almost empty train from Bandra to Churchgate. My destination was the Piramal Art gallery at the NCPA for 'Walk on the Wild Side' - a Sanctuary-RBS wildlife photography exhibition. Walked to the NCPA from Churchgate station, passing the Oberoi Trident on the way, which is currently being renovated following 26/11. The entire footpath around the hotel was cordoned off, and almost everyone passing the hotel along the road outside or Marine Drive opposite paused to take a look at it and maybe take a photo as well.

Reached the NCPA at 5.00. The exhibition turned out to be very good. It was divided into segments featuring 'Mutts' cartoon strips; the top three annual Sanctuary prize winning photos from 2000 onwards (the ones that stood out were mating muggers, pelicans in the water vying for food with sunlight glinting off their beaks and the water, an elephant carrying a dead monitor lizard, a red panda, an elephant struck by a train); special mention photos detailing rare birds, mammals (like young desert foxes), amphibians, and animal behaviour; and photos detailing poaching and the wildlife trade. Articles about the link between wildlife trade and terrorism were also displayed.

Left the exhibition at 5.30 and sat at Marine Drive for a while to get some pictures of the sky at sunset and surrounding buildings.

Then headed off to Bandra once again for a performance at St. Peter's by different parish choirs.
Listening to Christmas carols is the best way to bring in the Christmas feeling, and with church choirs, you get to listen to the more spiritual ones rather than the pop ones. Choirs I liked best were St. Anne's and the children's choir. St. Peter's and Mt. Carmel were pretty good, while St. Michael's, St. Andrew's, the Chuim choir, and St. Teresa's were O.K.

People don't realise how hard life in a choir can be. It may look romantic and awesome on stage. That's what the audience gets to see. What they don't see are the continuous rehearsals that take place one or twice or thrice a week, with practice frequencies increasing as the performance date nears. They don't get to see how each person in the choir is tested and then assigned a place based on his/her voice, how they have to memorise the words of each song, and master their timing so their twenty voices are made to sound as one, how the choir master makes them start the entire song over again each time something goes wrong or doesn't sound right, no matter how painstaking it may be; the final feeling of elation the first time during practice that the group pulls of a song perfectly, and the camaraderie formed.

It's always fun to see children sing as well. Their voices make for easy listening, and it's always fun to see them bowled over by the audience applause, with their conductor telling them to bow, and them being in a daze and not hearing her all at once, so they end up doing something resembling a reverse Mexican wave with their bodies :-)

Left the church at 8.30, had a Kesar shake at Karachi (they make excellent ones), and went home at last. Passed by I.C Church on the bus home and was glad to miss all the commotion at the fair. Seriously, we really need to do something about toning down the fair or banning it altogether. It's a blot on the colony, a security nightmare as well I'm guessing, and an pot pourri of pollution and crowding, with all it's associated problems like inappropriate behaviour, eve-teasing, harassment, etc. Whatever happened to simple good old fashioned fun? What we have here instead is a filthy Mela with the suburb's choicest collection of rowdy low-life's.

And here's Milburn Cherian's depiction of what happened the last time someone tried to clean up a holy place.


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