I have been doing, as they say in Gujarat, up- down to Ahmedabad, since the last three days. Suffice to say the reasons are too boring to bother narrating, but I want some sympathy points nonetheless, so tut-tut away and smooth my ruffled feathers please! Destination Spain as holiday has changed to some place in Asia. As it stands today it may probably be Thailand, and my excitement is mounting at the idea of packing my bags and travelling with friends to this land that is so seeped in cultural history. Though my first husband was from Thailand, I in fact never lived there and visited only briefly on one occasion. However what I do carry of this country is my surname; and I chose to retain it even after my marriage broke up thirty years ago, because even way back then it had became integral to the "Rekha " part of my identity!
Yesterday Gulammohammed Sheikh celebrated his 75th birthday with some of his friends throwing a surprise party for him. It was very sweet to see him blushing beneath his stylish beard, as he was buried under floral tributes and presents wrapped up in fancy paper and tied with bling bows. Perhaps what was even more special was to see all the tiny babies of yesterday all grown up as young adults. My auntyji status suddenly took on a whole new meaning, much to my delight!
With spirits soaring as they generally do at parties, the inhibitions of many were cast aside last night, and an impromptu sangeet of sorts occurred. Amidst all the singing that happened, it was a young girl who stole our hearts with the sheer beauty of her voice, as her mother sat with her eyes alight with the exquisiteness of sheer joy. Tiny babies toddled about announcing the arrival of another generation making it's appearance in our lives in Baroda. And as the strains of a melody mingled with the sleepy wailings of hungry babies and other muffled sounds of merriment, I felt the magic of Baroda come alive, as it does in such moments of special intimacy; keeping the legends of Baroda as a special art centre a truth through all these many decades.
I am sitting in a printing studio right now and watching my prints come out of a very large machine. I remember my days in the dark room with Jyotibhai as I learnt how to print black and white photographs. The slow emergence of an image.......it is like an epiphany moment that catches your breath with its impact. I am scheduled for some more late nights in my studio with a deadline that is looming rather ominously right now. The only one who enjoys my owl-nights is Begum our cat. Her fur brain believes that she has more hold of my time if I remain awake working, whilst she curls up with one eye constantly open to check on my activities!!!!!
Baroda has the last days of winter paraded out for us. The heat is slowly coming back and our woollens and shawls are fast making their way back into storage! Heavy silk saris will snooze away the summer and may make a few rounds during the monsoon, if they are not asked to trail through puddles of water and muddy roads.
I have to start my swimming soon. Thundering thighs and cellulite dimples will make plump pigeons look sleek! Will fill you in on my horror stories of slipping and sliding about the poolside as I drag my flab for some serious exercise. As they say....Watch this Space!!!