Season tickets

Every year the sweltering summer days are lightened by the Rama­navami Music Festival, an extravaganza of Carnatic music, at Fort High School, Chamarajpet. It’s a veritable treat for Bengalureans who flock to the venue to listen to the finest artistes of the country. It has the distinction of being the lon­gest Indian classical music festival in the world spanning a period of 31 to 36 days.

My parents used to talk of attending the concerts way back in the 50s and 60s, when world-class musicians like M S, Madurai Mani Iyer and Pt Bhimsen Joshi regaled the audience. Those were the days when Bangalore was not yet on the Western music scene. Pop, Jazz, Blues and other genres had not yet made their foray into the city. This year we bought season tickets and, on many evenings, made our way to this charming part of old Bangalore. Three hours of divine music flew by and we came out rejuvenated, on a musical high, the ragas resonating in our ears long after.

One morning, to my chagrin, I discovered that my husband’s trousers with the tickets neatly folded and tucked into the pocket, had been put in the washing machine and had undergone the entire wash cycle! Later, I turned out the pocket only to find a ball of crumbling paper.  To add insult to injury, the elders admonished us for our carelessness and remarked that both, owner of the trousers and operator of the machine should always check pockets before tossing the garment in. Two more weeks of the best performances to go. And what a pity we would be missing them!

We called the organisers and one person was kind enough to ask us to report to the venue at 5 pm. He assured us that he would help. That day, he personally asked the guards to let us into the hall. Pravin Godkhindi and Kala Ramnath put up an enchanting show. At 8 pm, we were asked to meet the General Secretary and Convenor of the Mandali. We left the concert venue and proceeded cautiously to an office backstage. We were ushered in to meet the gentleman and his wife. Shamefacedly, we repeated our predicament; we even carried the crumpled ball to show as proof of our stupidity!

The person, in all generosity, dismissed the need for all that. He understood that this was a genuine case and as the season tickets were all sold out, gave instructions for a letter of admission to be made out. The man at the ticket counter carried out the order. He wrote:  ‘Please admit the 2 persons carrying this letter on all days, as their season tickets bearing Nos …182 and …183 have been purportedly destroyed in the washing machine.’ We came out delighted that we would get to enjoy the rest of the season, never mind the embarrassment of having to show the explicit letter at the door every time!

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