Being an outsider

It’s happening again. And again. I get to know about an event…a film, a performance….that I would like to attend. Two of them are across town from me.

But when I get there, the venue is jam-packed, and we are not even able to enter the hall. Many of us stand around, disconsolately, trying to see if the organizers will let us at least take a peep inside. Sometimes we get a glimpse of what is inside or a snatch of the music, if we sit, devotedly, near the door. Otherwise, we just finally turn away

The first time was the first screening of “Court”, the Marathi movie (critical of court procedures, at the Max Mueller Bhavan (Goethe Institut.). Yesterday, it was at the musical rendition of some of the work of Amir Khusrau, at NGMA.

At NGMA, it was not difficult to hang around at all; the ambience of the beautiful building, the spacious lawn with abstract art everywhere, made it easy for us to sit in the twilight. But the problem remains…it’s now impossible to arrive at a reasonable time before a free event and expect that there will be space in the auditorium. If I want to be sure of getting in, I must arrive at a venue at least an hour before an event and if I add it to the time I need to get to the venue, it can be daunting. For exmaple, it takes me 1.5 hours (I am not joking) to get from my home in South Bangalore to NGMA in Palace Road, and the event was at 5pm (my friend Janani told me that they were there at 4pm). Add the time taken to get home as well (we took an hour), and it appears that I would have to devote the better part of the day to an event lasting an hour and a half!

Shruti, whom I met yesterday, was happy at what she felt was a sign that “so many more people are now interested in these events.” To me, the problem seems to be  just the first four words! The burgeoning population of this city seems to be taking more and more from the quality of my life.

No more relaxed going to the venue of an event, perhaps having a relaxed cup of tea at the cafe, and seating oneself, looking around hopefully for known faces. Now it’s a matter of rushing to get there, possibly  getting into a jostling queue to get in and sitting in a congested space for the duration of event. And forget being ‘fashionably late”….I will be, truly, an outsider!


I thank the various organizations that still offer free and interesting events…but would request them to have a CCTV outside, with speakers, so that we who are less fortunate  can also participate to some degree. Of course, I realize, ithis is not possible for all events (such as a play or a film)…but when it’s feasible, it would be great for us to feel that we have not come all the way in vain.

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