The conversation began in German and I then switched to English. He was a young German, perhaps in his late twenties, and was seated next to me. He was alone, and although there were many other Germans in the cinema hall, I was filled with curiosity to learn more about his interest in Hindi movies.
I started by asking him if he understood Hindi (to which replied that he managed with sub-titles) and then went on to ask if he liked Shah Rukh Khan (he liked the women, actually) and what movies he had watched recently (Veer-Zaara, Parineeta, Bunty aur Babli!). He thought of Bollywood movies as musicals, although on occasion they suddenly switched – without good reason – to an exotic locale for a few dance steps; he liked Parineeta a lot, and would be watching it again at the Stuttgart film festival this month; he often travelled to London where he got to watch many Hindi movies; he found it natural that many Hindi movies were now being dubbed into German, but thought the German translations inappropriate in places and preferred sub-titles.
Paheli was spellbinding. Although the scenes leading to the climax lacked the slow-paced flow one finds throughout the movie, it was probably the finest Hindi movie I’ve watched in a long time.
My neighbour, though, found Paheli too slow moving. He’d seen better ones, he said. We bid each other goodbye, and hoped that we would get to meet in Stuttgart. If he turns up for Parineeta, it is quite likely that we will.
* * *
Rash’s post about going to KV has brought back fond memories of KV days. The five years at KV Picket form an unforgettable part of school-day memories.
I sometimes think of how life would be if I were a teacher at KV. I would cycle to school each morning and reach in time for the 9 am assembly. Then there would be classes during the day, where I would watch – and perhaps influence – nascent minds of the next generation. In between classes I would sit in the staff room correcting answers from the test I recently conducted, hovering a little longer over some answers than others, thinking of the mind that wrote those sentences and wondering what such a mind would grow up into. When these are finished I would listen to my colleagues gossiping about happenings in their classes, and get to hear the same rants on how children these days are so different from those of the previous generation, and how things are getting worse each year. On my way to the next class, while crossing students in the corridor I would sometimes wonder if the students have a nickname for me, just has we had one for almost every other teacher. At 3:15 pm, after the school bell rang, I would pick up my textbooks and leave for home. I would then have a long evening ahead, to be spent reading, writing, taking long walks, meeting friends…