When I walked in, the theatre was filled with toddlers, and their parents. I belonged to the super minority of people who were in their twenties and alone. Obviously feeling terribly out of place, I closed my eyes, trying to focus on the TAAQ numbers they were playing.
The play started bang on time. Ruskin Bond on stage (not the real Bond, someone playing him), the play began with a background of Bond’s childhood in the hills and how he parried through the tormented times of Indian independence, world wars and communal riots going on the adage, “When the wars are over, the butterflies will still be beautiful”.
The play was a mélange of short stories by Bond, narrated by the protagonist Ranji, who is on vacation in his grandfather’s house in Mussoorie. His friends in the hills, Koki, and her horse Dhanno, Suraj and his romantic interest Charmaine, would take me through a journey through space and time. Short stories I have read, pranks I have played (and still play), and dreams I have dreamt (and still dream) all come to life in a span of one and a half hour. There is a princess, and a leopard, and ghosts and pahalwans, and bears and guavas and lakes and buffaloes, and snakes: the mishmash seamless. Once or twice popular media is also thrown in.
Acting, direction, lights, costumes, I can’t say much. Maybe, some other day, I would have criticized them for shabbiness and lack of originality. But then, the moment had me chained. Teleported and transfixed, I laughed with the five year olds, and felt happy at the little joys of life.