A Memoir of Kaurav (Part 1)

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Several hours had passed since the show ended. Despite the critics planning to bombard the director with questions about the nuances of the play the next morning, the general audience’s reaction had been relatively positive. Whether it was this reaction or the fact that the nearly two-month-long tour was nearing its final destination, the entire team was in high spirits. They had enjoyed dinner, packed all the props, and, despite their exhaustion, were ready to leave at this late hour. The team comprised five musicians, two singers, thirteen actors, and three backstage crew members responsible for lighting, sound, and stage setup, making a total of twenty-five people. Kaurav, the assistant director and production controller, was integral to this ensemble. Director Shaunak Sarkar, affectionately known as Ronida, considered Kaurav quite talented as a playwright. Although Ronida wanted him to stay for the director’s meeting the next day, considering his future, Kaurav knew it was unrealistic to attend the meeting in the morning and then travel 150 kilometers to reach the venue and start the show on time. Without the controller, the backstage crew was lazy and slow, relying on Kaurav for any immediate decisions regarding the stage. Consequently, if the performance started late, Ronida, who cared for him deeply, would hold Kaurav responsible and humiliate him in front of everyone.

They had two Force Traveller mini-buses; each bus had a seating capacity of twenty-six, but much of the space was taken up by everyone’s luggage and the props. One bus, carrying the play’s properties and seventeen people, set off first. Kaurav got on the second bus with everyone’s personal bags and musical instruments. The musicians were seated in the first two rows, five seats in each row, while Kaurav sat a bit apart from them. He took seat number twenty-one, by the window, just before the last row in the driver’s column. Siddhartha, the actor and manager of this entire trip, counted the passengers and checked the luggage list by name. Once everything was verified, the driver turned the key in the ignition.

Finally, Kaurav had a moment to himself, in the dark. Even though the window was closed, a slight breeze made its way through, touching his skin. February was almost over. It wasn’t that cold except at night, so Kaurav had no complaints about the breeze. Wearing a hoodie jacket purchased from the National School of Drama, he loosened his belt and reclined in his seat. His call time started before everyone else’s and ended after everyone else’s. The day’s exhaustion had made his body quite tired. His mind was drowsy. As he slowly drifted into sleep, he could faintly hear A. R. Rahman’s songs. The rhythm of the tires and the wind on the road matched the beat playing on the speaker at the back of the bus. Thus, as the music seeped into his being, Kaurav moved from his personal unconsciousness to a collective unconsciousness, with the bus heading beyond Bangalore to another heritage city, Mysore.

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This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual events, locales, or persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental. The views and opinions expressed in this novel are those of the characters and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of any agency, organization, or entity. Reader discretion is advised.

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